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Polar Bear of the Week: Shivani Schmulen ’26

October 20, 2023

Courtesy of Brian Beard
GOING AGAINST THE GREEN: Shivani Schmulen ’26 is Polar Bear of the Week! Schmulen recently qualified for the NESCAC Championship in May after a 12th place individual finish at NESCAC Qualifiers.

In her second season on women’s golf, Shivani Schmulen ’26 is having no trouble getting back into the swing of things. Adding onto an impressive record—including a second-place finish at the Wesleyan Invitational—Schmulen placed 12th at the NESCAC Women’s Golf Qualifiers, where the team as a whole placed 5th. Her individual performance at the qualifiers earned her a spot at the NESCAC Championship in May.

Schmulen’s personal road to success has remained consistent: tuning everything out and trusting her instincts.

“I think it’s just trying to play my game at the end of the day,” Schmulen said. “I think that’s what went well for me.”

More important to Schmulen than her individual accomplishments, however, is her team. Tight-knit and composed of just six players, women’s golf has been a crucial source of camaraderie for Schmulen, and she is committed to representing the team that she has come to call her family.

“I’m the kind of person, especially the kind of athlete, who wears the uniform with a level of honor,” Schmulen said. “Being able to wear that uniform with pride has been such a great honor, especially qualifying for NESCACs and being one of those individuals who continues to represent the school on a larger stage.”

Athletics have always been a part of Schmulen’s life. She played soccer, volleyball and basketball growing up, but she didn’t begin playing golf until her freshman year of high school when her uncle introduced her to the sport. From the start, she knew it was something she was passionate about.

“Golfers will say they got the bug. And I got the bug, basically,” she said. “I liked the motions of it, I loved the technicality of it, the difficulty of it. It’s a process that you have to trust.”

Once Schmulen discovered her love of golf, she dreamed of being recruited to play in college. She said that she was drawn to Bowdoin because of the coach and team atmosphere.

“[Head Coach Stu Cady] is an exceptional … judge of character. He picks people who have a similar mindset in terms of goals, ambitions and drive,” she said.

Coming into her first season last year, Schmulen was very excited, but also reflects on adjusting to a new environment and schedule.

“Last year’s season was kind of a whirlwind, as most first-year seasons are,” she said. “I came in just really wanting to perform well. While I don’t think I performed my best, I was happy with how I did given everything.”

Schmulen placed second in the Maine Women’s Amateur Championship over the summer. To her, this was a valuable opportunity to reaffirm her love for golf outside of the college golf season.

“At the end of the day, that tournament was solely for me. I wasn’t playing for Bowdoin, I wasn’t playing as a college athlete,” Schmulen said. “It was really reassuring and really kind of nice because I think a lot of times athletes get burned out. So this tournament was a reminder that I very much love what I do and that carried into the fall season and all of its craziness.”

Schmulen is also involved on campus as a part of Bowdoin’s South Asian Student Association and Smart Woman Securities.

“Bowdoin has been a great opportunity for me to explore other avenues,” she said. “I’m trying to expand a little bit more [and] take in everything that Bowdoin has to offer in terms of extracurriculars.”

Schmulen’s goals on and off the course are the same: to be committed to the communities she’s a part of. Going forward, Schmulen said that the  team continues to strive for improvement by trusting both the process and her teammates as the golf program grows.

“The beauty about golf is that there’s always room for improvement. I think this team is very mindful of that,” Schmulen said. “It allows us to create a team culture that is truly ours, especially building that from the ground up.”


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