Story by-Jeff Schaly, Marietta College Sports Information
When you think of a pioneer, what comes to mind? At Marietta College, our pioneers have the knowledge, the passion, and the courage to pursue change for the greater good, to make a difference in the lives of others, and to pave the way for generations to come.
Shelby Millheim is the very definition of a Marietta College Pioneer. From the time she stepped on campus in the fall of 2018 Millheim has immersed herself in everything Marietta has to offer.
She is an original member of the Dance Team that performs at home football and basketball games, one of the school’s first women’s lacrosse recruits, a member of the Alpha Xi Delta sorority, and performing research on fluorescence quenching in the College’s chemistry department.
“Shelby exemplifies what it means to be a Division III student-athlete,” Marietta head women’s lacrosse coach Malory Nadrah said. “While balancing a very high academic load, she shines in every organization she is a part of. She is incredibly gifted and puts her heart and soul into everything she does.”
A two-time Academic All-OAC honoree, Millheim carries a 3.77 grade point average in chemistry. She was approved for an Honors Thesis investigating the proton transfer mechanism in fluorescence quenching and will present her findings at the American Chemical Society Conference this spring.
Following her graduation from Marietta this spring, Millheim plans to pursue a Doctoral degree in Chemistry with a focus on Green Chemistry. With a goal of becoming a researcher for the Environmental Protection Agency, Millheim wants to focus on ways to improve various industries and the products they are producing and how they affect the environment.
“I’ve always been super busy and having little free time puts structure into my life. I’ve learned to have really great time management skills,” Millheim said. “I know when it’s time to buckle down and get my homework or research done and then dance, lacrosse and my sorority is a great way to destress.”
As President of the Alpha Xi Delta sorority, Millheim’s leadership skills were recently tested when a fire at the sorority’s house forced her and her sorority sisters out of their home. Damage was extensive and the sisters lost much of their personal belongings.
“Shelby is a well-grounded, kind, and calm leader,” Marietta dance team coach Jill Ruff said. “She has graciously handled those challenges with a smile on her face and, I know her sorority appreciates her style of leadership.”
“It was heartwarming to see how everybody in the community was so willing to help,” Millheim said. “At the same time, it was a bit overwhelming because, as President, everyone came to me asking what the next thing was to do or how can we help and most of the time my answer was ‘I don’t know’ because I was going through it too.”
With the fall semester winding down, Millheim will turn her attention to her senior year of lacrosse. The midfielder has played in every match but one in the three-year history of the program. She has played an integral part in the growth of the program from three wins in year one, to a 5-1 start in 2020 before COVID cut the season short, to seven wins last spring.
“When Shelby graduates her mark on our program will be immeasurable,” Nadrah said. “I am so honored to have spent the past few years getting to know her and watching her grow and blossom on this campus. She has an incredible passion for everything she does.”