Sophie Srivastava ’22, Chapman University alumna volleyball star and psychology major, was recognized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Top 30 Woman of the Year 2022.
Who is Sophie Srivastava?
Growing up in the Bay Area, Sophie Srivastava’s athletic journey actually began with soccer. It wasn’t until her middle school years that she was introduced to volleyball, which she continued to play through high school.
Wanting to focus her college experience on her studies, Srivastava shared that sports weren’t a priority for her at first. “I actually had no plans of playing volleyball in college; I wanted to focus solely on academics. My mom encouraged me to look at a couple of schools and I found Chapman, which has a Division III program. I thought it was really good because I could focus on school and still get to play.” And though Srivastava completed her studies at Chapman last spring, she’s still on campus working in a research lab.
Srivastava was Chapman’s Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2022. In the midst of her many athletic accolades, she was the recipient of Chapman’s outstanding Research Award as an undergraduate research assistant for the early human and lifespan development, computational analysis of health behavior and health psychology labs. She also conducted an independent study examining perceptions of the homeless population and served as the student council representative for the Western Psychological Association. Srivastava even presented at a 2022 Society for Personality and Social Psychology conference.
What is the Student-Athlete Experience at Chapman?
Recalling her experience, Srivastava shared, “ What’s nice about Division III athletics is that you get time to do everything. I was playing in the fall and that would take up most of my time. In spring, I had the opportunity to explore other extracurriculars, like research, which is how I landed my job. It was useful to be able to do things that would progress my career in the future.”
Students at Chapman University have a unique opportunity in DIII athletics, having just as much time to explore other vocations while actively competing in their sport.
On-campus jobs are available for students seeking experience in their field, or simply to make money while attending college. These opportunities range from tour guides and RAs to more career focused jobs such as Sophie’s.
“I really like working in the lab,” Srivastava continued, “I volunteered in the lab as a student and I was offered a full-time position when I graduated.”
Sophie dreams of ultimately earning a Ph.D. in developmental psychology, saying that this job gives her the hands-on experience necessary for her field.
Advice for Student-Athletes at Chapman
Being a decorated student-athlete did not come without its obstacles. Srivastava learned lessons that she carries with her daily. “A good lesson that I’m still learning is to have confidence in yourself. Athletics really helps women, especially, gain confidence in themselves,” she said. “During my first couple of years at Chapman I was working on my confidence and believing in myself, and this award is helping me with that as well. Believing that you deserve to be here and deserve to be on the team will take you very far.”
She also emphasizes the importance of leaning on coaches and teammates. As she puts it, her recognition as a Top 30 Woman of the Year is a testament to the impact of Chapman’s volleyball coaches and Srivastava’s teammates, whom she says made this all possible for her.