Ilia Shadrin, Men's Tennis, Class of 2009

What is your major?
Biology

What is it about your field of study that intrigues you?
The complexity and interplay of signaling pathways that guide both molecular and cellular interactions

People will be surprised to know . . .
I will be graduating from Caltech as a teenager.

Describe your sport in 3 words?
Explosive. Strategic. Invigorating.

What goes through your head as you are "at match point"?
I usually think to myself, "I have fought hard to get here, and I am not letting this point get away. Time to focus and finish this now."

Favorite SCIAC school to compete against?
Redlands--their courts are amazing, and their players are some of the most courteous and athletically talented individuals that I have met. I love playing against players that are better than me, as it gives me both a goal and a desire to improve my game beyond anything I feel during practice.

Favorite part about being a student-athlete at Caltech?
I get to bond with my friends outside of class, especially in the tough moments when we need to support one another on the courts, or in the fun moments where we get to have a few laughs and share the best times we've had at Caltech.

What teammate has inspired you the most?
Vivek Narsimhan--not only was he one of the brightest and smartest Caltech students, he showed amazing agility and reflexes on the courts. Everyone on the team loved his energy, and his enthusiasm always kept me going.

Best thing about Caltech?
There is unparalleled interaction with professors, and you get to know most of your classmates and lab members extremely well.

What would you like to achieve most in your life?
A medical breakthrough in cancer research.

Best team experience at Caltech?
Road trip to Santa Barbara where we listened to our assistant coach's (Doug) crazy stories from playing tennis at D1 schools.

If you could go to any sporting event what would it be?
Finals of French Open. Hands down.

If you could change one thing about Caltech what would it be?
Make the first two years a bit less stressful by decreasing the amount of work during core.

What makes you laugh the most?
TV sitcoms like Friends and How I Met Your Mother.

Where do you get motivation from when things get tough?
My teammates, my parents, and my girlfriend of over 3 years.

If you had no schoolwork what would you do all day?
Research and play tennis.

What have you learned about yourself through competing as a student-athlete?
I learned that I can force myself to be mentally tough when I need to. I also realized how much I enjoy being with the rest of the guys on the team--I'm a team player.

In 10 years, I'll be . . . .
...hopefully starting a residency training program in neurological oncology. In the decade that lies ahead of me, I hope to complete a MD/PhD dual degree, and use that to bring improvements in cancer research.