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FEATURE: Steady Footing For Giannotti

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Sept. 21, 2013

By Tyler Feldman, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For a college athlete, balance is the key to success on and off the field. It takes that innate desire to want to flourish as a student-athlete at the collegiate level. For cross country senior Emily Giannotti, such drive has come naturally. She has managed to keep her daydreaming of actors Ryan Gosling and Dave Franco to a minimum in order to perfect the art that is balance.

This past weekend Giannotti completed her final regular season home race in the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational with a first place victory. Giannotti defeated the field with a time of 21:17 for her first career individual win while donning the blue and white.

"It was definitely unexpected," said Giannotti. "It was my last time racing on that course so to be able to grab a win was awesome."

In just three years, Giannotti graduated from Penn State with stellar academic achievements and honors.

Giannotti's outstanding academic efforts earned the the opportunity for her to lead the College of Education at this past summer's graduation ceremonies as a student marshal. What Giannotti attributes most to her success on and off the field is what separates her from the pack.

"I have always been a perfectionist who is very organized," said Giannotti. "I love to be busy, and I am a self-proclaimed nerd! I love my field of study, so doing work is fun for me."

Following her graduation with a degree in rehabilitation and human resources, Giannotti is now pursuing her master's degree in counselor education as part of the Counselor Education Master's Program (M.Ed.).

"My specific emphasis is in rehab counseling. I love it!" said Giannotti. "I am not sure exactly what I want to do with it yet and what population I want to work with, but I have been really interested in the Wounded Warriors Project and maybe working with veterans who suffer from PTSD."



Thankfully for Giannotti, her family has not been affected physically or mentally by war, but still she displays her heartwarming compassion for others through her seriously interest in post-war rehabilitation. In her mind there is a direct link between cross country and rehabilitating mentally and physically distraught veterans.

"I just really like how they connect physical health and exercise with mental health because I feel like that is what running has been for me, an outlet," said Giannotti.

Even though Giannotti is unsure of how she wants to utilize her Penn State undergraduate and graduate degrees once she leaves Happy Valley, it is clear that she has her mind set on helping others. She understands that life is more than simply what she has accomplished at Penn State.

For four years, Giannotti has managed to balance running with her academics, but it is safe to say that there is more to her than just school and cross country.

Although she is a "self-proclaimed nerd" Giannotti wants people to know that she is still "pretty chill." Giannotti uses the little free time she has to do many of the typical college undertakings.

"I love movies," said Giannotti. "Oh, and I like to sleep when I have free time, too."

Since Giannotti is such an aficionado when it comes to movies, when asked who her favorite actor or actress is, Giannotti sprinted to her answer.

"I love Ryan Gosling. He is a fox," said Giannotti. "I like James Franco's younger brother, Dave, a lot, too!"

To think that Giannotti encompasses a trait that is the title of one of Gosling's film is quite the stretch. Yet, Gosling did star in the movie Drive, and throughout her Penn State career, Giannotti has proven to herself, her coaches, her family, her teammates and her friends that she possesses the drive to find success in future endeavors.

The drive that Giannotti occupies and the success that Giannotti has encountered during her time at Penn State would not have been possible without the loving support of her family.

"I have been so fortunate to have the family that I have. We are such a close family," said Giannotti. "They have been awesome. Definitely super supportive without being the `over bearing parents.'"

Since day one at Penn State, Giannotti has been able to keep her feet steady and her scale balanced. She epitomizes what it means to be a student-athlete at Penn State.


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