Carly Marshall and Anji Li’s acceleration through their science studies
was rivaled only by their freestyle relay times as members of the Purdue
women’s swimming and diving team.
Both competitive swimmers since they were small children, science
found them a little later on. However, Li and Marshall maintained passions
for both academics and athletics throughout their Purdue careers. Each
side of their lives helped the other.
“I think getting into swimming early helped build habits of time
management before I even needed them in college,” says Marshall, a
biological sciences major with emphasis in neurobiology and physiology.
“It demands a more structured schedule, really. I have to plan ahead a
little more and maybe be a little more conservative with my social things
of the week, but I get everything I want done. Maybe I lose some sleep
here or there, but I think everyone in college is in the same boat.”
On Feb. 28, Marshall and Li wrapped up four years each as Purdue
swimmers during a meet against Notre Dame, Northwestern and Illinois.
They swam well during their four-woman relay event as the memories of
years of training, sacrifice and competition came flooding back. And these
days, when they aren’t in the West Lafayette rental house they share with
two other roommates, the newly retired competitive swimmers still find
themselves at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center to encourage teammates
training for national competitions.
“The friendships are irreplaceable — priceless even,” says Marshall
of her teammates, coaches and team
staff members. “I think I had a great
advantage with my academics just
having those people encouraging me
and keeping me on track.”
At Carmel High School in suburban
Indianapolis, Marshall had dreams
of swimming in the NCAA. At the
same time, her other dreams — the
ones she had while sleeping — helped
guide her toward neuroscience.
“Since middle school, I’ve always
had vivid dreams, and I was inter-
ested in finding out why and how,”
Marshall recalls. “Then encounters
with neurodegenerative disease —
like a friend of mine’s father having
ALS — motivated me to take on the medical side of neuroscience.”
“The prevalence of that potassium channel was said to be cor-
related to the sensitivity of those neurons,” Marshall says. “The more
the potassium channel was present, the less sensitive those neurons
were. That was our theory.”
I THINK GETTING INTO
HELPED BUILD HABITS
OF TIME MANAGEMENT
BEFORE I EVEN NEEDED
THEM IN COLLEGE.
— CARLY MARSHALL
(Photos by Charles Jischke)