Washington People: Lizzy Crist

Learning on and off the field

Lizzy Crist in goal
Lizzy Crist served as team captain for the Washington University women’s soccer team in 2016, and she has been the starting goalkeeper since her sophomore year. (Photo: James Byard/Washington University)

Lizzy Crist has a desire and love for learning.

Crist, a senior in the School of Engineering & Applied Science from Wayzata, Minn., enjoys being challenged by professors, homework and exams, and learning from other people throughout the day.

“Everyone has such unique personalities and perspectives on life,” Crist said. “What makes me love learning so much is the fact that once I learn, I get to teach.”

Teaching has been Crist’s passion since high school. She had some phenomenal teachers and professors along the way, and that has motivated her to help others learn.

Crist to be honored

Crist will receive the three major awards at next week’s Chancellor’s Dinner. They are:

The Ethan A.H. Shepley Award, given in recognition of leadership, scholarship and service to the campus community;

The W. Alfred Hayes Award, given in recognition of student athletes who, by personal example, have provided constructive leadership; and

The A. Gwendolyn Drew Award, given in recognition of students with superior academic standing who have contributed positively to varsity athletics

Crist is also a teacher on the soccer field. She served as team captain for the national champion Washington University in St. Louis women’s soccer team in 2016, and she has been the starting goalkeeper since her sophomore year.

“I have tried to teach by example on the soccer field,” Crist said. “Knowing that there are eyes on you, you have to have a chip on your shoulder. You have to be the hardest worker, set the standards, and show what it means to be a Bear.”

Keeping it in the family

Lizzy is the second of three Crist sisters to attend Washington University. Older sister Katie, a swimmer, graduated in 2015, and younger sister Maggie, a soccer player, is a sophomore.

“Katie had such a great experience, and I was enjoying my time, too, so I thought it would be great to have the third Crist at WashU,” Crist said with a laugh.

Crist was sold on the university from the beginning. She valued what Washington University could offer her — an opportunity to learn and have a healthy balance of being a student-athlete and having a social life.

“I really only looked at WashU coming out of high school,” Crist said. “I found a bunch of people who were just like me on my visit, and I wanted to be a part of that group.”

women's soccer team celebrates
The Washington University women’s soccer team celebrates becoming national champions of NCAA Division III Dec. 3, 2016. (Photo: Roger Mastroianni)

Lizzy and Maggie helped the women’s soccer team claim the 2016 NCAA Division III National Championship, and both also earned NSCAA First-Team All-America honors.

“Getting to play with Maggie for two more years was something I did not know would happen when I graduated high school, but something I really looked forward to after she decided on WashU,” Crist said.

Crist has looked up to her parents, David and Susan, and older sister as role models.

“Both of my parents are the epitome of hard work. It took me a while to realize that when I was younger,” Crist said. “Both used their work ethic to become very successful in their careers.”

Learning from failure

Crist had a strong work ethic herself, as evidenced by the numerous awards and honors she picked up during her time here. She was named the 2016 NSCAA National Player of the Year, and earned two consecutive D3soccer.com Goalkeeper of the Year and NCAA Championship Most Outstanding Defensive Player awards in 2015 and ’16. She concluded her four-year soccer career at Washington University as the all-time leader in shutouts (31); second in wins (48); and fourth in saves (182).

Lizzy Crist photo

“Looking back on freshman year, I don’t think I could have ever known we would be national champions in my senior year,” Crist said. “I didn’t see that coming, and maybe that is why it happened. Focusing on short-term goals was crucial in getting to where we did.”

She also had success in the classroom, compiling a 3.88 grade point average while majoring in biomedical engineering. Crist picked up 2016 NSCAA Scholar Player of the Year honors and earned the Department of Biomedical Engineering Outstanding Senior Achievement Award.

“A positive attitude will take you far no matter what happens,” Crist said.

Being in a competitive environment both in terms of athletics and academics, Crist believes you have to be happy with whatever progress you make.

“If I fail, then that means I am learning, and if I am learning, then I am growing,” Crist said.

And this is what motivates Crist each day in the classroom and on the soccer field.

“I have failed way more times than I have been successful,” Crist said.

“Each time I let a goal in, I go back and watch film to see what could have been done differently. And in school and the lab, failure is when you learn what you could have done differently, and what you can change to make it better.”

Her next stop is the University of Minnesota, in her home state, where she will begin a doctoral program in biomedical engineering. As she did on and off the field at Washington University, Crist wants to make a difference.

“I want to direct my career towards promoting females in STEM education,” Crist said. “I believe we need a greater female presence in upper academia. Ultimately, I hope to combine my passions for empowering female students and pursuing biomedical research, possibly with a focus in reproductive health.”

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