Top of Her Game
Kwang takes the challenge of being a student athlete head on.
When you get to the top of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, you have to work even harder to stay there. But for GLIAC Women’s Tennis Player of the Year Kwang Suthijindawong, staying at number one is a challenge she eagerly embraces. Kwang has been undefeated in the GLIAC for three consecutive years with a career record of 36-0. But her success story doesn’t stop there. In the classroom, Kwang has something else to be proud of: a 3.57 grade point average while double-majoring in Management Information Systems and Operation and System Management.
So what does it take to earn this kind of success? “It’s about understanding your responsibility,” Kwang says. “I apply the same drive that I use on the tennis court to academics and in my personal life.”
Kwang, originally from Bangkok, went to Duluth as an exchange student during her senior year of high school. Her sister, Ploy, played tennis for Michigan Tech. It was through this connection that Kwang made contact with Kevin Kalinec, head coach of men’s and women’s tennis. This led to a tennis scholarship, and she enrolled at Tech the following year.
“Ever since I was young, I was really interested in technology, computers, and business, but I didn’t want to do coding and programming,” she says. “The combination of Management Information Systems and Operation and System Management allows me to combine computers and business, and that is very exciting to me.”
Student athletes like Kwang face grueling athletic schedules that include practice, travel, and a full academic workload. But Kwang says there are many ways the University provides support to student athletes in order to help them achieve success. “Michigan Tech fully supports student athletes. I used private tutoring in many of my classes, and my professors provided private lessons,” she says. “Traveling to tournaments kept me out of the classroom for weeks at a time, but with the support of my professors and the athletics office, I was fully able to get caught up and understand the lesson material.”
In addition, a selection of class schedules lets Kwang adjust her class times to accommodate practices and matches. “I avoid Friday classes during my season because of away meets,” she said. “I usually take classes that occur Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday. It’s nice to have the flexibility.”
Kwang feels her work on and off the court has prepared her for what comes next. “My goal is to work for a company where I can use my experience to improve our society,” she says. “Ideally, I would like to work in the United States and gain experience before I return to Thailand. And, of course, I’ll play tennis as a recreational activity.”
When asked what advice she would have for other students interested in pursuing both athletics and academics, Kwang’s advice was simple: practice hard, but study even harder!
“This experience has taught me how to manage my time efficiently, stay healthy and fit, as well as providing me with the knowledge to be successful in my future job. I’m proud to represent Michigan Tech!”
Michigan Technological University is a public research university founded in 1885 in Houghton, Michigan, and is home to more than 7,000 students from 55 countries around the world. Consistently ranked among the best universities in the country for return on investment, Michigan’s flagship technological university offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, computing, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, social sciences, and the arts. The rural campus is situated just miles from Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, offering year-round opportunities for outdoor adventure.