A Love For Sports and STEM – Aly Henneberry

For as long as she can remember, Aly Henneberry, ’23, has loved three things: math, science, and tennis.

As a child, Aly’s mother would push her stroller around a park. When they passed by the tennis courts, Aly would wave and point, making her mother stop so that she could watch the people playing. “She promised me as soon as I was tall enough to see over the net, I could start taking lessons,” said Aly.

Her mother kept her promise and Aly has been playing tennis ever since, now at the collegiate level for Meredith. As a freshman, she was awarded the Most Improved Player and was named to the USA South All-Conference Second Team and the All-Academic Team.

As for her love for science and math, Aly has been able to build on that at Meredith as well. She participates in the dual degree engineering program in partnership with NC State University. She’s also a member of the honors program and a recipient of the Paschal scholarship, an award for students pursuing careers in mathematics, computer science, science, and engineering.

For Aly, being able to attend a strong women’s college and play collegiate sports while also studying engineering has given her the best of both worlds.

“There aren’t many programs in the country where I could pursue my love of math and engineering while also being able to compete at the collegiate level,” she said. “This experience is so unique and I really cherish the fact that Meredith enables me to bring all of my passions together.”

One Meredith experience that had a great impact on Aly was attending the AWE-STEM Summer Institute, a four-day, collaborative STEM summer workshop experience that features local and regional field trips, a women in STEM speaker series, group mentoring events with field professionals, and a study away experience at a coastal research field station. Aly said that the experience affirmed her strengths and provided her with great networking opportunities. “Coming out of it, I feel significantly more confident that I am on the right track for my major,” said Aly.

Aly wants to continue combining her passions for sports and engineering after college as well. One of her long term career aspirations is to design tennis equipment that would serve as teaching aids to young children who are just being introduced to the sport. She also hopes to work with professional athletes and design training equipment to help them prepare for tournaments.

Though Aly is grateful for the experience now, Aly wasn’t always enthusiastic about the idea of attending a women’s college. On the surface, she didn’t see many perks. It wasn’t until she experienced the strong culture of empowerment and confidence at Meredith that she realized the benefits. Now, she can’t imagine what her life would be like if she had chosen a different school.

“I wouldn’t be the woman I am today,” she said.