Louisa Werner, a senior finance and international business major and women's tennis player at UMSL

Louisa Werner is a senior finance and international business major and member of the women’s tennis team at UMSL. (Photo by August Jennewein)

Louisa Werner wakes up at 8 a.m. From 9 to 10:45 a.m. she fulfills her duties as a research assistant in the psychology lab on campus before attending her 11 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. class. Then it’s on to tennis practice from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. She changes just in time for one more night class, officially concluding her day at 9:30 p.m.

How does she do it? Hot mochas, homemade to-go smoothies and some crazy determination to get the most out of her student-athlete experience.

Werner is a senior tennis player and finance and international business major at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. She is a three-time Great Lakes Valley Conference player of the week and a three-time Academic All-GLVC honoree. That makes her one of 39 repeat recipients from UMSL and one of 73 UMSL student-athletes honored for the 2012-2013 academic school year.

And the awards don’t stop there. Werner’s 3.9 GPA also makes her one of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Scholar-Athletes and part of the UMSL Women’s Tennis ITA All-Academic Team. They earned a cumulative GPA of 3.391 for the 2012-2013 academic school year. With two to four matches a week during peak season, it’s amazing how these young students balance their school and sport obligations.

“You get things done,” Werner says. “You don’t have a choice, so you just figure out your pattern, whether that’s staying up until 4 a.m. or writing essays in the van and crunching numbers on hotel nights.”

Focus becomes crucial. In the classroom she has to set aside her nerves over an upcoming match. On the court, there’s no place for school stress or personal distractions.

“Tennis is a mentally challenging sport,” Werner says. “Each point counts and you can quickly get ahead or quickly be down. When I’m down, I take it one point at a time and remind myself to have fun.”

It may be a rough pace to keep, but she wouldn’t change a thing.

“It’s stressful, but it’s fun,” Werner says. “You know, a fun kind of stress. It means I am out doing things with my life.”

Werner is most certainly doing things. She moved to St. Louis from Dresden, Germany, on a tennis scholarship from UMSL. More than the scholarship, though, Werner chose UMSL because of its location near a major U.S. city and the international business program’s 14th ranking by the U.S. News & World Report.

Werner’s parents, who started her playing tennis at the age of 5, remain back home. She texts her mom everyday and video chats with her parents over Skype when time zones and spare time allow it.

After Werner graduates, she has two options. She will either find a finance internship with a bank in New York or London, or she will apply to graduate school in the U.S. or Germany. Werner wants to combine her business background and psychology minor and study business psychology. While she eventually plans to return to Dresden to be with her family, Werner is loving her time at UMSL.

“I came here when I was only 17, and I was a little scared,” Werner says. “But I found that UMSL is a good school with a good tennis team and great teammates. It was a really good choice for me.”

This story was originally published in the fall 2013 issue of UMSL Magazine.

Marisol Ramirez

Marisol Ramirez