Arthur ashe leadership award Katherine Almquist | Skidmore

arthur ashe leadership award

Katherine Almquist began her career at Skidmore in uncertain times and with many challenges. As the team’s lone freshman and coming from a distant state (Michigan), Katherine had to find her way socially and on the team when “social distancing” and “isolation” was a way of life. Through that experience, she wanted to help make Skidmore a more inclusive and friendly campus for students coming in after her. She got involved with the SAAC DEI committee and proposed a LGBTQ+ allyship panel in the spring of 2023 to discuss LGBTQ+ allyship and representation in sports on campus, which was widely attended and live-streamed. That panel evolved into an Inclusion Panel the spring of her senior year to further address inclusion in and outside of athletics on campus. Through that work, she hopes to educate Skidmore student-athletes of LGBTQ+ struggles in the athletics world and how to create inclusion and equality for all students and student-athletes.

Katherine always puts others and the team before herself. She is very good at identifying if something or someone is off and is quick to remedy it with a conversation or a simple check-in. She is also very good at communicating with coaching staff to make aware of anything that’s going on, to get advice, and to make sure the culture on the team is the best it can be. She also leads by example by working hard every day, even when she’s not feeling 100%. She is willing to hold herself responsible if she feels that she can do better, which is often from over-analyzing herself to a fault.

Katherine is a fierce competitor on the court, but is also the consummate sportsman. She is always respectful to opponents, even when they are not respectful to her. She often over-turns her own calls to make sure she’s being fair (correct herself when she calls a ball out, but realizes it might be too close to call definitively). She’ll applaud her opponent’s good shots and genuinely congratulates her opponent in defeat, knowing she gave it her all and her opponent just played better. In a sport that is getting increasingly competitive each year, it’s refreshing to see Katherine’s leadership shine above the “win at all cost” mentalities.

A few examples of Katherine’s other numerous leadership activities include: SAAC member and Subcommittee Leader of the DEI initiative, in which she met with Athletics executive staff members, the Dean of Students, and subsequent student committees. This resulted in her proposing and creating an LGBTQ+ allyship panel in the spring of 2023 and an Inclusion panel in the spring of 2024.

She is the Co-Leader of the Skidmore SUPR (Single-Use Plastic Reduction) Initiative to reduce single-use plastics on campus. She worked with dining hall staff to bring aluminum bottled water into vending machines and only using reusable plates at dining hall and Spa. Additionally, she was involved in planning Earth Day 2024 to make all Skidmore events free of single-use plastics.

She is currently doing an internship with NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) as a remote part-time Communications Intern. That internship came from her personal work being a leader in sustainability on LinkedIn.

She was selected for a highly competitive Harvard University Undergraduate Research Program in 2023, working in the Berkshire Mountains researching forest and soil sustainability and preservation.

She mentors and helps train students in the Navia Lab for Atmospheric Chemistry Research, is a recipient of the 2024 Skidmore Athletics Department Senior Leadership Award and the 2024 Student Government Association Student Leadership Award and was the Team Captain for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 seasons.

On the court, Almquist has a 41-24 career singles record, playing at the No. 1 through 5 singles positions. She was the 2021 ITA Northeast Regional semi-finalist and is has been award three time All-Conference in singles. She has a 3.5 GPA, majoring in environmental Science and minoring in International Affairs and Spanish. She plans to continue her studies in a masters program at Northwestern in the fall.


A Quote from the Head Coach

“So incredibly proud of Katherine. Her leadership has had such a huge impact on the Skidmore tennis team, but she’s been an even more valuable member of the Skidmore community. She understands her role in making our campus, and the world, a better place. She is one of the few who will act on her morals and work tirelessly to make them a reality, whether it be on a personal or global level. It’s people like Katherine who make a true difference in our communities. I couldn’t be more proud to have her a part of the team here the last four years and can’t wait to see what she can accomplish in the future.” - Curt Speerschneider