When Mallory C. Schaffer ’13 stepped foot on the William & Mary campus as a high school student from suburban Pittsburgh, she encountered the spirit and support that are defining characteristics of Tribe Pride. The factors that sealed the deal for her to attend, she said, were the chance to grow as a player under Women’s Soccer Coach John Daly and the scholarship he offered.
“As an out-of-state student, I have to consider finances as a big decision maker, especially when I’m looking at other schools as a student-athlete,” said Mallory. “The scholarship [offered by William & Mary] was extremely influential in my decision. They offered an opportunity at a place with great academics,” she said.
Mallory had met Daly as a ninth-grader, when he was one of her coaches in the Western Pennsylvania regional Olympic Development Program soccer training camp in Rhode Island.
“He’s an incredible coach. He’s so knowledgeable about the game and offers really great tips on how to improve your playing,” she said.
“He also is really supportive,” she said. “He tries to understand what the players are dealing with, trying to balance sports with academics, particularly because it is so challenging at William & Mary. And I’m so happy I made the choice to come here because I’ve loved every minute of it.”
At William & Mary, Mallory continues to make her mark. The midfielder and co-captain of the Women’s Soccer Team has raked in award after award, capped by being named Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Player of the Year on Nov. 1, 2012. Mallory also won the award in 2011, becoming one of only three players in William & Mary program history to repeat as conference player of the year. Mallory was also recently selected as a second round draft pick by the National Women’s Soccer League’s Seattle Reign to play professional soccer.
Mallory, a biology major, is also an accomplished scholar. Two days after her final game at William & Mary, Mallory received an acceptance letter to Penn State University’s College of Medicine.
In addition to Coach Daly, she counts among her mentors Lizabeth Allison, Hamilton Professor of Biology and chair of William & Mary’s Biology Department. She started working in Allison’s lab during her junior year and has continued as a senior. The research, on thyroid hormone receptors, may have an impact on diseases and their treatment.
“We’re working on the cellular level — the DNA level,” Mallory explained. “When I first became involved in the research, it was all new to me. This hands-on opportunity to be part of significant research has really helped me in preparing to go to medical school,” she said.
“I’ve had an amazing experience at William & Mary, an experience that I wouldn’t otherwise have had but for the scholarship,” she said.
Annual gifts to the Tribe Club make a difference for student-athletes like Mallory, who appreciate the magnitude of the support they receive.
“I want others to have similar opportunities,” Mallory said. “After I graduate, I hope to be able to do for future students what donors have done for me.”