Halle Becker '15 has been one of the top offensive threats on the Hamilton College women's soccer team throughout her four-year career. Halle finished with 12 goals and seven assists for 31 points in 57 games. The biology major ended up second on the team with 14 points this year and was one of five players that started all 15 games.

Q. Could you tell us a little bit about where you grew up?
A. I grew up in Chappaqua, New York, a small town in northern Westchester County that is about 45 minutes outside of New York City. Not quite the city, not quite the country. I went to Horace Greeley High School, which has about 1,200 students.

Q. How did you become interested in soccer?
A. I started playing soccer in kindergarten on a co-ed team through the AYSO program. I remember it being a lot of fun running around for an hour kicking a ball with my friends. A few years later I tried out for the town club team, which was considered a travel team. There were more practices during the week, the games were played against other surrounding towns and were more competitive. I remember looking forward to the practices and the games, and the passion to play soccer continued to grow from there. I eventually joined a more serious club team that traveled mostly up and down the East Coast. Most of my weekends through the end of high school consisted of traveling to soccer tournaments in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida. I loved these competitive soccer games, the team spirit and the lifelong friends I made along the way. I truly loved it.

Q. Why did you choose to attend Hamilton?
A. I always knew I wanted to go to a smaller, progressive college. My guidance counselor gave me a list of colleges he thought would be a good fit and Hamilton was at the top of his list. Hamilton was the first campus I visited. As soon as I stepped on campus, I immediately had “the feeling” and knew that this is where I wanted to spend my college years. All the students and faculty were warm and welcoming, and the campus was how I had imagined it.

Q. What position do you play and what are your responsibilities?
A. In my first years at Hamilton I was an outside midfielder – a position I love -- though it is demanding physically because you have to cover about two-thirds of the field and are constantly running. This year we went with a new formation and I played right forward, a position I had not played here before. One responsibility I had was to stretch the defense so that our midfielders could play the ball through the gaps for the forwards to run on to. On the offensive side my responsibility was to advance the ball and either take it to goal for a shot, lay the ball back to the midfielders for redistribution to an open player, or take the ball down to the end line to send a cross into the box for another player to deflect into the goal.

Q. This year your younger sister Amanda '18 joined you on the roster. What was it like for the two of you to play on the same college team?
A. It was great! Having the opportunity to play with Amanda in college was amazing and a memory I will cherish forever. We played together in high school but I never imagined we would play together in college. We have always practiced together, so we know each other’s playing style and preferences very well. Amanda played center midfield for us this year and she always knew exactly where I wanted the ball or where I would be making a run, which was awesome. She is a fast, smart and aggressive player who knows how to make things happen. I’m looking forward to watching her play the next three years.

Q. What was your favorite Hamilton soccer memory?
A. I have so many strong memories that it is hard to choose one. Scoring my first collegiate goal is a favorite memory. Freshman year we were in the NESCAC quarterfinals and I scored my first goal against Williams. Another favorite memory (also freshman year) was defeating Middlebury 1-0 during the regular season. At the time I didn’t realize how significant that win was. And as cliché as it sounds, a favorite memory will always be the lifelong friends I have made as a part of the Hamilton women’s soccer team. All my teammates from the past four years are amazing and it has been a privilege to spend so much time with them both on and off the field. I stay in touch with many who have graduated and expect that will be true of those still here after I graduate.

Q. If you could have lunch with anyone who would it be, and what one question would you ask?
A. Besides soccer, my strongest passion is animals and I am pursuing a path in veterinary medicine. This summer I read a book called Animal Madness by Laurel Braitman, which focuses on the occurrence of idiosyncratic and obsessive behaviors in animals, much like in humans. I would love to be able to have lunch with her and discuss her research, and whether her findings changed her perspective on human-animal interactions and the nature of rare species preservation and captivity in zoos or other environments.

Q. What has been the most interesting part of your major so far?
A. I am a biology major and last spring I took an anatomy class with Professor Miller and our lab was mainly animal based. I found it extremely interesting that the basic anatomical organs and structures of animals large and small, from rodents to whales, are so similar not only to each other but to humans. It was a bonus because I will be applying to veterinary school after graduation, so this class was extremely applicable to the career I am pursuing.

Q. What was your favorite class outside of your major? Why?
A. My favorite class was Hebrew, which I took for four semesters. Our class was always very small and that was so great for learning a language. Professor Anat Guez always made sure that we all understood what was going on. I loved this class because I was able to gain a more solid understanding of the language and I learned so much more about the Jewish culture.

Q. What internships/research projects have you participated in?
A. I worked as a veterinary intern at Muscoot Farm in Katonah, New York, the summer after my sophomore year. I mainly worked with the goats, sheep, cows and horses. I was responsible for their daily care, milking and feeding, and giving them their daily medications. I assisted with veterinary checkups, dehorning processes and several births. I eventually got to teach the children at the farm’s day camp, which was a very special experience. This past summer I worked as an animal husbandry intern at the Maritime Aquarium in South Norwalk, Connecticut. Most of my responsibilities involved attending to the special diets of each species, giving out medications and maintaining water quality and environment. Taking care of the animals demands an incredible amount of time and attention to diet, which took between two and three hours every day. It’s an amazing concept given they survive without any similar attention in the wild. One of the coolest experiences I had at the aquarium was being able to go into the tank with sand tiger sharks and stingrays, which was pretty scary at first.

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