Being a math major in college is no easy task. Devoting most of your time to playing sports can make it even more challenging. But senior Nora Barry has spent the last four years balancing those duties, both of which she has excelled at.
Barry, a Marcellus, New York, native, has started in every game since she has been a member of the Florida lacrosse program.
In her collegiate career, she has accumulated 116 goals and 33 assists. Barry has helped lead the Gators to three consecutive regular season conference championships and three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, including one Final Four appearance her freshman year in 2012.
But wait, there’s more.
Barry has done all of this while earning a degree in mathematics with a minor in Spanish. She will graduate from UF this spring and plans to attend graduate school at New York University for data science, which Barry described as a combination of math and computer science.
"Basically, when I came (to UF), I just wanted to go with what I really, really enjoyed in high school." Barry said. "I knew I liked math but I didn’t know that necessarily I wanted to be an engineer or do anything specific, so I decided to do math in general … and I always planned on going to graduate school to kind of specialize."
While a degree like math is uncommon among student athletes, Barry said her coaches and teammates have been very supportive of her and have helped to balance the two obligations as evenly as possible. She said the workload has taught her to use her time wisely.
"Our coaches are really supportive of our academics, they always say that’s the most important thing right now," Barry said. "They’re always very, very supportive and I have pretty much everything I could ever need to be successful here, so it’s been a nice experience."
Barry said the toughest classes she has had to take at UF have been graduate level math courses. Oddly enough, one course was called Introduction to Algebra, which sounds basic but Barry assured is far from it since it’s still a graduate level course. And as for her minor in Spanish, Barry said she simply had room in her schedule and that it can’t hurt to know another language.
Now, as she wraps up her final semester at Florida and her final season playing lacrosse as a Gator, the three-time SEC Academic Honor Roll and recently named Big East Honor Roll recipient looks forward to her new endeavors of graduate school and even more math to come.
"Math can be really, really frustrating. It even is to me, especially if you don’t understand it, but it can be really rewarding as well," Barry said.
"So I think that’s kind of why I stuck with it all this time."
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Nora Barry runs toward the net during Florida's loss to North Carolina.