After propelling Northwestern to four national championships, lacrosse star Hilary Bowen wants to help young players find their places on the field.
Bowen, of Rochester, N.Y., is a two-time NCAA Championship MVP and holds the Northwestern single-season record for goals. She scored a game-best five goals — on five shots — in the Wildcats' victory over North Carolina in the national championship game this year after sitting out most of the regular season with a torn ACL.
The human development and psychological services major wants to stay close to her sport after she graduates. She'll be working for Joe Lizzio, a former Cornell University lacrosse player who runs an investment company and a foundation that funds athletic programs, facilities and equipment in low-income areas. Bowen will help run the foundation and work for Lizzio's investment company simultaneously.
"The sport of lacrosse has given me so much, and I just want the opportunity to pass that on to other people," Bowen says.
Bowen started helping others discover lacrosse as a high school student. In the ninth grade she and Danielle Spencer, a teammate at Brighton High School and fellow Wildcat, introduced the sport to underprivileged kids near her home in Rochester during a school service project. She's also coached at Northwestern's lacrosse camps since she started playing on the team.
And last fall Bowen interned with Girls in the Game, a Chicago-based nonprofit that exposes girls to sports and fitness activities. She worked on a series of clinics with Girls in the Game through the spring.
Bowen's own lacrosse career began in the seventh grade when she decided to play for her school. She had received her first stick as a birthday gift in the fourth grade from a cousin who also played lacrosse. Bowen led her high school team to a state championship during her senior year and committed to Northwestern after attending camp with the team during the summer after her junior year.
"I knew right when I came that this is where I wanted to go. It really just felt like a family atmosphere," says Bowen, the fourth of six kids in her family. "Knowing the academic reputation of the school, it just seemed like a perfect fit."
During the Wildcats rise as a lacrosse power, Bowen has earned numerous personal accolades — including All-American and Academic All-American honors — but the four national championships she's won with the team are the most rewarding to her.
"I think people think it comes easily, but it takes a whole lot of work from all sides — our coaches, our players, our managers, our trainers," she says. "Everyone puts in so much, and it's really rewarding to know that all the hard work counts for something in the end."