Macalester Today Fall 2011

mike snavely

Wide Receiver Renaissance Man

Calling Mike Snavely ’12 a balanced Macalester student-athlete is an understatement.

In the three years since the Minneapolis native arrived at Mac, he has conducted research with a professor, worked in a University of Minnesota lab, and studied abroad in Botswana, where he volunteered at a pediatric HIV clinic and organized a charity soccer tournament. He was also part of Macalester’s first winning football season in 24 years.

Not surprisingly, wide receiver Snavely chose Macalester largely because it made this juggling act possible. “I knew I’d have the chance to balance a varsity sport with unique academic and extracurricular opportunities,” he says. “Mac has prepared me for success in all aspects of life, from being a scholar to working with teammates.”

Snavely, a biology and chemistry major with a Community and Global Health concentration, worked in a Mac biochemistry lab the summer after his sophomore year. That’s when the balancing act kicked into high gear. “I was cloning bacteria by day and lifting weights by night,” he says.
Last summer, Snavely was part of a new applied health research program, where he was paired with a mentor at a University of Minnesota infectious disease center. He worked in the lab and shadowed his mentor, who is both a microbiologist and a physician—a path Snavely plans to pursue after graduation.
“It was a perfect fit,” he says. “My mentor’s specialty is HIV, which was my focus in Botswana, but I had never before observed the doctor-patient dynamics of the disease. It was a powerful experience.”

As for football, Snavely hopes his team will carry last year’s momentum into this season. He’s excited about a talented group of incoming first-year players, and he and his teammates are working hard to upset a MIAC opponent. (Editor's note: They beat Hamline on Oct. 1.)

However the season unfolds, his coaches will continue to admire Snavely’s accomplishments and support his full schedule. While in Botswana he missed spring football practices, but his coaches showed their support through regular emails and by following his blog.

“Mike is the epitome of what a student-athlete should be,” head coach Tony Jennison says. “He truly strives for excellence in everything he does. He is a gifted leader, a trusted friend, and a tremendous teammate.”