Sarah Cartwright, WVU marketing senior and graduate of Jefferson High School in Shenandoah Junction, W.Va., has been awarded a Beta Gamma Sigma Scholarship.
The scholarship is awarded each spring semester to a top student member of Beta Gamma Sigma, the international business honorary.
"The WVU Chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma has many other extremely bright students this award could have easily gone to instead of me," she commented. "I am extremely grateful and honored to be chosen as the recipient."
With a nearly perfect grade point average, Sarah, a Promise Scholar, manages to put in between 17 to 20 hours each week during practice season as coxswain on the WVU Women's Rowing Team.
"These in-season time periods typically cover almost the entire school year except for about two months when we can only practice about eight hours a week,' she said. "If weather permits, we are typically on the water for two or three hours six days a week." Additionally, the team spends two hours each week doing weight training.
She has her sights set on a sales career in health and fitness, sports, technology, ecology or renewable energy. She is also inclined to be an entrepreneur.
On the Monongahela River for practice. The coxswain is the only crew member facing in the direction of movement, thus, she is the eyes of the boat. Photo courtesy WVU Women's Rowing Team.
Cartwright, prone, and crewmates celebrate winning first place last fall in Pittsburgh competing against Duquesne University, Miami University, Robert Morris University, Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of Maryland, among others.
"I worked in retail throughout high school," she said, "and that experience guided me toward business management. However, I soon realized that pursuing a career in sales would better suit the extremely goal-driven aspect of my personality."
When she's not in class or at work, you can probably find her in one of WVU's sleek racing shells, around daybreak, slicing through the Monongahela River, propelled by women with long oars, skillfully dipping into the water, synchronized by the coxswain's sharp commands.
Cartwright has been a member of the team since her sophomore year at WVU.
"Coxswains are typically petite women and ideally as close to 110 pounds as possible," Cartwright said. "While it's an advantage for rowers to be tall, I'm just 5'1'' and one of the shortest girls to join the team. So, I was inevitably chosen as a coxswain from the start. In addition to small size and a thorough understanding of the sport, it is also important for a Coxswain to have an aggressive, no-nonsense personality type. Those are characteristics I can't seem to hide."
Those traits are obvious, too, in her academic pursuits. She particularly enjoyed her business finance and accounting courses and believes "learning about and thoroughly understanding stocks, bonds, cash flows, or just money in general, is invaluable information and necessary to any company's overall success." This summer, she is in a 10-week sales internship with the Waterfront Place Hotel catering department, shadowing the sales team and assisting in event coordination.
Perhaps, being a coxswain will complement her academic work. Her coach, Jimmy King, thinks so.
"The position of coxswain on a rowing team is one of leadership," he wrote in her scholarship recommendation. "Each time Ms. Cartwright goes on the water she is in charge of the safety of her crew (typically eight rowers); the rowing shell, oars, and related equipment (valued at $40,000); implementing workouts/race plans; and directing, motivating, and demanding the utmost of her peers so that the crew…come together as a single, effective entity. The skill set she is developing in her role as a coxswain will certainly enhance her ability to lead in the business world."
Regardless, she is having fun and getting a lot out of the experience. "I feel as though I am able to make a positive difference, and there is nothing better than starting my day off with an excellent practice," she commented. "I enjoy racing because of my competitive nature. Being part of the rowing team has taught me many valuable life lessons I don't believe I could have learned through many other experiences. I'm very grateful for the opportunity to be a part of a Division 1 sports team."