Mike Schiappa was a four-year starting defenseman for the Bison men’s lacrosse team. He was a two-time Academic All-Patriot League selection, earning a stellar 3.77 cumulative GPA in biomedical engineering.
Women’s soccer student-athlete Cora Climo caught up with Mike this spring to talk about future plans and what it takes to be a successful student-athlete.
CC: How did you choose biomedical engineering?
MS: So my dad is a dentist and my mom is a physician. I’ve always been pretty interested in the sciences, medicine specifically. But I was also drawn to math in high school. I thought that biomedical engineering was a really good combination of all of those interests. And so when I realized that Bucknell had a great engineering department and a smaller biomedical engineering department, I was really excited to have that opportunity to develop a really good relationship with my professors and really develop my engineering skills, as well as my knowledge of the medical field.
CC: So how do you balance this tough academic schedule and lacrosse?
MS: Well, when we are in season, it’s just lacrosse and school for me. Whenever I’m not practicing or lifting or anything like that, whenever I get a free minute or two I’ll always try to get my schoolwork done in that time. Really working ahead is the way to get things done. I definitely can work under pressure, but I prefer not to. So that’s a big aspect of how I plan to get a lot of my school work done and still have time to focus on lacrosse.
CC: Now, what exactly brought you to Bucknell?
MS: Well definitely the biomedical engineering program was something that really was attractive to me. But then also, just after meeting everyone on the team after my visit here I was really impressed with the culture of the school. Just the vibe I got being on campus was something that just really appealed to me. Just ultimately I think it’s been a really great decision. It’s been everything that I’ve hoped for. So everything really panned out the way I thought it would after visiting here the first time.
CC: When did you start playing lacrosse and what really drew you to the sport?
MS: Actually, lacrosse wasn’t very popular when I was a kid. I think in like the 4th or 5th grade maybe, one of my classmates’ parents started a youth team. And a bunch of my friends went out for the team and I didn’t know what lacrosse was in 4th grade so I decided not to do it, play baseball instead. Then in 5th grade a few of my friends who had played back in 4th grade, told me that it was a really good time and a lot of fun, a new sport to play. So I thought I would try it out and I instantly loved it. I wasn’t really good in the beginning, but, I definitely loved the physicality aspect of it, as well as just the speed and IQ that’s required to play the game.
CC: So this year’s team was off to a little bit of a slow start, but then had some great wins. What was the key to the turnaround?
MS: Well we started off the season with one mentality. And then once we got to our spring break actually, we really started to modify that mentality and actually transform it into a mentality of having a new team and a new season. So that’s really when the turning point happened for us. When we played Boston University, going into that whole week of preparation we were thinking new team, nothing to lose, just go in there and play with house money in a sense. And that’s really been working for us. We started flying around a lot more, playing a lot more free, really being able to make a lot of plays that we might not have been able to make in the beginning of the season.
CC: So do you have any future plans lined up for after graduation?
MS: So I’m actually going to dental school at Columbia University after I graduate, and I’m really excited about that. I think biomedical engineering at Bucknell really helped me to prepare well for the rigors of dental school, but I also think that playing lacrosse has been instrumental in time management and just being able to be prepared in any situation. Obviously dental school is going to be tough, but I think with the time constraints of a tough major and a tough athletic commitment, it should be something that I’m definitely prepared for and excited for as well.
CC: Do you have a favorite memory from your lacrosse experience here over the past four years?
MS: Oh this is a hard one. Obviously beating Loyola Maryland this season was awesome., because they were a very formidable opponent and they had played a lot of great competition this season. But when we beat Loyola at home my sophomore year, that was actually probably one of the biggest wins that we’ve had in a season. And that’s just because I think they had won the National Championship two seasons earlier. So this was a really good team, with some actual national champions on the team still. And getting that win at home in front of a bunch of alumni who came back to watch the game was something that was really special.