While many college students arrive on campus without a clue about the direction of their future career, that was never an issue for University of Toledo women’s tennis player Eileen Carney.
“As long as I can remember,” Carney said, “I wanted to be a dentist. I have a few dentists in my family, and each time they talk about their work, I’m very intrigued. As young as 7 years old, my dream was to be a dentist.”
Carney, who begins her third year with the Rockets this fall, has been a powerhouse on the court and in the classroom. A regular in the lineup the last two years, Carney has tallied 16 victories at the No. 2 singles spot. As a freshman, she was named the Mid-American Conference Singles Player of the Week after clinching the Rockets’ come-from-behind win against Oakland. She also has flourished with her studies at UToledo, making the dean’s list on two occasions.
“Making the dean’s list has motivated me to work hard and show how The University of Toledo stands behind its student-athletes for success,” said Carney, a medicinal and biological chemistry major. “The best teachers I’ve ever had have been at UToledo. I feel so honored to have made the dean’s list.”
“Eileen has made an incredible impact on our program,” said Head Women’s Tennis Coach Tracy Mauntler. “She’s a lead-by-example type of person in everything she does and an incredibly hard worker. We’re very fortunate that Eileen is a Rocket.”
Carney attributes much of her success at UToledo to her ability to prioritize and work ahead.
“The weeks can get busy, and the best way I’ve found to cope with that is to work ahead and stay ahead,” Carney said. “I feel I do my best when I start studying two weeks before tests. That helps me to not stress out and allows me to keep up with my other classes. By giving myself ample time to prepare, I can study a little each day and not worry about pulling all-nighters.”
Carney also acknowledges that Mauntler has provided her valuable insight into balancing athletics and academics.
“Coach [Mauntler] told our team that we have to learn how to compartmentalize tennis and school,” Carney said. “When we are on the court, we are only thinking about tennis. When we are in class, we are focusing on school. This has been extremely helpful because it has enabled my mind to stay clear of excess stress that can float around if academics and athletics cross.”
With Carney devoting a majority of her day to the court and with her studies, the Joliet, Ill., native still finds time for community service. She and her Rocket teammates have volunteered at the ALS Walk in downtown Toledo and the 13 ABC Hope for the Holidays Toy Drive, to name a few. She understands how important it is to serve others in the community and give back.
“I want to help and serve others,” said Carney, who was selected by Mauntler to spearhead the team’s community service efforts. “I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to lead our efforts because I can reach out to those who need help directly. Toledo has given my teammates and me so much. We have an opportunity that very few get to experience. Our team wants to show UToledo how grateful we are by giving back. I hope to repay the community through volunteering. One of the things that motivates me most is thinking about the impact I can make helping people.”
At the midway point of her time at UToledo, Carney feels very fortunate to play the sport she loves, study at a great university that is preparing her for dental school, all while having the opportunity to give back to the community.
“The University of Toledo has been a great fit for me,” Carney said. “It has helped me succeed as a student-athlete, grow as a person, and hopefully fulfill my dream of becoming a dentist.”