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Growing stronger through struggles

Cassidy Maumus has overcome obstacles at Lehigh, including Hurricane Katrina damage to her family home and a knee injury this season.

Although she found Lehigh to be completely different from her native New Orleans, senior Cassidy Maumus embraced the university from the start -- adjusting to her volleyball teammates, academic course load, and hilly South Mountain environs easily.

Maumus has pursued an aggressive academic path, turning a passion for politics and government into a double major in political science and history, with a minor in business. She ran for vice president of the class of 2007 and was elected in a vote of her peers. Her leadership skills were evident on the volleyball team too, where she was named a team captain as a junior in 2005.

And then along came Hurricane Katrina.

The hurricane hit at the beginning of the fall 2005 semester and a week before the Lehigh team traveled to College Station, Texas -- ironically within driving distance of Maumus' family. Cassidy's family watched her play that weekend and, though everyone was safe, the emotional toll was heavy. The family home was damaged, but not lost. Her siblings were forced to attend schools outside of New Orleans.

The resilient Maumus responded by appearing in all 100 games for the Mountain Hawks last season, setting a Lehigh single-season record with 4.25 digs per game, including a career-best 35 digs in a match versus archrival Lafayette. Her many Lehigh commitments, ranging from volleyball to the vice presidency, to the athletics department's Student-Athlete Mentoring (SAM) program, distracted her from the devastation in New Orleans.

"Sports are all about being dedicated to something and working very hard at it so you'll succeed," says Maumus. "Those things that are difficult, that make you struggle, only make you stronger. I truly embrace that philosophy and have really learned what that means this past year."

Maumus returned home for a few weeks after the spring semester ended, though the situation in New Orleans prevented her from staying all last summer as planned. Jobs were scarce, housing was limited, and the Maumus family cars were destroyed, making transportation nearly impossible.

So she spent this past summer taking courses, assisting at the Lehigh volleyball camp, and planning for the 2006 season as a co-captain for a young team with nine freshmen. In addition, she planned events for the student alumni association, worked with her fellow class officers, and set about doing the many selfless acts that characterize her personality. Sadly, her senior season was cut short by a knee injury.

Cassidy plans to stay at Lehigh after graduating in the spring, perhaps pursuing a master's degree or serving as a graduate assistant for the volleyball team. She intends to eventually seek a career in politics, where she can leave a legacy of contribution, much like she has at Lehigh.

"As a volunteer, an athlete, a student leader, and as a student, she gives her all,"says Colleen Griggs '99, director of student and young alumni programs. "Lehigh is incredibly fortunate to have her as a part of our family."

--Sue Hofmann

Photo by Ryan Hulvat

Lehigh Alumni Bulletin
Fall 2006


Posted on Tuesday, November 07, 2006

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