|Karen Stromme (l) with senior Katrina Newman|
Along the way, educators and coaches helped Katrina Newman develop her talents, encouraging her to be her best. Now, Newman, a senior majoring in teaching mathematics, is poised to begin mentoring others as an educator and a coach.
The Barnum native started playing basketball in first grade. “I spent a lot of my childhood in a gym,” she said. As a kid, she also spent a lot of time at UMD. “I came up here to watch games, attend basketball campus. I always liked it.”
When it came time to choose a college, UMD had just gone through a coaching change in women’s basketball. “I met Coach Wiles. After talking with her, I thought, ‘This is it',” she recalled. Newman, a forward with a storied Bulldog career, is now the captain of the women’s basketball team. Her sister, Jessica, is also a member of the team.
Newman came to UMD interested in majoring in either athletic training or teaching. A love of math swayed her towards teaching. Ideally she’d like to teach math to middle school kids. “I really like that age. You can have more fun with them,” she said. She’d also like to coach young people in basketball.
Being a student athlete has taught her the meaning of balance. “The main thing is not to procrastinate. Do it well and right the first time. I plan out my time to the last half hour,” she said. “It makes me very organized, being prepared for lessons. If I’m not going to be in class when something is due, because I have a game, I have to get it in early.”
She also credits some of her academic success to being part of a team. “When I started out, I always had girls I could go to – girls who had taken the class I’m taking." Now she is the mentor helping younger teammates from day one. “To be successful, they need to stay on top of things, be organized. Enjoy college and become part of a group or student organization,” she said.
Newman was awarded the Karen Stromme Basketball Scholarship. Stromme served as the head women’s basketball coach for 21 years before stepping down in May 2005 to become assistant athletic director and senior woman’s administrator. When Stromme retired from coaching, alumni and other donors established the scholarship to celebrate her career and to support women's basketball.
“It’s an honor to be recognized and connected with Karen’s achievements.” Newman admires Stromme’s commitment to young women in the UMD athletic program. “She wants to know about your family, your classes. She’s very involved in the community, and she organizes opportunities for teams to be involved. She is just a great person over all,” Newman said.
Stromme is delighted that Newman received the scholarship. “Her talent and her work ethic are remarkable. She possesses a passion and a desire to win, and she’s a wonderful leader. Katrina is one of the finest athletes UMD has ever had,” Stromme said.
After graduating in May 2014, Newman looks forward to sharing her love for mathematics and basketball with middle school students. Those who can, help others reach their full potential.
Written by Kathleen McQuillan-Hofmann, Dec. 2013