Honors Weekly had to do a little fast pursuit to catch up with Spencer, who is turning his Honors College studies and competitive cycling into a road to his future.
HW: Your current academic plans and professional trajectory?
I am currently a Sophomore studying Bio-Medical Engineering. I don’t exactly know what I want to do after college, but I am thinking about trying to get into medical school or pursuing a master's. I do know that I want to do something related to helping people!
HW: What part of Honors has been most challenging? Most rewarding?
I think the most challenging part of the Honors program is for sure just fitting in Honors' required credits. It is still a relatively new program, and there are still curricula to adjust. Thankfully, most classes have an option for an Honors assignment. One of the most rewarding things I have noticed about the program is the people. By being in the Honors College, you gain so many connections that would take a lot of time and effort, to build. Also, on a personal level, I have found my greatest friends through the program. Most of the students in the program have a similar mindset to succeed, and I think there is something very valuable in that. The College is really designed to get out as much as you put into it.
HW: Where does cycling fit in your past, present, and future?
Cycling found me when I was in my first year of middle school. I was obese and pretty unhappy in general. Getting outside made me happier mentally, but also helped me get into shape physically. I joined my first organized sport during my freshman year of high school and really began to come out of my shell. As I lost more weight and gained confidence in myself, I eventually started performing better at races. After my sophomore season competing, I had the opportunity to race on a developmental team called Arizona Devo. Fast forward after 4 years on Devo, and I am now racing on the Bear Professional Team based out of Northern California. This season, I am really focused on getting an opportunity to race with the USA Selection team and head over the pond for some racing in Europe!
HW: Notable cycling accomplishments (race completions and results)?
4th Short Track Collegiate National Championships 2019
9th Cross Country Collegiate National Championships 2019
Southwest Collegiate Conference Champion 2019 & 2018
HW: Commentary about the University team and its program?
The UA Cycling team is like my home away from home. All the guys and girls on the team are so outgoing and really care about one another. As part of the team, I have gotten some amazing opportunities to travel around the country and meet some incredible people. Cycling can also be a very intimidating sport to get into: I love how it bridges the gap from professionals like myself to people who just decided to join because they like riding to campus; it’s extremely inclusive.
HW: What has cycling taught you -- and how does it connect to succeeding in your major and at the Honors College?
Cycling, in general, has given me a work ethic. I know how much I need to do on the bike to succeed. It has also given me confidence, not only in myself but a process. I think its quite poetic how it transfers into academics for me. I am a student that has to work for my grades; things do not usually come naturally to me. Thanks to cycling, I had this realization, after I almost failed out of my first year of college, that I have to be giving more into school just like I did for my bike. I transferred the mindset I had from racing and now am finally getting to a point where I feel comfortable academically.
HW: Favorite road route and trail to decompress and get back into balance?
My favorite place to train and decompress in Tucson has to be Mt. Lemmon. We have a special bond from all the training that has taken place there! I love the feeling of starting at the base, and the sense of triumph you get an hour and a half later as you overlook Tucson while descending. The trails on Mt. Lemmon are also out of this world. My favorite route takes me through three different biomes and always leaves me with a stupid grin on my face when my lungs are hurting at the 9000-foot peak. You know you are doing something right when your training and stress-releasing activities are the same thing!