Morgan McGarry's schedule is anything but typical. But as a student-athlete at the University of Arizona, early morning practices and late-night study sessions are just the norm.
On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, she starts her day at 6 a.m. to get ready for soccer practice, which runs from 8 to 10 a.m. This is followed by class from 11 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Then hours of studying throughout the evening.
"The biggest adjustment (from high school) was definitely the time management," said McGarry, who is from Danville, California. "Here, I have a full schedule of classes, training and study hall in addition to games and practices."
Despite the grueling schedule, McGarry and her teammates are thriving on and off the field. Last fall, the soccer team exceeded a 3.5 GPA. The overall cumulative GPA for nearly 500 Wildcat student-athletes exceeded 3.0, representing the best mark in school history. Also, a record 15 teams posted a semester GPA above 3.0, with eight teams posting their highest fall GPA ever.
McGarry credits a big part of her success to her C.A.T.S. Academics counselor, LeAnne Shoemaker, and the C.A.T.S. program.
Shoemaker "always checks in with us when we're on road trips to make sure we get our assignments submitted," McGarry said. "And she's always there as a friendly face if you're having a stressful day."
Shoemaker joined the C.A.T.S. Academics team in 2016 as an academic counselor for men's and women's track and field as well as soccer. A Tucson native and UA alumna, she earned her bachelor's degree in family studies and human development with a minor in special education and rehabilitation.
C.A.T.S. Academics has a staff of 16 to support UA student-athletes, and the new Ginny L. Clements Academic Center has become a hub of activity. The center, a 15,000-square-foot, two-story structure that is a short walk from most campus athletic facilities, allows for more one-on-one interactions with student-athletes and provides an increase in privacy for work and study. The center has tutoring rooms, study areas, a computer lab and other amenities.
In addition to providing tutoring and creating individualized support plans, C.A.T.S. Academics counselors also ensure that student-athletes are prepared for the next step in their career.
In McGarry's case, this included resume-building workshops and mock interviews in preparation for her Eller College of Management admissions interview as an accounting major.
C.A.T.S. Academics "walks you through all the different scenarios and paths that you can take in your major and career," McGarry said.
"It's inspiring to see how dedicated everyone is to their studies. I love that I'm surrounded by such a great group of teammates and student-athletes."