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INSIDE BINGHAMTON UNIVERSITY

Scholar excels on court, with band

By : Anthony G. Naglieri

No one ever told Megan Hoag that a jack of all trades is master of none. A standout in the classroom, on the court and across campus, the senior volleyball player not only does it all, she does it all incredibly well.

As an incoming freshman, she was among 120 students chosen as Binghamton Scholars, an honors program for students of exceptional merit. The psychology major now carries a 3.9 grade point average and is a member of the Golden Key and Phi Beta Kappa honor societies.

“She is an extraordinarily talented, incisive and articulate young lady,” said Robert Pompi, an associate professor of physics who crossed paths with Hoag while teaching a Scholars seminar on abstract physics. “Even within such a select group, she really stood out.”

Hoag said she feels psychology is her true calling. “I found that when I was playing sports and dealing with people, I was often very interested in people’s motivations and why they chose to act in certain ways,” she said. “I was always the person who wanted to know what made other people tick.”

Hoag is an active volunteer and member of Peer:Pride, the community outreach branch of Binghamton’s athletic department. She also serves as an advocate for fellow athletes as the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) representative for the volleyball team.

To top it all off, she is slated to graduate a full semester early in December.

Hoag, a two-time volleyball team captain and all-conference middle blocker, has been a mainstay in Binghamton’s lineup for four years.

“Megan was an easy choice to be captain of our squad the past two years,” head coach Glenn Kiriyama said. “She is the consummate student-athlete. No one works harder at what she does, whether it is in the weight room, on the court or in her studies.”

Since her freshman season, Hoag has finished among the team leaders in nearly every major category. She finished 2005 ranked 25th in the nation in service aces per game. Last season, her leadership was key in Binghamton’s first-ever America East Conference championship and subsequent trip to the NCAA Tournament. It was Binghamton’s floor leader who delivered a resonant ace on the championship point.

“It was a remarkable moment in my career,” Hoag said. “I will always remember that final point and all the screaming and celebrating that ensued.”

Hoag appears to make easy work of her full plate of responsibilities, but the schedule of a student-athlete is not without its sacrifices. “There’s no time to waste when your days are so packed,” she said. “I have sort of become famous for running in and out of the dining halls and coming to class all decked out in spandex and ice bags taped up everywhere.”

She credits her upbringing with laying the foundation for her to juggle her daily routine. “My parents always urged my sisters and me to get as involved as possible,” Hoag said. “Whether in sports or school, they didn’t want to raise daughters who just sat on the sidelines.”

Hoag’s older sister, Rachel, graduated with all-conference academic and volleyball honors from St. Andrews Presbyterian College, a Division-II school in North Carolina.

“Rachel definitely has been the biggest influence both as a player and as a person,” Hoag said. “She showed me what it would take if I wanted to play college volleyball and be successful. I’ve relied on her for advice on everything from dealing with daily aches and pains to becoming a better leader.”

While the majority of Hoag’s free time is spent hitting the books, she leaves herself some room at the end of her day to relax. Several times a week this release takes the form of music, a lifelong passion.

“Playing music has always been my favorite form of stress relief,” Hoag said. “I remember my mom used to say that she could tell how nervous I was about an upcoming game by how long and intensely I would play the piano beforehand.”

Since elementary school, Hoag has played piano and French horn. And while career ambitions in the field never took flight, her zeal for music has been rekindled by the Binghamton Pep Band.

“My friend had told me they could use an extra French horn player, and it really just took off from there,” Hoag said. “It’s not that time-consuming, which is a definite plus, and it gives me the opportunity not only to play, but also to support my fellow athletes, which is great.”

Hoag plans to enter a doctoral program in clinical psychology and specialize in health psychology. “Ideally,” she said, “I’d love to assist people who’ve suffered illnesses or injuries to regain control of their lives through treatment or rehabilitation.”
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Last Updated: 10/14/08