Written by Student Assistant Dylan Foreman
TACOMA, Wash. – Pacific Lutheran University women's golf student-athletes Anna Jessen and Desirae Haselwood have had a lot on their plate recently. Two weeks ago, both Jessen and Haselwood had the opportunity to present their capstone research at the National Center for Undergraduate Research (NCUR) in Memphis, Tennessee. The trip to Memphis was sandwiched around two weekend golf tournaments for the two seniors.
Both Jessen and Haselwood submitted their abstracts last December and out of 4,000 applicants, were both picked to display their research. Jessen's capstone focused on the viability of mass public transportation in the Puget Sound region which was influenced by her experiences riding the bus to Seattle for internship last summer.
Haselwood's focused on golf and the attributes or skills that are most important for a PGA golfer's ranking.
"We were surrounded by so many smart and successful students who had done some brilliant research and it was really fun," Haselwood said. "It was special because I really enjoyed my capstone project and was excited about the work I put into it so being able to present it at a national conference was really rewarding."
"There were students from all across the country and they were presenting in any discipline you could think of," Jessen said. "I was very fortunate to be able to go with three other fellow economics majors."
The weekend prior to the research conference, both Jessen and Haselwood were hitting their stride on the golf course. Jessen shot a 158 (77-81) to finish third while Haselwood was two strokes back in sixth place (77-83), helping the Lutes to a third place showing at the Whitman Invitational in Walla Walla, Washington.
However unforseen circumstances kept the two Lutes sidelined the following weekend for the Northwest Conference Spring Classic after getting stranded halfway across the country.
As a result from a delayed flight due to weather, Jessen and Haselwood didn't make it back in time for their tee time for day one of the Spring Classic. They watched their teammates from the sidelines as the Lutes placed fifth. Despite their absence, there was no disappointment from their coach, Sara Griffin, or their teammates.
"They understand the hectic life of a college golfer and a graduating senior," Griffin said. "I applaud them for all they do and I'm grateful that they are representing PLU."
Not too often do athletes miss competition due to extracurriculars, it usually is the other way around. However, Haselwood and Jessen as well as their teammates and coach understand that being accepted into this conference was an opportunity that they couldn't pass up.
That support was evident by the work Griffin did attempting to get them back in time, calling the airlines trying to work with them to get her players back home in time for the tournament. Although it didn't work out, Haselwood and Jessen enjoyed supporting their teammates from the sidelines during the Sunday final round at the NWC Spring Classic.
"I've really just tried to take things one day at a time because there is so much going on -- golf, school, looking for jobs for post-graduation," Haselwood said.
"The beauty of Division III is the chance to be able to focus on school and athletics at the same time," Jessen added.
Jessen and Haselwood and the rest of the Lutes are back in action this weekend, hosting the 2017 Northwest Conference Championships at the Tacoma Country and Golf Club.