June 2017 Articles

Team Players

Separated by three decades, 
two Owls reflect on life on the hockey field.

By Joanna Corman ’95

Lydia Fisher ’20

When I was looking at colleges, I decided I wasn’t going to play a sport. Athletics had always been 
a big part of my school years. But playing on a competitive team came at a cost of time and 
energy, and I forgot to enjoy it.

At Bryn Mawr, I talked to the coach and the teammates, and their experience with field hockey, and they described the camaraderie, the desire to get better for its own sake. It was competitiveness without being cutthroat. I felt like the Bryn Mawr field hockey family was a place I could belong to. They were so in love with the sport and that inspired me to try it again.

I am a third-generation Mawrter. Both my mother and my grandmother played field hockey here. My mom played field hockey under coach Jen Shillingford. My grandmother played under Constance Applebee, who introduced women’s field hockey to the U.S. in the early 1900s.

Going to Bryn Mawr was the defining aspect of my grandmother’s early years. She’s accomplished a lot, and she attributes most of that to Bryn Mawr. She’s an incredible woman. My grandmother, at 85, rock climbs. She travels the world. She is involved in conserving open space.

She and my mother came to Lantern Night with their lanterns. They were incredibly happy that I came here. Our experience at Bryn Mawr has been different for all of us, but one of the unifying threads is how much field hockey and the team means to us.

Jana Ernakovich ’91

I started playing field hockey in junior high. I also swam and ran, but at Bryn Mawr, I thought playing a team sport would be a great way to meet people, and field hockey was always my favorite. I was a forward for three years on the varsity team, and when I was a senior I played center half.

There’s a lot about the game that translates off the field. I’m an investment banker now, and I’ve been working in a team environment for over 20 years. 
That desire to win carries over, but by playing a 
competitive sport you also learn how to overcome defeat. If someone scores a goal against you, get over 
it and score one back.

Jen Shillingford was our coach. She always used to say, “Poise, ladies, poise.” What she meant was don’t let some adversity get the best of you. She wanted us to pick ourselves up and get it together. That has really stuck with me. That’s something you certainly need in this job. It’s a competitive environment so you have to be prepared for a lot of unexpected things. You are constantly fighting to win business and reacting to market ups and downs and need that overriding desire to win.

Going to an all-women’s college has had a big influence on me being successful in what’s still a male-dominated field. I see a lot of women in the profession who are also Seven Sisters grads.

Going to Bryn Mawr gave me a lot of confidence. I just feel grateful to have had the opportunity. I’m really lucky.