Sept. 30, 2011
By Mae Margaret Davis
While most Auburn students spent their summers at the beach or relaxing and enjoying time with friends, Blanche Alverson was hard at work in a lab at Auburn figuring out why a double bond in a protein in the eye changes and shifts. And she loved every minute of it.
"I'm doing it again this fall," Alverson said. "We're going to start doing a different kind of experiment with that and with making my own compound. It's been a great experience."
A pre-med major from Andalusia, Ala., and a junior on the Auburn women's basketball team, Alverson has had a love for medicine from the time she was a young girl.
"When I was in kindergarten, I broke my leg for the first time," Alverson said. "I've always kind of been in the hospital with broken bones, so I really got interested through that. Then when I was a sophomore in high school, I broke my foot. My pediatric orthopedic surgeon was actually the one who did my leg, too, when I was little, so that kind of got me interested in going into orthopedics."
Alverson's love for working with kids and the positive experiences she had as a child gave the small-town girl the dream of becoming a pediatric orthopedic surgeon. But Alverson has a love for more than just medicine, evident when she takes to the court at the Auburn Arena.
A guard/forward on the hardwood, Alverson has contributed to numerous Auburn wins over the past two years and has provided a key presence for the Tigers. She enters her junior season tied with former Tiger Tamela McCorvey for eighth all-time in career 3-pointers with 90 and is on pace to become the fifth thousand-point scorer that Auburn Head Coach Nell Fortner has recruited to Auburn.
With a demanding academic career and a tough athletic season, it would seem almost impossible to keep a balanced schedule, but Alverson goes beyond balanced. A member of a social sorority at Auburn and carrying a 3.7 GPA, Alverson has been named an Auburn Academic Top Tiger, a member of the SEC Community Service Team, named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll and most recently named Capital One Academic All-District IV. Alverson is the first Tiger to be named All-District in more than 10 years.
"It meant a lot because that's a goal of mine, to be an Academic All-American," Alverson said. "I feel like that was a big stepping stone on my way to know that I can go beyond and that kind of thing. The academic awards are definitely a huge goal of mine because I put a lot of my time into my school, and it's really important to me."
Although Alverson stays plenty busy among school, basketball and her social life, she has learned how to manage a hectic lifestyle with as much success as a 20-year-old could have.
"It gets hard at times, definitely," Alverson said. "I think it's just keeping a schedule and making sure that you have time and studying ahead of time and not waiting until the last minute. That's a big part of it. Sorority-wise, I don't get to go to as many things as everybody else, but I do what I can and they're very supportive and understand that I'm not going to be able to be there most of the time."
Alverson also recognizes the help she gets from her coaches and the staff and is thankful to have people around her that support not only her athletic career, but her academic one as well.
"It happens for all of us, we have classes that interfere with practice times," Alverson said. "A lot of my labs interfere with practice, so on those days, we have practice at different times. They understand that I have to take this class, or I can't move on. They have encouraged me to go out for different things or to try out for the honor societies or to be named for things, so they've been very supportive."
Looking ahead to what her future will hold after her career at Auburn has ended, Alverson is happy to keep her options open and wants to take advantage of whatever opportunities come her way, whether they be in athletics or medicine. Ultimately, she believes that her experiences as a Tiger will benefit her in all facets of life.
"You always go through your good times," Alverson noted, "but I think having to work through different struggles that the team has gone through and having to work through it with a group of people, it will help me with my personal relationships, it'll help me with my friendships down the road and in the work environment.
"Just to be able to work through problems in a civil way and get through stuff together and not just go through it on your own, I think it definitely has an impact. Work ethic is key, obviously. You're on your own, and you don't have somebody telling you your schedule that you have to maintain. Having to be responsible and keep on a schedule, I think it definitely will help me down the road."