MacLeod is majoring in ocean engineering
WATCH: Scholar-Athlete Spotlight – Panther women’s lacrosse player Caroline MacLeod, a senior is majoring in ocean 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.
In this Scholar-Athlete Spotlight, we feature Panther women’s lacrosse player Caroline MacLeod, a senior who is majoring in ocean engineering.
Originally from Hopkinton, Massachusetts, MacLeod has been named to the Sunshine State Conference Commissioner’s Honor Roll and Florida Tech Athletic Director’s Honor Roll in each of her three years in Melbourne, having twice done so with a 4.0 GPA.
In addition, MacLeod was named to the IWLCA Academic Honor Roll following the 2021 season for having earned a cumulative GPA of 3.50 or greater and received the Florida Tech Distinguished Student Scholar Award.
MacLeod has made incredible strides on the field as she was a walk-on when she arrived in Melbourne and is now a scholarship player.
She earned Second Team All-SSC honors in 2021 after contributing 12 goals, five assists, 12 ground balls, and six caused turnovers from midfield across nine games. Over the past two seasons, MacLeod has fired home 22 goals in 17 games.
Our environment is ever-changing and we here on the Space Coast especially know that to be true. We sat down with MacLeod to ask what inspired her to pursue this career path and how Florida Tech has sparked an even greater interest in it for her.
■ What’s your major at Florida Tech and why did you choose this? Is it something that you’ve always wanted to be a part of?
So, my major is an engineering and when I was younger, I actually wanted to be a marine biologist, but I ended up doing the engineering pathway at my high school and I really loved the hands-on work.
We did a lot of AutoCAD design, we soldered wires for circuits, and I really enjoyed that. So, when I was looking at colleges, I had marine biology in the back of my mind, but I knew that I kind of wanted to take it further with something related to engineering. And that’s where I found ocean engineering.
It’s a combination of all the engineering disciplines: mechanical, electrical, civil, and I think that’s what I love about it. It’s that combination, and it’s also the challenge of engineering, with nature in the environment.
■ When you were searching for colleges, what stood out the most to you about Florida Tech?
Definitely the location. I mean, right by the coast, there’s plenty of room to do research right on the beach and the Indian River Lagoon. And when I came to visit the campus, I really liked the atmosphere.
All the people I met were really welcoming and I think a big draw was also the class sizes. The fact that you can build relationships with your professor quite easily because of the smaller class sizes was something I knew I wanted in a college.
■ How do you plan to use your degree after graduation?
I plan to enter the field of coastal engineering and design coastal structures to optimize the use in nature providing habitat for marine life and also for use in the environment.
■ What are some of the exciting projects that you’ve been able to work on in classes here?
I had the opportunity to work with Manson Construction in Galveston, Texas this summer. We were working on a beach renourishment project there at Babe’s Beach.
So, I was working with the hopper dredge and an engineering team. I got to learn a lot of hydrographic surveying, which is surveying the shipping channel and a lot of that work is important for the new Panama Canal vessels that are coming out and all the ports are going to need to be deepened. So, it’s a really growing industry.
The dredging field is also awesome to see that we can take that material out of the channel, and we can use it for shoreline protection on the beaches of Texas. It’s a really cool opportunity.
I got to work with a lot of great people and obviously learned a whole ton about dredging.
■ You’ve mentioned the work in Galveston this past summer and you mentioned earlier that the location of Florida Tech appealed to you with the Atlantic nearby and obviously the Indian River Lagoon. What work have you been able to get to do here?
I took a class, ocean biology for engineers, last year. And through that class, I was able to do my own research project. So, working with a couple undergraduate students, we tested different geotextile materials against concrete.
And basically, we looked at how biofouling affected those materials. When you put anything in the water, there’s going to be a layer of slime that’s going to accumulate as soon as you stick it in there. But if you leave it in over time, you’re going to see different organisms such as sponges, muscles, barnacles, and eventually oysters.
We looked at how the biofouling human and all these different materials were, how diverse those organisms were, how thick the accumulation was, and it was really awesome.
We got to go out every week out to the Anchorage site that Florida Tech has and we got to test the different materials. We were actually chosen to present at the Florida Academy of Sciences conference last semester, which is really awesome.
We got to showcase our work in a professional environment and wouldn’t have been possible without the awesome professors here at Florida Tech.
■ Once you get into your team’s season, you obviously have road trips, practices, game days, and all of that. How do you manage all of that along with your classes to make sure you don’t fall behind?
I’d say getting into a good routine that fits your schedule, fits your lifestyle is really important because obviously as a student-athlete, you’re really busy with class and sports.
You also want to take extra time to hang out with friends and do things like reading or going on walks, anything that really interests you. Just make sure you make time for that and your schedule, have balance.
I think it’s also important to use your resources. Obviously, if you’re struggling in any classes if you get behind because you’re maybe missing games or something. Just make sure you’re using professors wisely and are together with your classmates as well.
■ How has being a collegiate athlete prepared you for what you’re doing now and what do you take from lacrosse that you apply to your studies?
I definitely think that from playing sports at such a young age, you definitely learn that the hard way that if you put in the hard work and effort, the results will come.
Obviously, I wasn’t this skilled when I was eight years old starting to play lacrosse. So, I think just learning the day in and day out, you know, little things matter, put in the effort and the results will come and you’ll achieve your goals.
And that applies in the classroom. Just like I said earlier, finding that routine, studying couple of hours a day, and just doing your best and everything you can, will definitely pay off.
■ What advice would you give to an athlete that’s looking to come here that might get into the world of ocean engineering?
I would definitely say ask questions and be engaging and get involved. Because I think when I entered this field, it’s such a novel field, you obviously have your professors but there’s so much more to it than that.
Just find what you’re interested in, ask questions, and definitely get involved with the clubs too. My sophomore year, I had the chance to go to a conference in Washington because I was involved in Ocean Engineering Club here and just this past month, I was able to go to Rhode Island for that same conference and you get to network with professionals.
You meet students from all around the U.S. that are interested in ocean engineering as well and it’s really cool and if I wasn’t actively trying to get involved in the clubs and my major, that wouldn’t have happened.
■ You were Second Team All-SSC this past season, what goals do you have for yourself and the team in 2022?
I think this season one of my big goals would probably be to make First Team All-SSC. For the team, we had a really good fall season, so I’m really excited for the spring as well.
I think something that I’d like for us to do this semester is to just have fun. You know, we’re all out there, we’re super competitive but at the end of the day, sports are fun. Sports are a way to de-stress and I think for this team this year, just have fun together!
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