When members of the Shenandoah University family say, “curiosity required,” they mean it. Students, faculty, staff, friends and alumni are encouraged to look beyond Winchester, beyond their program, beyond their team and beyond their community to find a place where they can make a difference.
And that’s just what Kelani Bailey Lawrence ’16 did as she used her education from Shenandoah and her years of racquetball training to become one of five players on the National Racquetball Team to compete in the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, in the summer of 2019. At the games, she won two bronze medals (women’s doubles and team) and finished as one of the top 12 players in the world in women’s singles racquetball.
Lawrence, originally from Roanoke, Virginia, came to Shenandoah as a field hockey recruit, and was interested in both pursuing sports management in the Harry F. Byrd, Jr. School of Business and being a regular at the local racquetball courts.
The small class sizes allowed me to build a great rapport with my professors who supported my athletic endeavors in both field hockey and racquetball. They were accommodating with the travel time I needed to take and used my experiences for projects and practice applications in class assignments.”
She also appreciated the opportunity to take courses outside of her program, like a social dance class, where she met her now-husband, Samuel Lawrence ’16, and a multicultural communication course, which she found “very applicable with my racquetball travels and international business work.” As someone who had the opportunity to travel to South Korea with the Global Citizenship Project and to study abroad in Brazil while at Shenandoah, Lawrence said students interested in higher education should “pick a school that is best for their personal growth and career path; one where they’ll genuinely enjoy their time.”
She plans on continuing to pursue her goal of competing against the best players in the world.
My goal each season is to make the U.S. National Racquetball Team so that I can have the opportunity to represent my country at competitions.”