Student, Athlete, Spartan: Nicole Cardwell Strives to Help Others

Student, Athlete, Spartan: Nicole Cardwell Strives to Help Others

by Kevin Hulsmann, CWRU Sports Information

Case Western Reserve University junior Nicole Cardwell has played a major role for the CWRU women's tennis team over her three years as a Spartan. Throughout her career, Cardwell has totaled a 28-22 mark in singles play and a 42-21 overall record in doubles action. This past fall, she was a member of the doubles pairing that advanced all the way to the semifinals of the main doubles draw at the 2019 ITA Division III Central Regional Championships.

In addition, Cardwell has received several other athletic honors over her career. During her sophomore year, she was named to the All-University Athletic Association Second Team for her play at first doubles with teammate Madeleine Paolucci. In Cardwell's first-year as a Spartan, she was named All-UAA Honorable Mention for her play at second doubles along with former Spartan Peyton Young.

Off the tennis court, Cardwell, a Biology major on the Pre-Med track, served as the Philanthropy chair for her sorority, Phi Mu.

"I joined Phi Mu because I thought it would be a great way to meet people outside of my major and outside of tennis," said Cardwell. "Phi Mu is full of empowering women who are passionate and involved in many organizations on campus. My college experience wouldn't be the same without the people I have met through Phi Mu."

In addition to her involvement with Phi Mu, Cardwell also planned a community outreach day this past fall for the women's tennis team with Advantage Cleveland. AdvantageCLE is an after school program designed to offer both tennis and learning opportunities to kids in urban areas.

"Our team showed up in Halloween costumes and surprised the kids at an elementary school in October," said Cardwell. "The kids were really inspired by seeing collegiate level tennis players, our goal was to encourage them to keep working hard and having fun at whatever they do. Tennis has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, it has given me lifelong friendships and taught me what it means to work hard and commit to something. I think it is really important that all kids are given opportunities to discover their own passions regardless of their settings, the team service day was a really fun way for us to contribute to that."

This past summer, Cardwell worked as a research student in a lab at the Cleveland Clinic. She has continued to work part-time at the Cleveland Clinic throughout the school year. Cardwell's work involves analyzing medical images and gathering data for macular degeneration clinical trials as well as helping train artificial intelligence systems to read medical images.

"My experience at the Cleveland Clinic has taught me a lot that will prepare me for my future in medicine," said Cardwell. "I have learned a lot about medical imaging, artificial intelligence, and have had the opportunity to shadow in an OR. Being involved in ophthalmology research has shown me that while medicine has become very advanced, there are still a lot of unknowns. I have also gained insight to where medicine could be heading with the development of AI."

"I am applying to medical school this summer and hope to have a career in medicine," said Cardwell. "I think it would be such a privilege to have a job where I get to help people every day. Whether it is saving lives or helping people with minor health concerns, there is nothing I would rather commit my life to. I have loved my time at CWRU, so completing the many more years of schooling necessary to become a physician doesn't scare me!"

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