Kristin (Kotopoulis) Garland ’95 and her daughter Paige Garland ’24 recently joined the ranks of legacy families at WPI. Legacy families hold a very special place in the university’s collective heart, and the Garland women took this proud tradition one step further as Paige followed her mother’s footsteps to the WPI Women’s Volleyball team; a team which finished the 2019 season with a 14-14 record—earning a spot in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic (NEWMAC) Tournament Conference for the fifth time in six years.
When asked how it felt to have her daughter play on the team, the senior Garland, a senior industrial hygienist says, “I am so proud of all she has accomplished to get to where she is. I just want her to have the same positive
experiences I had at WPI and make the lifelong friends I have been so fortunate to have in my life. I know that WPI will give her that opportunity.”
The WPI athletics program plays a major role in developing healthy, well-rounded students; it contributes to physical development, self-confidence, the spirit of teamwork, and the opportunity for leadership and high achievement beyond WPI’s rigorous academic programs. But these benefits don’t come easy. Adding athletic training, practices, and games to an already packed schedule trains students to focus and produce under pressure.
The junior Garland, an environmental sustainability studies major shares that being on the volleyball team is a very important part of her WPI experience. “My mom signed me up for volleyball when I was in middle school, and I’ve loved it ever since. It’s great exercise, and I love the competitiveness of the game and the way the team needs to be united and connected to perform well.” She adds, “Yes, playing a team sport at WPI forces you to work hard on time management and leadership skills, but it also offers you the opportunity to connect with your teammates in meaningful ways.”
“Following in my mom's footsteps not only as a student but as an athlete is very humbling. I have admired her as a person for as long as I can remember, and it is very rewarding knowing that I have pushed myself to develop the best traits in her.” - Paige Garland ‘24
Sharing a similar sentiment, her mom says: “Being a WPI student-athlete gave me an opportunity to be a leader, and as someone who was initially very shy, the bonds grown from volleyball really helped me find my voice and my leadership skills. The WPI Athletics program taught me to balance work and personal goals and to take care of my mental and physical health, and without the connections I made at WPI I would not be half the person I am today.”
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has added significant restrictions to the WPI Athletics program, the Women’s Volleyball team made it a priority to connect when they could over the school year. And until they can be physically together again, they are taking the time to grow individually as players and to strengthen their physical and mental endurance levels.
To learn more about the WPI Women’s Volleyball team, please visit: