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Alumni and Friends Making an Impact

Photo of Izzy Kemp, taken by Erik Schelkun

Fastballs and Her Future

The count is full; the batter has stepped up to the plate, and Izzy Kemp is ready for the showdown. She feels the crunch of the dust beneath her cleats and breathes deeply. Her body flows into a windup built on sweat equity and muscle memory. It’s showdowns like this that Kemp has thrived on since she was a girl.

“My parents gave me pitching lessons for my 9th birthday,” Kemp said.

Back then, Kemp had no way of knowing the doors that she would open for herself by throwing a fastball. All she knew was that she was good at it and, more importantly, loved doing it.

“I want to enjoy my life and enjoy softball,” Kemp said

“I want to enjoy my life and enjoy softball,” Kemp said.

But her skills on the softball diamond are only part of what unlocked her journey to the University of Dayton.

Kemp was in sixth grade when she spotted a magazine about engineering and biomedical opportunities at a Women in S.T.E.M. event with her Girl Scout troop. And while growing up in Indiana, Kemp had watched her father, who uses a wheelchair, play basketball with his friends. Those wheelchair games and the magazine unlocked a vision for Kemp’s future.

“Their bodies were in wheelchairs, so they would set their prostheses to the side,” Kemp said. “They were all out there playing sports, which was super cool to me.”

Now in her sophomore year, Kemp is studying mechanical engineering and minoring in human movement in biomechanics. Her plan is to eventually work for a company that makes medical devices or is involved in robotic surgery.

It’s a degree path that requires Kemp to study hard. Her hard work paid off when she graduated from St. Theodore Guerin Catholic and earned a Trustees' Merit Scholarship from UD. And what wasn’t covered by that scholarship and other financial aid, was covered by the Champions and Scholars Fund.

She continues to work hard on the field, too. Kemp had nearly 200 strikeouts during the 2023 season. Her goal is to up that to 225 this coming season. And she wants to lead the Dayton Flyers to the top of the Atlantic 10 Conference.

To do that, Kemp is focused not just on her school and softball, but also on what keeps her centered — spending time with her roommates, cooking, baking and building her relationship with God.

“It’s so special to me that my teammates are Catholic. A few of my teammates go to Mass with me. We have softball parkas, so in winter, you’ll see them lined up in a pew.” Kemp said.

And without the stresses that come with worrying about paying off student loans, she can focus on what she wants going forward.

“It means there is a whole lot of stress I don’t have to deal with,” Kemp said. “Coming out of college without debt means I can choose a job that fulfills my passion and provides for me and my future family.”

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