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Department ofEnglish


Triple-Threat Senatro Sports Success

Double-major balances athletics, tutoring, research

Double-major balances athletics, tutoring, research

Photo of Leah Senatro next to her poster
By Julia Joyce ’19

Leah Senatro ’19 (English and Philosophy) has begun almost every morning the same way for the past three years — with the sound of her 5:30 a.m. alarm waking her for morning practices with Santa Clara University's Division I rowing team.

Those early mornings on the water are just the start of a busy day for this senior from Scottsdale, Arizona. Coursework for two majors, working at SCU's HUB Writing Center, additional work in the weight room, and engaging in research as a Canterbury Scholar also fill Senatro's schedule.

And then there is the rowing. Senatro and her teammates spend nine months of the year training for her team’s spring regattas, making it one of the few sports with nearly year-round training for a single six or seven minute-long race.

“It’s crazy to think about the amount of hours, amount of meters we put behind those few minutes,” says Senatro.

Senatro’s busy schedule has required self discipline and planning. Even showers and ten minutes of meditation each day need to be scheduled. Her schedule also requires Senatro to understand her own work habits. She attempts to do all of her writing in the morning, "when my head is clear."

Without understanding and flexible coaches, supportive professors, and considerate mentors at SCU, Senatro says it would not be possible to pursue all of her passions at once. Unbeknownst to her, when she chose SCU three years ago, she was choosing a school that would allow her to excel as an athlete, a student and a scholar.

Senatro is particularly proud of her one-on-one work with students at the HUB. While concern for a student's final product is always something she considers, Senatro especially values the process-based nature of tutoring. Her main focus is on the positive shift of attitudes she sees in her students and their outlook on their own writing.

Her love of education and writing that began in the HUB contributed to the faculty in the Department of English selecting Senatro this past spring to serve as one of the department's three 2018-19 Canterbury Scholars. Focusing on digital composition and multimedia in classroom writing, Senatro worked closely with Professor Amy Lueck (English) to develop assignments and samples that can then be implemented in classes such as Lueck’s Writing Studies course. At Lueck’s suggestion, Senatro recently presented her research at the Association of Rhetoric and Writing Seminar in Austin, Texas.

All that hard work, coupled with great teammates and supportive faculty, has helped Senatro get the most from her SCU experience — an experience that begins quietly each day on the water, rowing.

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