Commencement 2014: Member of URI rowing team advises fellow athletes to enjoy present

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Egg Harbor, N.J. resident excels in nutrition major, on water

KINGSTON, R.I. – March 31, 2014 – Maybe there were too many cold mornings training on Narrow River. Maybe the old physical training area at the University of Rhode Island needed an upgrade. And maybe Chelsea Paulin of Egg Harbor Township, N.J. had too many days when the exams, papers, meets and training piled up.

But if you know Paulin, a coxswain on URI’s two-time Atlantic 10 championship rowing team, you would have heard her talk about opportunities and triumphs, not complain about difficulties. With great attitude brings memorable victories, she said.

“Being a student-athlete is all about balance and discipline…having so many things on my plate actually keeps me more organized,” Paulin said, as she explained how she manages to be so productive.

Her parents pushed her to set high standards, be organized and plan ahead. Although she did not enjoy the pressure exerted by her parents, she now realizes their advice helped her achieve great things and not settle for mediocrity.

But feeling at home on the Kingston campus really didn’t happen until her junior year. During her freshman and sophomore years, she missed her close-knit family and friends back in New Jersey.

She said rowing at URI was the main reason she was able to do well and enjoy her time at the University.

“I realized that I had a second great support system in Rhode Island with all of my friends, coaches, teammates and the community. All I had to do was be open to everything these incredible people offered to me.”

As for being part of two A-10 championships, she feels enormous pride in the hard work that led her teammates and her to such great success.

“Everything we go through all year becomes instantly worth it, and I love sharing the joy and happiness with my teammates,” Paulin said.

Even being chosen to address fellow student-athletes at a dean’s list reception earlier this year was a chance to savor the honor of being selected as a keynote speaker. From developing into a team leader to being part of a team that won consecutive A-10 championships, she told her audience that every student-athlete at URI is an inspiration who can share valuable stories about challenges and successes. Rowing practice takes about 20 hours per week, and that doesn’t even include competition and winter off-season training that requires eight hours per week.

Even with all of these demands Paulin still has time to excel academically. She’ll cap off an outstanding career at URI when she receives her bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics May 18.

She also hopes to remain on the Kingston Campus to pursue a master’s degree in nutrition and dietetics.

She has taken a full course load in a science-based major, and has been receiving two credits per semester for working six hours per week for the past three years as a research assistant. She assists graduate students with their projects, including proposals, research projects and theses in the lipid laboratory at URI. Paulin was involved in a study using the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension).

“I was responsible for reviewing food logs and providing feedback and suggestions to help participants adhere to the study diet,” she said.

She also participated in a campus-wide intervention for students to help increase their awareness of healthy choices on campus. She supervised an informational booth at the Memorial Union for six weeks that focused on how students can increase low fat and whole grain food and drink choices.

Paulin seeks work in a hospital or as an outpatient dietitian, although she is eager to try anything in her field.

After graduate school, Paulin states, “I hope to take the national exam to become a registered dietitian. A successful career for me involves helping people lead happier and healthier lives”

But before she ends her days as an undergraduate, it’s worth going back to that speech she made before her fellow student-athletes a few months ago. She told them one of the few sayings she lives by is: “Don’t wish away your days waiting for better ones ahead. The longer we wait for the future, the shorter it will be.”

This press release was written by Sylvia Bogusz, a Communication Studies and Italian double major interning in the Department of Marketing and Communications.