Wolverine Athlete Spotlight: Erin Busbee
Erin Busbee

April 18, 2014

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Senior Erin Busbee discuss the team's training over the past two weeks and its increased expectations moving forward, and explains the recent fellowship she received that will allow her to travel to seven different counties upon graduation.

On how the last two weeks of training have been going ... "Training has been hard and beneficial, I hope. We reverted back to a lot of our conditioning season-type training to ramp it up again into the outdoor season and to get ready for people whose distance increases -- for example the 400m hurdles takes a whole new endurance level than a 400m or even a 600m. For us it's been about getting over the longer hurdles. The first few races of outdoor are rough because you're used to running 60 meters over five hurdles and once you get outdoors it's a shock. Hopefully our training will be beneficial because you have to gain more strength for outdoor and fight the wind and things like that that you don't deal with indoors. Now we're going back into our taper time and that should be fun. We'll get our speed back, which will be nice because a lot of people have been feeling slow. We took up the weights in the weight room to try and get a couple hard weeks of training in. Hopefully that will pay off in the next couple weeks."

On the importance of each meet building toward championship season ... "The way that our schedule is set up right now has been tough, especially since we're splitting up a lot over the next two weeks. Next weekend, with Drake Relays off our schedule and not many people going to Penn Relays, that will give us another off week or a more local meet. For a lot of people, this weekend is the big show to see where they are and see what they need to improve on from this point. We'll definitely go in with super-competition mode on and start thinking about postseason more. I can't speak for everybody's group, but for our group in particular, this was our first week of starting to taper a little bit -- our weights were a little lighter and we did a little more speed work and didn't have as many workouts as we've had in the past two weeks. We'll have had a lot more rest going into Saturday, as opposed to lifting weights on Friday and competing on Saturday like we have in the past."

On the fellowship she recently received ... "The fellowship is called the Bonderman Travel Fellowship. It's in its first year here at the University of Michigan. It's been at the University of Washington for at least the last 20 years and we just adopted it here. After having the paperwork for about a month, I decided to apply for it last minute and it worked out. It was due on a Monday, and on Friday I started pumping out essays and got two letters of recommendation. It seems like one of those things that is meant for me to do. There are several things that are going to happen on this trip that I've always wanted to do."

On the focus of her fellowship ... "I get to make my itinerary and everything is fully independent. You're not allowed to enroll in classes or do organized research or anything like that -- everything has to be on your own. You have to find your own places to stay, find your own things to do. It's like an extended vacation, except with a strictly allotted amount of money. As of now, I'll be going to Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, and then I'm going to fly to Asia and go to Thailand and the Philippines, and then I'll to fly to Egypt and also go to Israel. I had to include at least six countries in two different regions of the world, and mine is seven countries in three regions. It's an eight-month fellowship, and my itinerary is 10 months, but at eight months it officially ends. If you have money left, you're welcome to continue traveling on your own. Egypt and Israel will probably be beyond the time restraints. The purpose is cultural exploration and emergence. I'll get to strengthen my Spanish -- I'm going to spend the bulk of my time in South America. I also want to learn Portuguese in Brazil, and I'll try to acquire a little language in each other place I go. I want to learn more about international policies. Also, a lot of the countries that I chose are more progressive in their region as far as human rights or LGBT rights or women's rights, so I'll take a look at things like that."

On her recent experience in Guatemala helping her during her fellowship ... "It will help in the sense that it will help me step out of my comfort zone and try new things. It will be a lot different though, because thinking about when I was in Guatemala and how much I was restricted by being a part of that program -- you can't go outside of this area, you have to stay with this host family, and every time you go somewhere you're with the people in the program and you're doing everything under the guidance of the directors of the program. We were helped with what buses to take and when to take a taxi. But this fellowship will be the complete opposite. We can go wherever and do whatever and just make sure we're safe. They don't tell you where to stay or what to do, so in that sense it's a little more nerve racking."

• Previous Spotlight: Brook Handler