Senior Volleyball Players Kelle Nett and Becca Woodstra Prepare for Life off the Court

Posted on October 6th, 2015 by


Nett, left, blocks a ball alongside teammate Taylor Trautman.

Update: Nov. 9, 2015

The Golden Gustie volleyball team has won an unprecedented 27-straight matches and secured the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) Playoff Championship with a 3-1 victory over Bethel University on Saturday, Nov. 7. With the win, the Gusties will advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2008. Gustavus will face the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire on Thursday, Nov. 12 at the regional site hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Keep reading for last month’s feature on volleyball seniors Kelle Nett and Becca Woodstra…

Gustavus Adolphus College senior volleyball players Kelle Nett and Becca Woodstra have been key ingredients in the Gustie volleyball team’s resurgent 2015 season. On the court, the seniors have helped lead their team from a sixth-place finish in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) last season to a 14-2 record (5-0 MIAC) so far this year.

But Nett and Woodstra are more than just athletes. Although their ambitions differ significantly, both women spent the summer preparing to live out the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) motto and “go pro in something other than sports” after graduation.

Kelle Nett

A native of Spring Valley, Ill., Nett served as a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow (SURF) at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. “My main interest in applying for a summer research position stemmed from the fact that hands-on experience is huge for someone who wants to get into a graduate level program for research,” she said.

Nett’s interest in science was encouraged by her father, a biology and microbiology professor, and her older brother Ryan Nett ’12, who is currently pursuing his doctorate in cellular, molecular and developmental biology at Iowa State University.


Kelle Nett was a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

After being chosen as one of 113 SURF students out of over 1,200 applicants, Nett spent the summer researching the neurobiology of addiction. “We worked primarily with mouse models and looked at the affect of chronic caffeine consumption during adolescence and how that impacts alcohol-related disorders and mood later in life,” she explained.

Nett feels that her experiences at Gustavus prepared her for the high expectations at the Mayo Clinic. “All of the professors I’ve had for classes and labs have had a big impact on me,” she said. “Mike Ferragamo, in particular, has guided me with his enthusiasm and knowledge for everything neuroscience.”

Nett was one of two featured student speakers at Gustavus’s Fall Research Symposium on Thursday, Sept. 24 . Presenting her research methods and findings to a lecture hall crowded with students and faculty, Nett said, “Gustavus gave me the confidence in a lab setting that really allowed me to make the most of my experience at the Mayo Clinic.”

After graduation, the biology and biochemistry double major hopes to continue to graduate school to study neuroscience.

Becca Woodstra

woodstra cropped

Becca Woodstra spent the summer as an intern at Allianz in Golden Valley, Minn.

Woodstra, a communication studies major and management minor, spent the summer working as a Sales Development and Customer Event intern at Allianz Life in Golden Valley, Minn.

After meeting with Allianz representatives at the Minnesota Private Colleges Job Fair in Minneapolis last spring, the Minnetonka, Minn. native interviewed and was selected from a pool of hundreds of applicants.

During her internship Woodstra worked with two small teams that collaborated with other departments within the company to plan and execute events. “Event planning is stressful, detailed, and chaotic,” she said, but was quick to point out that Gustavus professors like Kathi Tunheim make it easy for students to be successful in a professional setting. “She works so hard to ensure students are not only prepared, but confident going into corporate environments,” Woodstra continued.

“I don’t know if many interns across the country were as happy as I was walking into work at 7:30 a.m.,” she said. “My experience with Allianz this summer sparked my interest in sales and field development. I’m excited about the learning experiences that I’ll be able to take with me throughout my senior year.”

Woodstra is pursuing opportunities in distribution training, sales, and human resources after graduation.

Finding Balance

Now in the midst of an 14-match winning streak, the seniors took a moment to reflect on the benefits of being a NCAA Division III student-athlete at Gustavus.


Woodstra sets up for a spike.

“Participating in any sport is a huge time commitment,” Nett said. “Skills like teamwork, effective communication, hard work, composure, perseverance, and commitment are things I’ve learned from being a Gustie student-athlete that will benefit me in the future.”

Woodstra shares Nett’s sentiments. “I’m so thankful to be a Gustie. I’ve been given the opportunity to balance real-world work experience with athletics and have learned time management, motivation, leadership, and the ability to identify and work toward a common goal,” she explained.

In addition to her participation in volleyball, Nett is co-president of the Tri-Beta biology honors society and vice president of the Nu Rho Psi neuroscience honors society. Woodstra has been involved in Gustavus Women in Leadership, the Gustavus Mentoring Program, Communication Studies Club, and a volunteer for the Special Olympics.

With four tough weeks left in the season, the senior teammates hope to finish their careers as MIAC Champions. Even if they don’t, you can bet that they’ll continue to thrive off the court.

This piece was produced in collaboration with Nick Hoelmer, graduate assistant director of sports information.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Luc Hatlestad


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