roberts is majoring in Mechanical Engineering
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Being a scholar-athlete at Florida Tech takes an incredible amount of hard work and dedication to excel both in the classroom and on the field.
Panther women’s basketball player Tai Roberts, a sophomore who is majoring in Mechanical Engineering, joins us for a new edition of Scholar-Athlete Spotlight.
Arriving at Florida Tech from Euclid, Ohio, Roberts made quite the first impression in 2022-23, leading the team in points, assists, steals, and free throw percentage. Following the season, Tai was named to the Sunshine State Conference Commissioner’s and Florida Tech Athletic Director’s Honor Roll.
With a new season set to tip-off next Friday, Tai sat down with us to explain how she balances it all and what she wants from her education.
■ Tell us a little bit about your major here at Florida Tech, what made you choose it?
I majored in mechanical engineering, and I was always on the fence between civil and mechanical, honestly, since I was younger, I always liked to do things with my hands, and I played with Legos a lot of the time. Eventually, when I got to high school, I was pretty much inspired by a lot of my friends to choose engineering specifically mechanical by two of my closest friends, who then went to do mechanical engineering as well.
We were offered an engineering course our senior year, which kind of helped me decide to choose mechanical because I just liked working with my hands specifically vehicles and transportation and things of that nature.
■ What do you want to do with that major once you’ve graduated?
I believe I want to go into an agency or a company of some sort and just kind of contribute to a bigger team, innovative designs for any type of transportation, specifically cars. I find it very fascinating just the way cars work, interior and exterior designs. So, I think that’s what I want to do with my degree.
Having grown up in Ohio, what was it about Florida Tech that made you want to make such a long trip from home?
Definitely the coaching staff and it being a STEM school also helped me choose Florida Tech specifically. Florida was never a big choice of mine, I never liked the heat that much but the school definitely was a great fit when I toured and everything, so it worked out.
■ What’s something from your classes that you didn’t know about your major before?
So right now, I’m actually taking a materials course and I didn’t realize that this course was so in tune to my major, I need to understand the strength and strain of certain materials that I use for things you may put in cars or just anything that you use to build with. So, it definitely opened up my eyes for that.
■ Is there a teammate or fellow athlete who you’ve become study buddies with?
Not too much, but I do have a lot of teammates who I have similar classes with or we may be in the same class and we kind of go over different assignments or the different ways we may approach projects.
■ What are some things you need to get the most out of study time? Do you have a playlist or need to be by yourself in a room?
Just the thought of having it done. (laughs) I usually study in my dorm a lot, sometimes I study in the library with my friends, but sometimes I just can’t get stuff done when I’m with my friends. But yeah, just the thought of being done and finished with the day and the week helps me get through, honestly.
■ How has being a collegiate athlete prepared you for what you’re doing now and what do you take from the court that you apply to your studies?
I’d say the biggest thing basketball has taught me is work ethic. When all else fails, just work hard, work smart. So, I think that definitely translates into my academics. I try to put as much effort as I do in the gym as into study, so that helps me do the best I can on and off the court.
■ What advice would you give to an athlete coming to Florida Tech that has an interest in Mechanical Engineering?
I’d say continue to be interested in mechanical engineering and learn to find a good balance, not just books and basketball, also have a social life. I definitely had to learn that because I was definitely focused on books and basketball and I had to learn that I need the sort of escape or self-care for myself. So, I think just finding that balance and if you love everything that you do, you’ll be alright.
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