As Sweet Briar Tennis wraps up its season, the Vixens celebrated the Class of 2018 during Senior Day on Friday, April 13, against ODAC rival Hollins University. This year’s honorees are Anna Colvin, Samantha Yew and AJ Lukanuski.
Anna Colvin, of Bethlehem, Pa., is a mathematical economics and French double major. On the dean’s list since 2015, she was a Who’s Who in American Colleges honoree in 2017 and is a member of Alpha Lambda Delta, Pi Delta Phi and Omicron Delta Epsilon. Colvin spent her junior year studying abroad with Sweet Briar’s JYF in Paris, is the Class of 2018 treasurer, a financial aid student assistant and a member of three tap clubs.
“I chose Sweet Briar because this is where I felt the most self-development was possible,” she says.
Athletics has had a big impact on her work ethic, Colvin adds. “Being a student-athlete has given me structure and purpose while on campus. I have a routine and a team that I strive to impress. I work harder in general, because I know the influence that’ll have on the team. Athletics has really shown me that communication and diligence can make all the difference in any situation.”
Colvin will take that determination with her when she graduates next month. Her plan? To work in the finance or legal field “for a few years” before pursuing a degree in international financial law.
Coming from the Bronx, N.Y., teammate Samantha Yew has a similar academic background. Like Colvin, the business and economics double major is looking for real-world experience first before pursuing graduate study — in her case, an MBA. A resident advisor, Yew is also a member of Alpha Lambda Delta. She’s in two tap clubs and previously served as an admissions ambassador, a judicial representative and secretary, and on the Academic Affairs Committee.
Like so many students at Sweet Briar, Yew was attracted by the beautiful campus — and something else. “All faculty and staff are very supportive of my goals,” she says. “It has been such a unique experience at Sweet Briar with so many wonderful opportunities — including internship opportunities I got because of the support of the alumnae.”
Sweet Briar Athletics, Yew says, has taught her to excel in the classroom and on the court, and it’s made her feel part of something special.
“Time management is a skill that I have learned over my years of being a student-athlete. From the beginning, you have to learn how to prioritize your time to manage both practice, matches and school,” she explains. “Overall, being an athlete here at Sweet Briar gave me a second family. I can always count on my coach and my teammates to help me through a tough time or when I just need someone to talk to. My favorite memories of the tennis team are always our spring break trip to Hilton Head Island. We stay in a house together, which really bonds the team, especially over our ‘family dinners.’”
Fellow senior AJ Lukanuski, too, appreciates the sisterhood she has experienced at Sweet Briar. It’s what made her want to attend — combined with the College’s ABET-accredited Margaret Jones Wyllie ’45 Engineering Program.
“My mother and aunt both attended Sweet Briar in the 80s,” says the engineering major and math minor from Richmond. “I knew about the school growing up, but didn’t seriously consider it until I decided to graduate early from high school. I wanted the nurturing environment with rigorous academics that Sweet Briar offers.”
A member of the QV Club, Lukanuski interned last summer with the Virginia Department of Transportation in Richmond and already has a job lined up. Starting in September, she’ll work at NAVAIR in Cherry Point, N.C. But first, she has some traveling to do. “Two summers ago, I backpacked Europe,” she told us. “And three summers ago, I drove across the country by myself — from the Smoky Mountains to the Rocky Mountains, stopping in multiple cities and National Parks.” This summer, she’s going back to Europe.
While a lot of that fierce Vixen spirit may be in her DNA, Sweet Briar Athletics has done its part to fuel and sustain it — and it’s inspired a lasting love of the sport.
“Athletics has pushed me to know what I can accomplish physically and mentally,” Lukanuski says. “It also gave me a great outlet for stress. I know I will play tennis for the rest of my life.”