On Track

Gifts to the Dartmouth College Fund help make great things happen for our students. Here is one of their stories.
Callie Young

Callie Young ’22 brought her love of skiing to Dartmouth. Now she’s the team captain.

Callie Young ’22 admits to having an occasional case of race-day nerves. But as captain of Dartmouth’s 2021-2022 women’s Nordic ski team, she takes it in stride. “It’s nervous in a good way,” she says. “In competition, the winning team is calculated on the collective scores of the top three skiers. So there’s more at stake than just my own score. We’re in it to win it—and that gets the adrenaline going. It can be nerve wracking.”

Dartmouth was the perfect place to bring her passion for skiing. “I literally grew up at Jay Peak and have been on skis since I could walk. I knew I wanted to ski at a Division One college and stay on the East Coast. And I met Cami Thompson Graves, the women’s Nordic head coach. She has so much experience and wisdom, and I really liked the idea of having a female coach because I've always had that growing up, and my coaches knew her. I just knew it would be a good fit.

“I loved the fact that Dartmouth was in a town, not a big city, that there are so many good trails for running and mountain biking here, and obviously the academic reputation and the Dartmouth network were really appealing as well.”

Young, a senior biology and geography major, came to Dartmouth expecting to just focus on the former. But a first-year political geography class changed her thinking. “It wasn't like anything I'd taken before. It made me want to take more geography classes, and then every class I took I loved.” An epidemiology class for undergraduates and graduate students was a challenge, but also got her interested in the technical side of public health, epidemiology, and statistical biology, which has become one of her main focuses.

Having grown up in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, a rural area in the northeast corner of the state, Young saw the difficulties first-hand that residents face in accessing quality medical care and social services. This awareness helped spark her interest in public health programs.

“I had the opportunity to intern this summer with Umbrella, a nonprofit community group in Newport, Vermont, that supports underrepresented populations who face poverty, discrimination, and other obstacles to living peaceful, self-directed lives.

“I worked on a project called 100 Cups of Coffee. We collected qualitative data on substance abuse in the Northeast Kingdom, so I got the opportunity to talk to a lot of local people about how it is affecting the entire community.” The project reminded her of how important the Northeast Kingdom is to her, and how the area can thrive if given the resources and support it needs. “I know it’s an issue in a lot of rural places,” Young says.

Young brings a personal sense of leadership to her role as women’s Nordic ski captain. “I've always been someone to lead by example, but this year I also have a lot of responsibility for the overall wellbeing of the team. To be the best leader, I have to step outside of my comfort zone sometimes. There are thirteen on the team this year, with five freshmen. Guiding them through their first term at Dartmouth has been very impactful on me.”

“To be the best leader, I have to step outside of my comfort zone sometimes.”

– Callie Young ’22

Plenty of training time together has allowed the team to grow closer. “It's been rewarding to make these connections. We know each other so well… we do check-ins with each other on how we’re all doing.”

Recently, Callie and three classmates were invited to speak to a select group of the Dartmouth community at Hard Hat Weekend, a celebration showcasing the new campus construction and renovations that have been accomplished during the pandemic.

“It was pretty incredible to speak in front of that group. I talked about the success of the ski team and how being on the team has helped me be a well-rounded individual. And then I got to talk to them afterwards and learn how current students can inspire them to support Dartmouth.”

Young says that in her time at Dartmouth, she has become a lot more willing to assert herself. “Having the opportunity to meet a lot of new people and learn new things, in class and outside of class, has made me more passionate and a better leader. I have learned how to be a more vocal leader.” Après ski team and Dartmouth, Young is considering several options. Her path may lead to physician assistant school, an athletic pursuit, or public health work—and her time at Dartmouth helped groom the trail.