Student-Athlete Spotlight

Nicole Vaiani - Fencing

1. Name: Nicole Vaiani

2. Class Year: 2020

3. Sport: Fencing

4. Position: Foil

5. Why did you choose Penn?
I chose Penn because of the family atmosphere that I experienced from the fencing team. Coach Ma is the most easygoing and kind hearted college coach that I have dealt with, so his friendly and warm aura was the deciding factor that put me at Penn. Aside from Coach Ma, my fencing teammates are all super supportive and very welcoming. It was important for me to be comfortable with my teammates since we spend so much time together, and the fencers at Penn were definitely very inviting. 

6. What does the experience of being a Penn Fencing student-athlete mean to you?
Being a Penn Fencing student-athlete makes me feel like I can have the best of both worlds. I have been given the opportunity to study at one of the most prestigious university’s in the country, while also being able to continue my competitive fencing career. I honestly couldn't ask for much more.

7. What has been your favorite moment/memory with Penn Fencing?
My favorite moment so far with Penncing (our nickname for Penn Fencing) has been when we all cheered on our teammate Raphael Van Hoffelen in the saber gold medal match at Penn State. We were all so anxious the whole time Raph was fencing in the finals, so when he ended up winning the tournament we all celebrated and it was such a surreal moment.

8. What has been your favorite class to date and why?
My favorite class so far has been MGMT 100. In this class I am apart of a 10 person management team and the team aspect of this class is definitely the reason why it is my favorite class. I have arguably the best management team out there and I am so thankful that I got to meet and work with such a great group of people. I will defiantly take the relationships I’ve formed with my management teammates beyond the classroom as the semester ends. I am very lucky to have been introduced to these people who I am happy to call not only my teammates, but also my friends.

9. What does life after Penn look like (where you live, what you will be doing)?
After Penn, I hope to live somewhere next to the beach, as I’ve grown up living next to the beach my whole life. I don’t know where I’ll be exactly in the professional sense, but I see myself doing something within the sports industry.

10. What are some lessons that you have learned through athletics at Penn that will stay with you after graduation?

Penn athletics has taught me that it is important to never settle. I have been instilled the mindset to never give up and to always push myself no matter the situation. I will continue this mindset into the workforce after I graduate Penn.

11. Last year, over 105 Penn Fencing alumni, family and friends made a financial contribution to your program to help provide you with things like equipment, training tools, uniforms, travel to away meets, meals on the road, sports medicine and sports performance.  What would you say to those who invest in your experience as a Fencing student-athlete? 
I would like to tell those who made financial contributions to our team that I am so thankful for their donations. Because of their donations, I am able to continue my fencing career on the collegiate level and experience treatment that athletes at Big 10 schools experience. These luxuries that the Penn Fencing alumni donated have made my athletic career at Penn so much more enjoyable and truly contribute to my success as a fencer. With their help, I am more motivated to continue to perform on the fencing strip and do better each time I compete. Every time I fence for Penn I not only fence for myself, but also for the alumni.