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Environmental planner, PA State Dept. of Military and Veterans Affairs
Biology, music and sports: Emily Shertzer knows how to find balance
When Emily Shertzer ’02 was a biology major at Moravian, she knew life as a science major was stressful. That’s why she dove into music and sports to keep her sanity. She still relies on those hobbies to stay in shape, both physically and mentally, although they have taken a bit of a turn since she graduated.
While a student, Shertzer was a member of Moravian’s cross country and indoor and outdoor track teams and studied oboe and English horn as a music minor, playing in the College’s oboe and baroque ensembles, and performing several solos in Christmas Vespers.
“Participating in music and sports is really what made college so enjoyable for me,” says Shertzer. “I developed close friends in these activities and still keep in touch with most of my former teammates, and we all try to get together at least once a year. I still use music and running to keep myself balanced and healthy in mind, body and spirit.”
After graduation, Shertzer was recruited to compete with the United States Olympic Team in the pentathlon, an event that includes shooting, swimming, fencing, horseback riding and cross country running. She became a full-time athlete for six years, competing with the world team and qualifying for the 2008 Olympics, but missing a slot on the final team by one. She was an alternate, but didn’t get to compete in Beijing.
While training, first in San Antonio, then in Colorado Springs, Shertzer enrolled in the graduate program at the University of Texas, San Antonio, and earned her master’s degree in environmental science. As a member of the U.S. team, she earned a stipend and prize money and was funded through the U.S. Olympic Committee, although she was also working a part-time job and taking classes.
Shertzer moved back to Pennsylvania in November 2008, after finishing the pentathlon season. She found a job as an environmental planner for the PA State Dept. of Military and Veterans Affairs in Fort Indiantown Gap, where she ensures that military construction and training activities comply with the National Environmental Policy Act.
Shertzer also is a member of the Air National Guard’s 553rd Band of the Mid-Atlantic, for which she plays the oboe at special events and certain ceremonies. Her participation with the Guard is what led her to marathon running, and in only her second marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon in October of 2011, she finished in 2:45.55, a time that qualified her for the 2012 Olympic trials in Houston in January 2012.
“That’s a very short turnaround time [to train for the trials] but I had never expected to get there in the first place, so I just went for it,” she remembers. “I finished higher than I thought I would, but certainly had no expectations on placing in the top three, qualifying for the Olympic marathon team. I was just excited to be there at all and have the opportunity to run in the trials.”
Shertzer doesn’t see an end to her involvement in either music or sports, in fact, she now regularly competes in triathlons. “It’s just so good for you mentally, emotionally and physically. I don’t plan to stop.”
"Participating in music and sports is really what made college so enjoyable for me ... I still use music and running to keep myself balanced and healthy in mind, body and spirit."