UMW senior Katherine Lambert has a big weekend and a big future – with some big wardrobe changes – ahead.
She’ll don cap and gown at Commencement on Saturday, pull on her Eagles lacrosse uniform for the national championships Sunday. Then she’ll likely change into helmet and boots to ride her horse, Gucci, and process it all. By summer’s end, Lambert, a biology major on the pre-dental track, will move on once more, to the University of New England School of Dental Medicine, where she’s counting on the leadership skills she learned at Mary Washington to carry her through.
“There’s a very rigorous interview process for dental school, and I was able to use so many examples from her team and how it’s prepared me to be a leader,” Lambert said of Caitlin Moore, head coach of UMW’s NCAA Division 3 women’s lacrosse team, now ranked among the nation’s top 10.
Lambert’s love of lacrosse came from horses, in a roundabout way. She was 5 when her parents let her start riding, asking only that she try other activities, too. “The more I did, the more they let me do with horses,” said Lambert, who loaded up on sports, excelling at one in particular.
Moore was able to coax Lambert from her Nashua, New Hampshire, home, to play lacrosse for Mary Washington, thanks in part to its proximity to Virginia’s “horse country” and its pre-dental track. As a teen with a mouthful of metal, she’d realized that a career as an orthodontist, with its salary and flexibility, would give her time to pursue all her passions.
First, though, she’d have to get into dental school, a hefty commitment that calls for clinical experience, community service and leadership skills.At Mary Washington, she’s landed one opportunity after another, volunteering at the Lloyd Moss Free Clinic, assisting a New Hampshire oral surgeon, serving as a Pre-Medical/Pre-Dental Club officer and more.
“To add to that lacrosse and horses, she has a schedule I wouldn’t wish on anyone,” said Professor of Biology Stephen Gallik, UMW’s pre-medical and pre-dental advisor. “Medical schools look for well-rounded individuals, and that’s certainly what I see in Katherine.”
On the lacrosse team, she’s a blur on the turf, a midfielder playing two games and practicing dozens of hours each week. And then there are meetings – to monitor athletes’ academic standings, evaluate opponents and shape strategies. A team captain and member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, Lambert helps coordinate the group’s contributions to community service projects like UMW’s annual Stop Hunger Food Drive.
“It’s things like this that make our lacrosse program so successful,” said Lambert, who also completed the Athletics Department’s Leadership Academy. “We see the big picture, that community service is important.”
To unwind, she climbs in the car and drives an hour each way every day to the Charlottesville farm where she rides Gucci, the horse that helped her placed seventh this fall in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships.
Back on the lacrosse field this summer, she’ll coach Richmond high-schoolers who hope to follow in her footsteps and play on their own college teams.
“Her contemporaries recognize that Katherine is one of the kindest, hardest working, humble and most dedicated on the squad,” Moore said. “I can say without hesitation that she embodies the term ‘team player.’ ”