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Jumping into her Emmanuel experience, Shakirah was sure of two things: that what she had planned was going to be a “tall task,” and that she was up for the challenge.

On any given day, she balances her responsibilities as a multi-sport athlete, her coursework in counseling and health psychology, and her training as an Army ROTC Cadet.

“I was recruited [by Coach Andy Yosinoff] during a basketball game my senior year of high school,” she said. “I was excited to play for such a highly-decorated program.” The Saints won the GNAC championship during her sophomore year, earning a spot in the NCAA tournament.

Within the team, she’s also found a close group of friends. “We all spend time together even outside of the gym,” she said. “We have similar classes, we hang out and watch movies together. It’s like a little family.”

In addition to basketball, Shakirah is a thrower for the Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field teams, the latter of which also captured the GNAC championship during the spring 2022 season.

Being a student-athlete, Shakirah said, has taught her a lot about time management, organization, communication and discipline, all of which are integral to the other facets of her education.

Her mornings often begin at five, completing physical or skills training with the ROTC Liberty Battalion, alongside students from nearly a dozen area colleges. “I joined the National Guard during my senior year of high school,” she said. “I knew it would help me pay for school, build a lot of transferrable skills, and help me on my career path.”

In addition to learning military history and military science, she has gained leadership and interpersonal skills, and taken part in exciting opportunities—such as traveling to San Diego for a fully-funded intensive Mandarin-language program through ROTC Project GO, gaining linguistic and cross-cultural skills that will benefit her in career pursuits post-graduation.

As a psychology major with a concentration in counseling and health, she has taken an interest in courses such as cognition, which puts the everyday things we do into perspective, as well as adult psychopathology, which examines aspects such as genetics and socio-cultural factors that have an impact on behavior and mood.

Shakirah will graduate in spring 2024 as a Second Lieutenant, with a goal to join an Army branch that will enable her to begin work as a sport psychologist. 

“Sport psychology is in high demand in the military right now,” she said. “It helps you learn more about yourself, address your mental hurdles, reach your potential. I’d like to be a life coach of some sort, keeping you on track for whatever that looks like to you.” 

“I’ve always had my eye on the end goal, and what I’d be able to say about this time in my life. I’ve been able to experience many things and meet so many cool people. It’s all definitely worth it for what I’m trying to attain.”

Shakirah Ketant '24