For most student-athletes, finding a personal identity can be difficult.
Athletes spend so much time perfecting their craft and practicing with their teammates that their identities become aligned with their sports. As a result, when these athletes transition to life after college athletics, it can be difficult to find a next step that is equally as fulfilling.
However, one former Quaker has had no trouble finding a second passion, following a successful athletic career with the Red and Blue.
Kyra Adams is a former Penn gymnastics standout turned consultant, who has found purpose in her new career.
Adams’ career at Penn began in 2015 after a successful youth gymnastics career that saw her qualify for the Junior Olympic Nationals in 2012 and 2014. Adams, who used the last name Levi while at Penn, had no shortage of success in the gym during her four years with the Quakers. She served as captain in both her junior and senior seasons, and she earned a plethora of Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference honors.
After graduating from Penn, Adams moved into her new position as a consultant for the Boston-based life sciences consultancy Clarion.
A former health and societies major and neuroscience minor, Adams felt like the life sciences industry was a natural fit for her.
“I really liked science; I really liked that aspect,” Adams said. “I also was really interested and driven by the landscape of health care, especially in the United States. I felt like I learned quite a bit at Penn, but there is just so much more to learn, so it was an exciting space to get into.”
While some students struggle to find a company that aligns so well with their academic interests and career goals, Adams was able to find her perfect career match before she graduated.
“Between my junior and senior year, I found Clarion, and I ended up interning,” Adams said.
“I came up to Boston for the summer, and I had an awesome experience. It felt like a full-time job I could see myself at, so it was a no-brainer for me after the internship to come back full-time.”
While Clarion was a great fit for Adams’ professional interests and aspirations, it also had an added benefit: It simulated the teamwork-oriented environment that she had enjoyed being a part of as an athlete at Penn.
“The people at Clarion really felt personable in a way,” Adams said. “That was [one of] my worries after school, like ‘How will I get the group of people around me that I had been fortunate to have all my life?’ It felt like I could find that at this company, and it took a layer of stress off.”
Securing her next step after graduation before the start of her senior season allowed Adams to focus solely on enjoying her last ride as a Quaker.
When talking about her senior year, Adams remembers it as the best part of her time at Penn and her entire gymnastics career.
“By my senior year, it was like an outlet … this exciting thing I got to do,” Adams said. “Just having the final chance to get as close to perfect as you can on the things I had been working on for such a long time … It’s a cool opportunity — you have nothing to lose — so you can really enjoy it and focus."
Gymnastics had not always been an exciting outlet for Adams, as it can be one of the most demanding sports to compete in and train for as a young athlete.
“When you’re a young athlete in gymnastics, you’re training upwards of 30 hours per week before you get to college.” Adams said. “For all intents and purposes, it’s your full-time job.”
However, once Adams had found her full-time job, as well as her next passion, she was able to rethink the way she looked at the sport, allowing her to make her senior year as memorable as possible.
Today, Adams has continued to develop the way she looks at her personal routine and productivity. When she’s not working on projects at work, she is focused on self-care and taking time to recharge.
“Just finding the time to take a beat,” Adams said. “I feel like, at Penn, all students are so busy — you’re always giving it your all. There wasn’t a lot of time to rest in my experience. [That’s] made the quiet moments so special to me now, [and] I’m trying to be mindful of my free time.”