by Andrew Garda

At the beginning of the volleyball season, senior captain Dean Schansinger tasked himself with job of keeping his teammates focused and on task.

With 17 seniors on the roster, that’s been easier said than done.

“It’s been a little difficult to keep everyone focused on the sport,” he said after a recent game. “Especially since it’s starting to get nice outside, people have other things they want to do. So one of the main jobs I task myself to do is try to keep everyone interested, by keeping it lighthearted and fun.”

That was easier when they were consistently winning, but Schansinger said that as the season has progressed and the team has gone through lulls in their wins, it’s been more challenging.

For Schansinger, it also meant trying to keep the team’s spirits up, even when he’s not on the court.

“If a teammate has their head down, that’s on you as someone who isn’t playing to give them a pat on the back, help them shake it off and move to the next point. Because volleyball is a one point game. Out of twenty five, one point isn’t that much but one point can make the whole difference.”

Schansinger was kind enough to take a few minutes to talk about all that and more so we could get to know him better in this week’s Athlete Spotlight.


What was your goal for your sports experience as a senior?

So what I put on myself most was the motivational side and the team togetherness side. Because, especially at the high school level, it’s not the most important thing in the world. There’s so much to come next, so I think it was crucial to keep everyone seeing it as a learning experience. That’s been my goal as a leader. “Ok we lost this game, what can we do to fix this for the next game? How can we get our energy up, how can we fix this so we can be better next time?”

Have you made any college decisions?

I will be going to Rutgers in the fall. I want to major in neuroscience, or neurobiology, and then eventually in the future, be an adolescent psychiatrist, All that school, premed. But I’m 18, I could obviously change. I might want to be the next Ryan Seacrest, or his occupation at least.

What do you do for fun?

It’s hard to balance time for fun in high school. I’m the president of a few clubs, captain for two sports, and someone is always asking me to do something. On weekends, especially when it’s nice outside, I love being outside, going on nature walks. Going on bike rides. I still bowl in my free time. I read science papers. I stay in touch with psychology and what’s going on in that field. I like to learn.

How did you get so focused and passionate about this?

I’ve always been driven towards the field of mental health, to help people. There’s only, I think, 800,000 psychiatrists in the nation, and it’s not enough for the amount of people — and kids especially — who have mental health issues. Doing some work now, I can make sure I enjoy it, and not go to Med school for four years and then realize I don’t want to do this. And really, I’m interested in it.