One facet of the Barnard experience that many students value is the opportunity to compete in NCAA Division I Athletics through the Columbia/Barnard Athletic Consortium. Barnard is the only women's college to offer Division I athletics.

Our interview with Arianna Noya '19, a freestyle swimmer on the Columbia Women's Swimming and Diving team, is the latest installment in an ongoing student-athlete series. Noya, who was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and moved to Miami when she was 6, is majoring in neuroscience and behavior and will work in health care market research after graduation. She plans on returning to school to pursue a master's degree in public health.

How has being an athlete informed your college experience?

I can't imagine not being a student-athlete. I dedicate 20-plus hours per week to swim practice, weightlifting, and competition, so learning to be efficient with my time has been key to balancing school and athletics. More importantly, being an athlete has given me a sense of community at school and introduced me to my best friends. I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to swim on a team with some of the most passionate and driven women in varsity athletics. While swimming is oftentimes perceived as an individual sport, swimming for Barnard and Columbia has always been a team sport for me. It's amazing what my teammates and I are able to do as a result of our unconditional support for each other.

How did you first become interested in swimming?

When I moved to Miami, my mom encouraged me to join the swim team in our city. Swimming is a popular sport in Florida, and I loved the water, although I preferred gymnastics. Before I knew it, my dad was driving me to my first swim meet. I'm sure I earned last in every race, but my coach convinced my parents that I should continue to practice for a few more weeks. I was furious, but I stayed, and my coach was right. It only took a few more weeks and I was hooked. Swimming soon became my favorite part of the day. Growing up and through college, swimming has always been a significant part of my life and shaped me into the person I am today.

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

I love spending time with my team outside the pool, trying new restaurants, exploring the city, grabbing dessert, or tanning on the lawns in front of Butler Library. I also enjoy alone time in my room, listening to music, and watching movies.

Why have you chosen to major in neuroscience and behavior?  

I've always had a strong inclination toward science, but neuroscience is particularly unique in that it incorporates different aspects of biology, psychology, and chemistry, which is why it caught my attention freshman year. I've always found it fascinating that the brain is the source of all human behavior, thought, and emotion, and the classes I've taken at Barnard have confirmed my interest in this subject.

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