As a Princeton student-athlete, junior Alex Wheatley is pursuing multiple passions, from playing for the country's No. 13-ranked women's basketball team to teaching in Kenya and studying public policy.
Video stills from Danielle Alio, Office of Communications
Video feature: Princeton Profiles: Alex Wheatley, scholar and athlete
Posted March 16, 2015; 12:00 p.m.
Sneakers skidded on a hardwood court and the rhythmic sound of a basketball hit the floor in different beats during a recent practice at Princeton's Jadwin Gymnasium. For Princeton junior Alex Wheatley, these sounds have been a part of her life since she was young. She remembers playing the sport in early elementary school and in her home driveway with her father. Now, Wheatley is a starting forward on the No. 13-ranked Princeton women's basketball team, which went 30-0 this regular season. The Division I team received a No. 8 seed in the NCAA tournament and will play No. 9 seed University of Wisconsin-Green Bay on Saturday, March 21, in College Park, Maryland.
"I love the sport, but I play for my teammates," Wheatley said. "The girls on this team are my best friends on campus. They're an amazing group of people, and I am honored and happy everyday to come play with them."
Wheatley's interests extend far beyond athletics. She is majoring in ecology and evolutionary biology and pursuing a certificate in global health and health policy. Last summer, Wheatley traveled to Kenya for eight weeks to work with the Northern Kenya Conservation Clubs as a teaching assistant to children in the fifth through eighth grade.
"I have always considered a career in policy or research, and I got to experience the research side of things when I was living in Kenya," Wheatley said. "I liked it, but I didn't know if it was the right fit for me. So when I got back to campus, I dove into my global health studies and added that on top of the discussions I had in Kenya about policy issues. I decided that policy is where I want to take my life after graduation."
Princeton junior Alex Wheatley discusses her athletic and academic pursuits, as well as her plans for the future. (Video by Danielle Alio, Office of Communications)
Wheatley was recently selected to participate in the Scholars in the Nation's Service Initiative (SINSI), a program started in 2006 by the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.
As a SINSI student, Wheatley will spend the summer after her junior year in a SINSI-funded federal government internship. After graduation, she will enter the Wilson School's two-year Master in Public Affairs program and a two-year SINSI-supported fellowship with the federal government.
"What drew me to the SINSI program is the opportunities it provides," Wheatley said. "SINSI has everything I want for post-graduation. The people who I have talked to in the program are amazing individuals, and they have done so many cool things that I knew this is where I want to be."