Written by Dave Dulberg, USC blog contributor
The label "student-athlete" doesn't even begin to describe Cara Bickers' four-year college experience.
Along with fellow track member Zara Lukens, Bickers was named a Renaissance Scholar last month and awarded $10,000 for her academic pursuits in the field of biological science (major) and classical literature (minor).
From track practice on Cromwell Field to researching the cell cycle in fission yeast inside Ray Irani Hall to performing for the USC Chamber Ballet Company, the daughter of USC professor and vice provost Gene Bickers has made the most of her time at Troy, even if it meant losing some sleep along the way.
"I like to be busy," Bickers said. "When I am busier I actually am more effective in whatever I am working on. So I like days when I get up, go to class, go to track, go to work and go to ballet. I guess you could say I like structure."
While devoting herself to a variety of activities has allowed Bickers to form bonds with a unique, cross-section of people, it hasn't stretched her too thin when it comes to being successful.
In the classroom, the senior maintained a 3.901 GPA, was endorsed by the university as a candidate for the Rhodes Scholarship and received the 2011 USC Biology Department's Scynergy Award for her lab research.
On the field, Bickers went from being a walk-on her freshman year to a very important asset for the nationally ranked women's track and field team, competing in both the long jump and triple jump. As a sophomore, she recorded a personal best 37-8 in the triple jump.
Even on stage the senior thrived, participating in five ballet performances this past spring as both a soloist and choreographer.
"I like it because it exposes to a very diverse group of people," said Bickers on her jam-packed schedule. "It brings out different sides of me at times of the week. I never felt kiddy-cornered into one type of personality."
The Los Angeles native may be done competitively dancing and running track after graduation, but Bickers remains committed to staying active as she enters the next chapter of her life.
The 22-year-old will be headed to UCSD this fall to begin post-graduate research in the biological sciences.