Annie Ross, Tufts University

Annie Ross, a 2007 Tufts graduate, pulled double duty all four years as a member of both the varsity softball team (center field) and soccer team (goalie). She also did double duty academically, as a political science and sociology major. It was an intense workload, but Ross wouldn't have had it any other way.

"I never wanted to look back and say, 'I wish I did this, I wish I did that,'" she says. "Tufts gives you so many opportunities that you just don't get [at] other places."

Ross grew up playing soccer and pee-wee baseball, before shifting to softball in middle school. While she came to Tufts for softball, she was urged to try out as a goalie for the soccer team as well.

Ross has found success in both sports, heading to the NCAA championships last year with both teams. As captain of each, she considers part of her charge to be fostering team camaraderie, which she calls the "x-factor" for success.

"Sports is about winning, but it's also about growing as a person and enjoying each other's company," she says. "I think we would still have fun even if we weren't as successful, but I think one of the reasons why we are so successful is because of how well we get along off the field."

Just as she grew up immersed in sports, she was also surrounded by politics, which was always a topic of discussion at home. Ross has interned for U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.)—her hometown representative—in Washington, D.C., and plans to attend law school there in a few years.

Her main interest is housing policy, an area where she has gained experience through her work as a Tisch College Scholar. Ross worked with the Somerville Community Corporation on fundraisers to prevent homelessness. She said that her activity as a Tisch Scholar helps balance out her athletic and academic commitments.

Ross also found time to work as general manager of Tufts' student radio station, WMFO, and publicity officer for the Tufts American Sign Language Club. But the discipline of the athletic regimen helps her keep everything prioritized.

"I would definitely not be the person I am today without sports," she says. "Being an athlete has translated to me being able to do a lot of different things and be more organized."