Student-Athlete Strong: Monica Marcello

Student-athlete Monica Marcello ’18 (CAHNR) listening to a Medical Therapy Nutrition lecture by Professor Nancy Rodriguez in the Engineering II Building on Feb. 28, 2018. (Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)
Student-athlete Monica Marcello ’18 (CAHNR), a nutritional sciences major and member of the Women's Diving team, sees the benefits of good nutrition for academic and athletic performance alike. (Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)

UConn’s student-athletes are often lauded for their on-field or on-court achievements, but there’s an equally important – often unseen – dimension to the student-athlete. UConn Today’s Student-Athlete Strong series highlights the academic prowess of selected high-achieving student-athletes and provides an inside look at their lives beyond their sport.

Monica Marcello ’18 (CAHNR)

Hometown and high school: Middletown, Connecticut; Middletown High School

Sport: Women’s Diving

Area of study: Nutritional Sciences (applying to the master’s degree program in Nutritional Sciences for fall 2018)

Anticipated graduation: May 2018

What attracted you to the nutritional sciences program at UConn?
There are two reasons the nutritional sciences program caught my attention; I grew up a competitive athlete for most of my life and learned the importance of nutrition at a young age, so I was inspired to help other athletes achieve their goals and maximize performance through nutrition. I was also born and raised on a farm, where each summer we had a bountiful garden, and chickens for farm-fresh eggs. I was able to see the agricultural aspect of nutrition as well – how food and nutrition is a long, intricate process. From growing it, to cooking it, to metabolizing it, then seeing its effects on people’s health.

Is there a specific academic discipline of nutritional science that you wish to explore, such as nutritional education, clinical nutrition, health and human services, or …?
Yes. I hope to explore them all throughout my career because I am fascinated by them all. I feel like the learning in my field is never-ending, and I love that. However, to initially start my career I hope to work in a clinical setting, working with infants and children who require assisted feeding, typically through tube feeding. I then hope to work in a community setting, working with low-income mothers and children who are suffering from the obesity/hunger paradox.

There’s a definite link between nutrition and academic – as well as athletic – performance . As a nutritional sciences major, what’s one ‘bad’ habit you’d suggest we break?
Putting all that sugar in our coffee! College students run off coffee, having one or two cups a day, and we load the sugar on (I can be guilty of it too). But one cup of a flavor swirl coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts already puts us over our recommended added sugar allowance per day.

What are some of your academic achievements at UConn?
Being part of the All-AAC academic team was pretty cool. I also made the Dean’s List twice, and last semester I had a 3.93 (I really wish I had got 4.0!).

Sports have always been a huge part of your life. Do you think you’ll remain involved in athletics in some way after graduation?
Yes. Actually, I am currently applying for my master’s in the nutritional sciences department so that I can finish my last year of eligibility for diving at UConn next year. After diving, I definitely think I want to get into yoga more than I already am, and possibly horse vaulting. Adventure and staying healthy is very important to me.

How has the Student-Athlete Success Program (formerly the Counseling Program for Intercollegiate Athletes) helped you?
I’ve been lucky to have that kind of academic support throughout my four years here. Lindsay Darcy is my academic advisor and I am very thankful for her; she has helped me organize my thoughts when I can’t think straight, as well as directed me on the right path to achieve all I wanted to academically at UConn, while managing the crazy schedule of athletics.

What does it mean to you to be a Husky?
I take so much pride in UConn’s name. Each time I wear my gear, or the UConn name in general, I walk around proud to have it on. Being a Husky gives me something to represent academically and athletically. It’s really special to be a part of a family where people have done some amazing things under the UConn name, and I hope to be one of them as well.