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SAAC Spotlight: Alaska's Sarissa Lammers
Sarissa represented Alaska at the US Skiing Cross Country Championships last year.
Sarissa represented Alaska at the US Skiing Cross Country Championships last year.
Sarissa Lammers
Sarissa Lammers

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Part of a regular series.

Throughout the year, GNACsports.com uses this space to profile conference student-athletes who are members of their respective institutions' Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). In addition to providing feedback on the student-athlete experience, conference and institutional SAAC members also offer input on the rules, regulations and policies that affect student-athletes' lives on NCAA member institution campuses. Click here for more information on the function of SAAC at the NCAA level.

Name: Sarissa Lammers
Sport: Cross Country Skiing
School: University of Alaska Fairbanks
Year: Junior
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Hometown: Eagle River, Alaska

Extracurricular Activities: I have a wide array of extracurricular activities that range from pretty much any and all outdoor activities, to making friends with shaggy cows in Scotland, to arts and crafts such as doodling and knitting, to movie marathons with friends and family.

Why Did You Choose To Attend UAF? I chose to go to UAF for a few reasons. First of all, Fairbanks has one of the most supportive and involved ski communities I have ever seen. It's pretty amazing to see how many people truly care about such a unique sport. Along with the great ski community and amazing ski trails on and off campus, UAF provided me with the opportunity to pursue a degree in engineering and a collegiate ski career. Even though my brother and I probably won't say it to each other’s faces, it was a lot of fun being able to go to the same college and be on the same ski team again. Going to school with your sibling isn't for everyone, but it does make the transition easier. It's nice having someone there who will always have your back, even though they will still pick on you mercilessly.

What Is Your Favorite Class You Have Taken In College And Why? I think my favorite class so far in college has been thermodynamics. The professor I had structured his class in a way that provided us with a short review of the reading, providing us with the opportunity to ask questions and then we would do problems. He would also relate what we were learning to real world examples making it easier to see the purpose of what we were covering. I found the concepts interesting and more like a puzzle than a problem.

Who Is Your favorite Professor And What Did You Enjoy About Learning From Him Or Her?: I think my favorite professor so far in college is my fluid dynamics professor, Horacio Toniolo. If you can imagine an easy going (yet no BS) Argentinian professor who wants you to succeed, yet refers to quizzes and tests as a way to "kill you," and gives nicknames to students whose names he can't pronounce, then you can imagine how entertaining this class was. He is relaxed, but takes his job very seriously. Time was rarely wasted in class and the material we covered was concise and useful. He made you want to answer his question and made it okay to be wrong.

Years Involved In SAAC: Two.

The Reason I Chose To Get Involved In SAAC: I chose to get involved with SAAC because I thought it would be a fun way to give back to a community and university that has done so much for me and provided me with the opportunity to be a collegiate athlete.

Most Memorable SAAC Activity: Nanook Olympics is one of my favorite events we hold. The event is in the spring after everyone is done with their season. All the athletes get together and compete in each other’s sports.

Favorite Part Of The GNAC SAAC Retreat: I would have to say getting to meet people from schools I don't compete against. Besides UAA, my sport doesn’t compete with any of the other schools in the GNAC so I thought it was pretty cool getting to know some of the people who are actually in the conference.

What Is The Most Important Thing You've Learned From Balancing The Demands Of Athletics And Academics? Time management! Staying on top of your to-do list and planning accordingly makes an athlete’s life so much easier and less stressful. It also usually ends up leaving room for naps!

What Does It Mean To Be A Division II Student-Athlete? It means you are not afraid of a challenge. It's not easy being a student-athlete and taking on the responsibility to further your education while improving yourself in your sport. That’s an achievement in itself.

If I Could Change One NCAA rule, It Would Be: Being able to take prize money for winning a race.

Current Mentor(s): My parents and teammates. They are always challenging me to be my best on and off the trails.

Future Goals After School: I hope to travel at some point and if skiing is going well I would like to continue skiing and take it as far as I can. After that though I want to work on designing prosthetics for athletes, that is definitely a dream job.

Biggest Obstacle Overcame During Collegiate Career: I would say either almost having skiing cut this year or struggling with chronic sinus infections during my freshman year and beginning of my sophomore year.

Best Advice I’d Give To An Incoming Freshman: Don't expect to be perfect and when you make mistakes, which you will, learn from them and move on. Don't dwell on them. Everything will work out but don't expect someone to fix it for you.

Most Memorable Sports-Related Moment: One of my most memorable moments was racing the 15km classic mass start at regionals my sophomore year and being up in the lead pack and being able to look around and see my teammates in front, behind and next to me all working together and skiing strong.

One Thing That People Don't Know About Me Is: If you Google my first name you will come up with a 15 to 20 foot Macedonian spear used in the front line of defense.

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