When Deirdre Robinett was little she wanted to be a ballerina, an Olympic gymnast, and a professional skater. "My mother said, ‘Why don't we start with Irish dancing,'" says Deirdre, whose grandmother is Irish. In April, the biology major won the World Irish Dancing Championships, held in Philadelphia, Pa. This is the first year that the championship was held in the United States. "It was more exciting because I got to win the first world championship held in America, being an American," says Deirdre.
Deirdre brought home a trophy, which will travel with a new winner next year. She also received a gold medal, sash, tiara and a glass statue. Deirdre competed in three areas: the treble jig (heavy shoe), the slip jig (light shoe), and then a set dance (heavy shoe).
Before reaching the Championship, Deirdre had to deal with a sprained ankle that left her on crutches for two and a half weeks. Instead of being deterred, she took spinning classes. She also traveled to Chicago for dance classes, and she practiced five days a week. "I had to be really organized with school but all of my professors understood my training for competition and all were supportive," says Deirdre. "I feel like that is part of Saint Mary's atmosphere. The classes are all so small and I feel like the professors all get to know you. I feel that if I were in a class of three hundred, they may not get to know me. The professors are all great here."
The Cincinnati native says one of her favorite classes was art history, a course she took during her study abroad semester in Rome. "When you are there, everything just seems so much greater. You get to go see the things that you are learning about in person. You wanted to learn more and it made it more real and interesting." Another favorite class was theology, because, "my professor, Father Mark Attard, was amazing. He is just so knowledgeable and inspiring. He made you want to be the best Catholic ever."
Deirdre is the vice president of the Notre Dame/Saint Mary's Irish dance team, and she has been elected president for next year. After graduation she plans to go into either medical school or become a physician's assistant. "I think one of Saint Mary's strong points is empowering young women to be confident," says Deirdre of her future. "With my harder classes and with training for the World Championship, I've learned I have to make some sacrifices, but if you really put effort into something it will pay off and you can reach your goals."