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To celebrate our 50th anniversary of coeducation, we invited three pairs of Lafayette women to share their stories of progress and persistence. The pairs met in early spring 2020, following distancing protocols, to share their past experiences and their hopes for the future

by Katie Neitz & Jill Spotz // Photography by Adam Atkinson

Barbara Strasburg
Tucker ’84 P’08, P’11
member of the women’s lacrosse and field hockey teams
Jacklyn Fein ’21
Member of women’s lacrosse team,
Student-Athlete Advisory
Committee President

BT: What attracted you to Lafayette?

JF: I went to Easton High School. My father was a football coach here. I grew up walking around College Hill and picturing myself here. In high school, I ended up playing lacrosse, and that was my avenue to get to Lafayette. What really solidified my decision to come here was the team I met. I could see myself being a part of that.

How about you?

BT: I’d done college tours with my older brothers. My mom said I could miss a day of school and pick a place to visit. I chose Lafayette because it was about an hour from my house, and I got an interview. I have to say, the cliché of all clichés, I walked on campus, and I just fell in love. I loved the way I felt when I got here. It proved to be true. It was a great fit for me.

JF: What attracted you to field
hockey, lacrosse?

BT: I played hockey and lacrosse in high school. And I was only going to go to places where I could play. It was a very different time back then. Some girls were recruited. But a lot of us just said once practice starts, we’ll be there.
BT: Can you take me to 2020 when you found out your season was canceled?

JF: Yes. We had heard rumors about this COVID-19 virus, and we all kind of thought of it as this thing that was only in other countries. Our coaches called a meeting and said, ‘This virus is getting pretty serious. We’re going to have to cancel Senior Day’—the next game was senior day. All of us were so disappointed. We felt terrible for the seniors. But everybody thought that this was going to be a two-week break. I remember getting a phone call from my coach and her saying, ‘We think it’s going to be longer than two weeks. We think that the 2020 season is over.’ I feel like a lot of times, it’s cliché, but you don’t miss something until it’s gone. It was so disappointing that we worked so hard for so long, and that was taken away. It was sad. But all that made it more special to be able to come back for the spring 2021 season.

BT: So how was it that first time you were back on the field together?

JF: They’re my best friends, my family. It was just such an indescribable feeling of being able to play with them and play
a game we love all together.

BT: What do you find is your biggest challenge as a student-athlete?

JF: I think balance. You are so demanded from an academic standpoint, but also an athletic standpoint. And then your mental health, your social life, being able to take care of yourself. But what I love so much about Lafayette is they really navigate those things for you. We have a peer mentor program for student-athletes. I also feel like there is an open line of communication between coaches and administrators. Currently, I’m the president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, and we hear all of the things that student-athletes are struggling with. It might be that the dining halls close too early, and people get out of practice at 10 p.m. and need food. So how can we navigate those things to make the experience a little bit easier?

How about for you? Because I feel like back then maybe with coeducation being new, women weren’t as prioritized?

BT: Well, it has been 50 years since women have been here at Lafayette. I’m on the 40-year mark, a product of the ’80s. But I had never felt underserved as a woman, it was just that the effort wasn’t put into facilities like it is now. Your facilities are gorgeous. We didn’t even have a place for our parents to sit; they all stood. I give credit to both Sharon Mitchell and Barb Young for really developing a program before I came here. I don’t think we lacked for anything. I think we had everything that every other college had at the time. Now compared to you guys, we lack a lot! But you know, when you don’t know it, you’re like, ‘Oh, this is great!’ I was just so happy to play. I was so happy to be with my friends. I just knew every day at 3 o’clock, I was going to see my friends. So it made school that much better.

What memories will you take when you leave?

JF: I love all the relationships I’ve built here and the people I’ve met, in academics, athletics, clubs. Lafayette’s small, tight-knit community has been such a blessing. I’m so grateful for it. To leave here with so many experiences that I’ll cherish for such a long time.

BT: How do you see women’s athletics evolving in the future?

JF: I think that women are going to start to have a voice, which is extremely exciting. We can make just as much, maybe even more, change as men. I think that’s extremely important. Men are not just the leaders, we are too. I think the possibilities are endless. And I think that the shaking up of not just COVID but of the first female football player and just the disparities between professional basketball teams coming to light, I think that really has shown that the future of women’s sports is really bright.

BT: That was so well said. And I’d like to give a shoutout to Natalie Kucowski, our first Lafayette player to be drafted by the WNBA.

JF: I’m so, so happy for her. It’s amazing. It’s so exciting to see where it’s going to go.

BT: They can’t stop us. It’s only going to be better.

JF: I love that. They can’t stop us.