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College of Health Solutions grad turned extra year of athletic eligibility into a master’s degree

College of Health Solutions outstanding graduate Lieske Carleer

Lieske Carleer, who was an All-Pac-12 conference pick as a member of ASU's women's soccer team, was named the College of Health Solutions' Outstanding Graduate for fall 2023.

December 08, 2023

Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable fall 2023 graduates.

Only a year after appearing on the list of notable 2022 graduates from ASU News, soccer star and classroom wizard Lieske Carleer is back on the 2023 list as she graduates with her master’s degree in clinical exercise physiology.

Carleer, from Winterswijk, Netherlands, is being honored as the College of Health Solutions' Outstanding Graduate.

An extra year of athletic eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic gave Carleer the chance to pursue her master’s degree through the university’s accelerated master’s program. Without that extra time, she would have already been back in the Netherlands playing soccer.

Carleer was named an All-Pac-12 second-team pick; however, she gives credit to others when asked about receiving the award.

“It was nice to get recognition for my own effort; also, two other teammates that made that same team, which was really awesome to see that at the Pac-12 level,” Carleer said. “People also recognize the quality that we have in our team here at ASU.”

Humble, strong, hardworking and perceptive are some of the few in a long list of words used to describe Carleer.

“You can't do it alone,” she said. “You have to work together, and that's both on the field, off the field, and also at school and in my career. It's the same thing.”

Question: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

Answer: I was like, “I have an extra year of eligibility. I'm going to see if I can do something with that.” Then this clinical exercise physiology program came about, and I'm just very interested in everything to do with the body and how the body responds to exercise and how you can optimize that for performance or for health. This master’s was a great way to take a deeper dive into the health aspect of exercise.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: The ASU coach came to visit the European Championship that I was playing in when I was 16. He saw me play and liked what he saw and invited me. I was not really planning on coming out to the U.S. at all. He asked me to come visit, and I was like, “Oh, might as well see what it's all about.” Then I came here, and I saw the facilities and how you're able to combine high-level settings with getting your degree and just the flexibility that they offer. I just really liked what I saw and saw it as a great opportunity to develop myself both personally, academically and in my sport.

Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

A: I've learned a lot more about myself. About my body, what I need and how I perform optimally. Also mentally, like what I need from other people and how to communicate what I need and to make sure that people know that as well. I was just surprised by the fact I learned so much off the field about myself and how I work as a human being.

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?

A: Dr. (Donna) Hitt, she's the head of the CEP program that I'm currently in. She has been such a blessing to work with throughout my master's. She's been so flexible with me and my schedule with soccer, all the games that I've played, and also the master's schedule in general.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: Get as much experience and make as many connections as you can. Because the connections and the experience that you get, that's what's going to help you determine what you want to do.

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?

A: I usually go to the coffee shop (Fillmore Coffee Co. and Infusion Coffee) just off campus. I just meet with people at the coffee shop, drink a coffee, catch up, and then do homework and hang out.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: The goal is still to play professional soccer. I hope to start with that, this coming January actually. I've been doing job interviews, but not for a health care career, but for a soccer career at the moment.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: I'm not going to go too deep into it because that's very heavy stuff. But it's the wars in Ukraine, Palestine and Israel. Those people are in danger.

Story by Aidan Hansen, communications assistant., College of Health Solutions.

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