Adele Bernhard '18
One of the many things students value about their Barnard experience is the opportunity to compete in NCAA Division I Athletics through the Columbia/Barnard Athletic Consortium. Barnard is the only women's college—and one of only a few liberal arts colleges—to offer Division I athletics. We're proud to feature some of our scholar-athletes.

Adele Bernhard '18 is a Brooklyn native and history major. She is a key contributor to the Columbia Women’s Squash team and has a 13-15 overall record.

Why did you choose Barnard?

A history teacher of mine in high school (Phillips Academy Andover) recommended that I look at Barnard. At the time, I had no interest in going to school in New York City, since it is where I grew up. However, during my Barnard tour, I had a gut reaction that this was the school for me. I connected with the kind of community Barnard has to offer—students who are passionate about what they do and navigate their own paths while also contributing to a supportive and collaborative school culture. These characteristics spoke to my desire to go to a college where my peers would inspire and encourage me to grow.

What are you studying and why?

I am a history major with a minor in political science. I am focusing my studies on American history and politics, particularly state behavior and law. Both of my parents were history majors, so I feel as though my interest in history stems from my upbringing. What drew me to focus my studies on these two fields, particularly history, is how storytelling impacts our understanding of the present. What I study centers on narratives and how they are told, so for me going to a history lecture is like going to the movies and then getting to critically think and analyze how the presented stories relate to one another and into broader themes. I also love getting to do my own research. One of the beauties of history is getting to take part in greater dialogues about the past, because there are always new discoveries to make and different interpretations.

Aside from athletics and academics, is there anything else you do for fun?

With a busy schedule, I love going to yoga classes or runs in the park to clear my head. My friends and I also enjoy taking advantage of being in the city, so we often check out museum exhibits, try new restaurants, and go to sports games.

I love military history, and my favorite war to learn about is World War I. One of my favorite things to do in the city is go to museum exhibits, talks, and movies about World War I. I once dragged a friend to MOMA to watch silent French World War I films, and even went on a first date to see the Met's exhibit on trench warfare sketches.

How did you become interested in squash?

The neighborhood where I grew up, Brooklyn Heights, has a very strong squash community, so many of my friends played squash after school. I started playing when I was eight, having first played tennis starting at age five. I continued playing squash through boarding school, where I was number one on the team for all four years and captain for three years.  

With regard to squash, what are you most proud of and why?

I am first and foremost so proud of the team. Over the past four seasons, I've gotten to be part of a team that has climbed upwards in its national rank and beat other universities for the first time in the program’s history. At the end of the day, the scoreboard is just a number, but I think it speaks to the dedication and hard work the team exhibits. It is a lot of fun to train with teammates who love the sport and look to work together to improve the team as a whole. This mentality, along with a prioritization of showing up and motivating one another, makes this an incredible team.