Ashley McDermott ’26
On a cloudy Tuesday afternoon, I met with Frankie Silva, a senior on the women’s basketball team. Frankie is a public policy and law major, a hard-working athlete, an executive board member of the Athletes of Color Coalition (ACC), and a dedicated member of the student body. She is determined to finish the season strong as the team approaches the semifinals and championship games. I asked her about her experience on the team, her endeavors while at Trinity, and what it means to be a student-athlete.
Ashley: This season has been awesome for the team; how does it feel as a senior to close your final year with so much to celebrate?
Frankie: It definitely feels awesome. Me and the rest of my seniors got hurt in the middle of our season last year, so having it all taken away from us all at once made us want to play with no regrets, and, honestly, I think we are seeing all of the hard work we did in the off-season, especially off of those injuries, really pay off. Obviously, I’ve been thinking about after basketball and everything, but I’ve been trying to prolong that feeling for as long as I can. It feels great, and I’m excited to keep it going.
A: How has your team helped you succeed academically and athletically?
F: Yeah, I think coming into college is a big jump, but I think in being a student-athlete, I’ve definitely been able to excel with time management skills, and having a team hold each other accountable on and off the court has definitely been very beneficial to me, and I’m sure the rest of the team can say this as well. I would say when we have free time, we all are doing work together, we’ll come to the library, so having these people around me who want to see [me] succeed and hold me accountable in the classroom and on the court has caused an improvement in myself.
A: What were some challenges you’ve had to face individually and as a team to get to this point?
F: I got injured last year, so it was definitely difficult to not do anything for x amount of months and then having to come back and grind, but, honestly, I see us being champions, so I’ve had that [on] my mind and that’s been fueling me. But I would say some challenges came from this being an extremely long season, so I would just say being extremely focused and keeping the intensity level up for all this time, starting from [the] middle of October and now it’s almost March, having to stay locked in is still a reality for us. Being intense in practice can be a challenge because the days can feel long, and it has been tough having to be here on New Year’s Day, or the day after Christmas, but we just have to remember why we are here, and what we want out of this. We just look to the future and try to remember this angle on days when we don’t want to do it.
A: Definitely. You have done some really impressive endeavors on your own, so could you tell me about some of the things you’ve done on campus besides being part of the team?
F: Yeah! So sophomore year when we came back from Covid, this was my sophomore year so in 2020 to 2021, I felt disconnected from the campus community. We weren’t able to practice anything, and our season was shut down, so I really wanted to get involved in campus life. At the time, a few of my teammates were a part of the ACC, so I was nominated to join, and I am still on the executive board, and I am very happy that I joined. I really feel that our mission statement is definitely important to me as a Black student-athlete, and as a part of the Trinity community. I feel like student-athletes definitely have a unique role in the campus community, and I think enhancing the student-athlete life and the student of color life on campus is very important. I am happy to say that my identity as a person and as a student-athlete here has definitely given me a position to seek change and to do something about it within the ACC. Also, in my academic life, I’ve met some amazing professors, who have helped me to sit on the Public Policy and Law Student Advisory Board, which is something I am very passionate about since I am a public policy and law major. I definitely love to broadcast the major to prospective students and talk to other students to see what they want out of the major. Covid was definitely a setback, but it gave me the opportunity to become more involved on campus outside of the basketball team.
A: What have done as a part of the ACC, what were the initiatives you guys had, and what were some outreach programs that you guys had?
F: I’m the Communications Liaison, so I’m the person between all student-athletes and student-athletes of color and all students on campus. I also sit on the board between us and other athletes of color coalitions across the NESCACs to see what resources and what events they have to see if we could recreate that. Last year we were actually given the opportunity to go up to Amherst College, I believe, to sit with a couple of the other members of ACC across the NESCACs to collaborate and network just to see what was working at their schools. I’m like the middle person between our athletic department and our Eboard. We also host a bunch of different events such as a Super Bowl watch party at the President’s house the other weekend, we have a career event coming up, we have a lot of community service outreach within the Hartford community, and we want our presence to be known on campus, and it’s not just for a student athletes or students of color, as long as you believe in diversifying and increasing equitable opportunities for anyone on campus, then you are more than welcome to join!
A: That sounds amazing. You mentioned you were a public policy major, I know I’m going to sound like every person around you, but what are your plans after college?
F: Yea, you sound like everyone in my family. I am a public policy and law major with a minor in formal organizations, and through those classes I’ve solidified that I want a career in sports and entertainment law, so before going to law school, I want to work in sports management, hopefully within the Boston or New York area.
A: What does it mean to you to be a leader on and off the court?
F: I would say being a leader and being in this position now is not something I take for granted, especially having so many people that look up to me, in the freshmen class all the way up to seniors and juniors. I definitely have a lot of eyes on me, and it is a lot of pressure, but it only makes me want to do the best I can. I also want to leave the school and the women’s basketball team with no regrets, and I want to leave it better than I found it.
A: What inspires you to work hard as an athlete, as a student, and as a member of this community?
F: I set really high goals for myself; I’m a perfectionist in that sense, and I would also say it’s because of the people around me. It’s not a good feeling to let others down, especially when they are counting on you. I don’t want to let myself, professors, teammates, or coaches down; so knowing that there’s a lot of people that I’m on this journey with who want to see me succeed as an individual and as [part of] a team, it makes me strive to be the best version of myself to make those around me proud.
I can certainly say as a student and as a fan of the women’s basketball team, we are very proud of all of the hard work and dedication that comes from our student-athletes. The women’s basketball team is currently ranked no. 3, and I look forward to seeing the success of this team.