WATCH: Florida Tech’s Scholar-Athlete Spotlight Recognizes Rower Simona Vileniskyte

helped Florida Tech to a bronze medal finish at the NCAA National Championship

WATCH: Florida Tech’s Scholar-Athlete Spotlight features rower Simona Vileniskytewe, a junior who is majoring in aerospace 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 rower Simona Vileniskyte, a junior who is majoring in aerospace engineering.

Having made the trek to Melbourne from Vilnius, Lithuania, Simona helped the Panthers earn a fourth straight Sunshine State Conference championship and Boat of The Year honors while serving as Two-Seat in the Varsity Eight.

In addition, she also helped Tech to a bronze medal finish at the NCAA National Championship regatta. Vileniskyte has been named to the Florida Tech Athletic Director’s and SSC Commissioner’s Honor Roll in each of her first two years at the school.

The world of aerospace is always expanding and fascinating, so we sat down with Simona to ask her what drew her to and how she’s able to manage the rigors of her studies with the demands that being a part of a successful team brings.

■ What is your major at Florida Tech? Why did you choose this direction for your education and is this something you always wanted to pursue?
My major is aerospace engineering, and actually, I came to Florida Tech studying biomedical sciences. However, I switched to aerospace because I couldn’t handle that much chemistry, and I thought aerospace is cool!

■ What made you choose Florida Tech?
Florida Tech is very well known for its aerospace engineering program. The professors are amazing, they help you. I was always more of an engineering person and thought it was really cool. So, I’m so glad I did switch.

■ How do you plan to use your degree after graduation?
I was thinking about doing a master’s in either systems engineering or quality engineering and hopefully getting an internship.

■ What’s an average day of study/classes like for you?
Usually, in the mornings, I get up at 5 a.m. to go practice. After practice, I usually have classes.

I’m taking 19 credits this semester, so it’s busy. I usually have classes from 9 A.M. to 6 P.M. with another practice in between and then later, I either go to work or study. I’m also doing research and volunteer with the senior design project. So, my days are minute by minute.

■ What are some exciting projects you are able to work on?
So, in a few of my classes, I had to do a few projects. I’m not going to go too much in-depth about them, but I’m currently doing research with labs with the SLAM, path planning, and navigation.

I’m volunteering for AISS, the senior design project, which is also super cool.

■ How has being a collegiate athlete prepared you for the work you are currently doing? What traits do you take from the field that help you be successful?
It gives me some discipline skills and how to handle things from the mental side and the physical side as well. Giving that mentality that you must push through everything, and you can achieve whatever you want if you want to.

What advice would you give to someone who’s coming here to Florida Tech as an athlete and also wants to get into aerospace engineering? Everything’s possible if you work for it!

I’m super excited about our race in two weeks, the Head of the Charles Regatta, which is in Boston, Massachusetts. This is one of the biggest rallies in the world so I’m super glad that I have an opportunity to go there and participate. (Florida Tech image)

■ What have you enjoyed the most about being a part of this team and what are you looking forward to most this season?
I’m super excited about our race in two weeks, the Head of the Charles Regatta, which is in Boston, Massachusetts. This is one of the biggest rallies in the world so I’m super glad that I have an opportunity to go there and participate.

Our goal for this year, since our season isn’t until spring is that we just want to go to Nationals. We want to win our conference five years in a row. So, I hope to repeat that and go to Nationals!

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