For as long as Carly Tiches can remember, she has been fascinated with the physiology of the human body. That’s because the junior nursing student was a gymnast for more than 16 years. Her career culminated in 2011 when she won the floor exercise and all-around competitions in the AAU National Championships in Orlando, Fla.
“That was the highlight of my career because I knew that all of my hard work had paid off and the sacrifices I had made for the sport had been worth it,” says Tiches. 
Tiches has retired from gymnastics and dedicated her energy to becoming a nurse. But she took with her the lessons she learned as an athlete.
“Gymnastics taught me so much about life, such as learning to set goals and striving to achieve them,” she says. “It helped me build confidence and self-esteem and it taught me the importance of physical fitness and nutrition. Those lessons will help me be a better nurse and stay with me for the rest of my life.” 
Her desire to help and care for others began when she started coaching children in gymnastics. She realized that she enjoyed giving first aid and caring for injuries. Now she is turning that passion into a career. 
“Studying nursing at UMass Lowell has given me the knowledge and clinical experience to help people in need,” she says. “The nursing program has phenomenal faculty and staff, who have taken the time to work with me on a personal level to help me succeed. All of my lab courses have been my favorites because of the hands-on learning and the smaller class sizes.”
In her early years at the University, Tiches lived on campus in Fox Hall and the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center, taking full advantage of the social events and sports clubs. As a member of the River Hawk Cheerleading Club for three years, she put her gymnastics skills to good use.
“It was such a great way for me to stay active, make friends and have fun on campus,” she says.
Her advice for new students? 
“Step out of your comfort zone,” she says. “It’s important to really put yourself out there in the college community and try new things because there are activities for everyone. You'll be surprised what you may learn about yourself.”