Vlad Murad (Bacau, Romania), senior, men’s tennis
1. Tell us about your hometown: Bacau, Romania.
Bacau is a city of about 130,000 people (pretty large by Romanian standards) in northeastern Romania. The city is known for its great state-funded educational and sporting facilities, which I had the opportunity to use while living there. Since these facilities are state-funded, I had the option of trying out a bunch of different sports without paying a lot of money, and was able to receive great education in public schools. Living in Bacau, and in Romania in general, means living within a large family, as close friends become nothing less than an extension of your biological family. I would say Romania is a mixture of the comfort of the Western World and the struggles of a developing country, and I believe that experiencing both ends of this spectrum was very useful. On the one hand, you get easy access to education, health, and technology, but on the other hand you also get to experience (sometimes first-hand) hardship, poverty, and corruption, which I believe made me a strong and self-sufficient person.
A great deal of my older tennis teammates from back home went to Division I tennis programs in the United States, and I wanted to follow in their footsteps. I got into both Division I and Division III schools, and deciding between whether I want to be student-athlete or an athlete-student was probably one of the toughest decisions I'll ever have to make. Fortunately, one of my best friends was attending Bates College while I was making this decision and convinced me that the level at which tennis is played in the NESCAC combined with the excellent education offered by the institutions in the conference will allow me to play tennis competitively while receiving a great education. Although this might sound a little cold, I chose Colby due to its academic reputation and great financial aid. This was due to not being able to visit any of the schools I applied to which forced me to make a decision solely based on numbers and pictures of campuses.
4. You have one of the highest grade point averages of any student-athlete. How do you balance academics and athletics, especially since you play fall and spring seasons?
5. You are majoring in Math and Computer Science. What's next after graduation in May?
I will be pursuing a PhD in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning at the University of Washington. The end goal is a career in research and/or teaching in this field.