WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Hillary Chisholm, a Whitman College senior who plans a career in medicine, has been named to ESPN The Magazine's Academic All-America Second Team for women's soccer.
Chisholm is one of only three Northwest Conference (NWC) players to receive Academic All-America honors this fall in women’s soccer. She was honored in the College Division, which represents schools in Divisions II and III of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), as well as all schools affiliated with the National Association Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).
Chisholm, who overcame Crohn's disease and severe anemia in her first year at Whitman, was a starting defender in each of the past three seasons. She earned All-NWC honorable mention recognition as a senior, when she also contributed a game-winning goal and a game-winning assist to the offense.
Chisholm came to Whitman as a midfielder but made the transition to defense at the start of her sophomore season. "Her talent and poise with the ball allowed us to use stronger defensive tactics," Whitman coach Scott Shields says. "She was able to both defend and get forward on the attack."
In three seasons as a defensive starter, the 5-foot-8 Chisholm helped Whitman shut out 15 opponents. "Hillary’s height and speed combined with her vision of the field made her a tremendous defender," Shields adds. "She has great athleticism and a fantastic sense for the game of soccer. Her ability to read plays before they developed is something you can't coach. She always seemed to be one step ahead of the play, which allowed her to shut down attacking players with ease."
Earlier this fall, Chisholm was named to the College Division Academic All-District First Team for a second consecutive season. Whitman is part of a district that includes nine western states and British Columbia.
Chisholm, a graduate of Lake City High School in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, is the third member of her family to play soccer at Whitman.
Tyler Chisholm, her older brother, graduated in the spring of 2004, after earning All-Conference and Academic All-District honors. He majored in biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology at Whitman and is now a first-year medical school student at the University of Washington.
It isn't surprising that the Chisholms have an interest in medicine. Donald, their father, is a family medicine physician in Coeur d'Alene. Robin, their mother, is the daughter of a physician who was a research chemist and biology teacher before her children were born.
It was her father’s insistence that prompted Chisholm to undergo testing for exhaustion early in her first year at Whitman. "My first season started okay, but I soon felt myself getting really tired all the time," she recalls. "Just running across the field and warming up for soccer was exhausting."
Medical tests pinpointed severe anemia and Crohn's disease, a chronic inflammation of the small intestine, as the primary problems. "Once I knew what was wrong, I was able to start taking medication and watching my diet to help the inflammation subside," she says. "It took awhile to the inflammation to die down and to get to the point where I was no longer anemic. I basically spent the rest of the season recovering."
She sat on the sidelines during some practices, but "I mostly just struggled to keep playing through my tired state. It was a really frustrating experience, but it made me even more determined to come back and play well the next year." Her medical woes also further strengthened her career interest in medicine. "The experience definitely showed me what a positive influence medicine can have," she says.
While already inclined toward medicine, Chisholm came to Whitman "with an open mind looking to see what other interests I had. I took as many different courses as possible my first two years while still squeezing in all the pre-med basics," she says. One of those early classes was art history, which sparked an interest that eventually led to her major.
Her long-range plan never wavered from medicine, but "I thought it would be nice to major in a non-science and cultivate a new interest." As part of her major, she spent the spring of her junior year studying art history in Florence, Italy.
Chisholm used summer internships to further explore her interest in medicine. Two summers ago, she worked as an intern in the Emergency Department of the Kootenai Medical Center in Coeur d’Alene. That internship "showed me how much I like interacting with patients," she says. "I took personal satisfaction in doing whatever I could to make their difficult experiences better."
Last summer, while living in Seattle and studying for medical school exams, Chisholm did a job shadow with Scott McIntyre, a Seattle physician, that made the "profession seem even more appealing," she says. "I got to see the rapport established between patients and physician, and I was stimulated by the variety of cases that came in."
Chisholm, whose volunteer activities on campus have included the Whitman Mentoring Program and Whitman Storytime Project, has yet to finalize her plans for next summer. In addition to applying to medical schools, she is looking at the possibility of overseas travel while serving as a volunteer. One such program would take her to Guatamala to live with a host family, take Spanish language classes and volunteer.
The College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) administers the Academic All-District/All-America program's nomination and voting process. ESPN The Magazine serves as the program sponsor.
CONTACT: Dave Holden, Whitman Sports Information
509 527-5902; firstname.lastname@example.org