One of the many advantages that students value about their Barnard experience is the opportunity to compete in NCAA Division I Athletics through the Columbia-Barnard Athletic Consortium. Barnard is the only college for women — and one of only a few liberal arts colleges in the country — to offer Division I athletics.

Our interview with Sofia Camacho Ferral ’22 is the newest installment in an ongoing scholar-athlete series. Sofia hails from Paris and is a member of both the Cross-Country and Track & Field teams. She plans to major in biology.

How has being an athlete informed your college experience?

Being an athlete in college is teaching me to balance my energy both physically and mentally. I am learning to take care of my body in ways that allow me to perform to the best of my ability, both on the track and in the classroom. This obviously includes time management in order to get the most out of my training and my lectures. When class ends at 11:25 and practice starts at 11:30, I have to be focused in class, but at the same time be ready to lace up and head to practice.

When you're not competing or studying, what do you like to do?

I love visual arts, so when I’m not training or working I’m drawing, painting, or editing videos. I recently picked up embroidery and have enjoyed making patches to decorate old clothes and give them a new life. Another one of my hobbies is body painting. Whenever I find enough time I like to transform into something else, whether it’s Deadpool, Venom, The Riddler, or anything I can come up with on the spot. I usually like to film the process and edit it to make a final progression video.

Why have you chosen to major in biology?

I fell in love with anatomy when I was exploring body painting in high school, and I still enjoy learning about different muscle groups and their functions. Being a Barnard student has definitely reinforced my interest in biology, especially through the introductory lab I am currently enrolled in. Studying here has also expanded my interests by offering the possibility of taking classes I never thought existed. My seminar this year is about censorship in art throughout history, which I am very excited and curious about.

What do you most look forward to this semester?

I’m looking forward to exploring different research opportunities as the semester unfolds. In regards to Track & Field, I’m stoked for the outdoor season. When I first joined the team I was faced with an unexpected late start, leading me to miss my first Cross Country season. Now that I’ve finally started training with the team and have even done a few races, I’m excited to run in warm weather and hopefully hit some personal records on the track. Last week when it was warm out, we got to train at the outdoor track, and I got a little glimpse of what it’s going to feel like in the spring!

How did you first become interested in running?

I moved to Paris during my sophomore year of high school and was introduced to the sport by my social studies teacher, who was the cross-country coach at the time. During my junior year of high school I decided to give it a shot, and ended up falling in love with running. I never thought I’d ever get to do it in college because I started so much later than everybody else, so I told myself that I’d enjoy it as much as I could for my last two years of high school. During my gap year, I decided to take training more seriously and joined a French running club. I had some very memorable races across the country. Eventually, I made enough progress to be able to walk onto the team here, and I could not be more grateful. It’s still surreal to me that I’m able to run in college at a competitive level with such an amazing team.