Nine on IX: Babson Student-Athletes on the Impact of Title IX

Collage of photos of Babson women student-athletes

Fifty years ago this summer, the passage of Title IX—the landmark civil rights legislation that prohibited sex-based discrimination in educational settings—opened more opportunities for more women to play collegiate sports. As Babson College marks the golden anniversary and celebrates its women student-athletes, we reached out to nine alumni and coaches for their reflections on the role college athletics played in their personal and professional development.


READ MORE: Legendary basketball coach Judy Blinstrub reflects on Title IX.


Stephanie Balaouras ’97

Stephanie Balaouras ’97Soccer (1993–1996), lacrosse (1994–1997)
VP, group research director for technology, Forrester

“For me, athletics gave me structure, kept me healthy and in great shape, and fostered some amazing friendships. I found that when I was in season, I was more productive and more successful in multiple domains of my life, from academics to my role as a resident assistant, because there was no time for procrastination. I had great mentors in coaches and assistant coaches, and when I was younger, from the seniors on the team. And, it gave me the opportunity to create friendships with women that I could always count on—on and off the field.”
Fran Hartwell in a team huddle

Fran Hartwell

Basketball (1974–1978), volleyball (1975–1977)
First women’s team coach

“I believe that the role of athletics in any educational institution is not the team’s or coach’s record that’s important, but rather the development of the student-athlete to better handle many different situations later in life.”

Mackenzie Silverio Henderson ’00

Mackenzie Silverio Henderson ’00Swimming (1996–2000)
Senior vice president of ticket sales, Boston Celtics

“Swimming at Babson had an incredible influence on both my personal life and professional career. The guidance and life advice from our incredible coach, Rick Echlov, the camaraderie with my amazing teammates, and the privilege of leading the team as a two-year captain all gave me many of the tools I needed to become successful in the business world, along with some of the best memories of my life. I’m forever grateful for the impact Babson swimming had on me, and I would do it all over again if I could.”

Read more about Mackenzie Silverio Henderson ’00.

Laurie Hornik ’88

Laurie Hornik ’88Soccer (1987), basketball (1985–1988), softball (1987–1988)
Director of religious education, St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Longmeadow, Massachusetts

“The lessons from my time as a college athlete continue to guide my life. As a senior, I asked my coach, Judy Blinstrub, about becoming a college basketball coach. She said she loved her job, but it would not make me rich. I naively dismissed that option and embarked on an accounting career, which I then put on hold to care for my son, Shaun, who was born with cerebral palsy. It was the best decision I ever made, raising my four sons. A few years ago, I returned to the workforce and then found a job that I love. Before accepting, I reflected on Coach Blinstrub’s words. Today, I am happy and excited to go to work every day—something that I had never felt before. I know that I am doing what I am best at, and I am doing what I love. Just like Judy.”

Colleen Kelly ’11, MBA’23

Colleen Kelly ’11, MBA’23Field hockey (2007–2010)
Vice president, trade marketing and industry relations, Anheuser-Busch

“Playing field hockey at Babson was one of the most formative experiences during my collegiate experience. I came to understand the importance of setting a clear vision for the team, providing the framework for success, motivating people to come along for the journey, as well as the importance of coaching individuals differently. These on-field experiences in conjunction with what I learned in the classroom built a strong foundation for me to start my career. Over the past decade, I’ve continued to leverage and hone the leadership and teamwork capabilities I built on the field to influence how I build my team and run my department today.”


WATCH: Shay Blanchette Proulx ’90 on the beginning of Babson softball.


Meg Lynch ’08

Meg Lynch ’08Soccer (2004–2007), swimming (2004–2008), rugby (2006–2008)
Operational sustainability consultant

“College athletics gave me the chance to build character and develop my strategic and analytical thinking, while gaining valuable leadership and teamwork skills that have benefited me in both my personal and professional pursuits. College athletics instilled a growth-oriented mindset that has allowed me to see obstacles as solvable challenges and to be unafraid of stepping outside my comfort zone.”

Jacqueline Paul ’20, MSBA’21

Jacqueline Paul ’20, MSBA’21Softball (2017–2021)
Baseball data analyst, Hawk-Eye Innovations

“As I progress in my career of working in sports, I am constantly reminded of the battles that all of the brave women who came before me fought and how much respect I have for those who have attempted to pave the way for me. I sincerely hope that my work will make it easier for the women who come after me as they, too, will be blazing the path to a brighter and equal future. I am inspired by those working to make the sports world equal. I am inspired by my friends Vanessa Onwe ’20, Tori Roche ’20, and Brooke Stock ’20, MSF’21, who all had jobs coaching collegiate sports this past year, and Kate Karamouzis ’23, who is working for Major League Baseball this summer.”


“I sincerely hope that my work will make it easier for the women who come after me as they, too, will be blazing the path to a brighter and equal future. I am inspired by those working to make the sports world equal.”
Jacqueline Paul ’20, MSBA’21

Tonya M. Strange ’94

Tonya M. Strange ’94 and the women's basketball team
Tonya M. Strange ’94 (back row, middle, next to Coach Judy Blinstrub)

Volleyball (1990–1993), basketball (1990–1994)
Senior manager of consumer insights, CVS Health

“As a self-identified introvert, athletics provided me the opportunity to come out of my shell and truly develop a strong sense of self. I developed much more confidence in my own voice and worth. That confidence transferred to the classroom and ultimately to the boardroom, where I was often tasked to share my recommendations and points of view as often the sole subject matter expert in the room at a very large corporation. I could never have accomplished what I have professionally without those development years on the volleyball and basketball court. The strong, confident, and resilient mom, sister, friend, and colleague I am today is largely due to being able to participate in college athletics.”

Megan B. Sudak ’99, M.ED, MA

Megan B. Sudak ’99Softball (1996–1998), basketball manager (1995–1999)
Business educator and varsity softball coach, Beverly (Massachusetts) High School

“College athletics played an integral role in my development both personally and professionally. If I didn’t have college athletics, I am not sure where the road would have taken me. My Babson experience revolved around the athletics department, and I value all the hours I spent on the fields and in the Webster Center. Working in both the equipment room and in the offices also opened my eyes to all of the energy and time that goes into college athletics. It made me want to pursue a path where I could coach in some way. It is what led me to education after working in marketing for a few years.”


This article appears in the Summer 2022 issue of Babson Magazine.

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