Occidental’s Kristin Oberiano (senior) is not only a standout golfer in the SCIAC conference, but also a star on the Guam Women’s National Team. After dedicating the majority of her life to a sport that requires patience, discipline and technical skill, Oberiano is now looking to end her Occidental career on a high-note.
Oberiano’s golf career started in Guam when she was just five years old, after her parents decided it would benefit their daughter to get an early start in the sport. While she took some time off from golf to try basketball and volleyball in middle school, Oberiano returned to the green at the end of her junior year of high school to join the Guam Junior National Team. She still competes for Guam, mostly in the summer and fall.
Because she competes internationally, extensive travel has become part of her golfing lifestyle. She has also travelled as part of Occidental’s team, flying with the Tigers to Hawaii for a two-day tournament during the fall semester. All of the long-distance flights makes golf a year-round commitment for Oberiano.
“I always keep playing, except for a few breaks to keep myself mentally strong,” Oberiano said. “I use the Oxy team as a way to improve and keep on getting exercise.”
Oberiano is also drawn to golf’s competitive side.
“My favorite part of the competition is getting into the grind of wanting to perform at your best in a high pressure situation,” Oberiano said. “I need to have competition in order to keep being motivated. There’s so many variables that come into one single shot — it takes time, effort. If you execute it correctly, that feeling is so good.”
While Oberiano enjoys the intensity of the game, golf’s strategy appeals to her as well. According to Oberiano, golfing is as much mental as it is physical and technical — she mainly competes with herself, not other players. The self-competition can be emotionally and mentally draining when playing for five hours on the course, but Oberiano manages to apply the lessons she has learned in golf to her everyday life.
“I started out with golf, and learning how to be honest on the golf course, learning integrity, to keep posture and pose in the face of pressure, to be always respectful with competitors and at the same time to be competitive — I think those things really translate well into life in general,” Oberiano said.
Oberiano has managed to balance her athletics with an exceedingly successful academic career. A history and American studies double major, Oberiano was recently accepted into a Ph.D. history program at Harvard University. Greatly inspired by her own professors at Occidental, Oberiano aspires to pursue a career as a history professor after her Ph.D. program.
“Growing up in Guam, I’ve always noticed that there is a lack of Guam history because Guam is part of the United States,” Oberiano said. “I’ve always wondered to what extent is Guam actually part of the United States and vice versa. I want to contribute to that field of history and Pacific history in general in order to bring out voices of islanders into the mainstream historiographical debate.”
After graduating from college, Oberiano hopes to continue to play with the Guam National Team.
At the collegiate level, head coach Will Morris is excited about Oberiano’s prospects in the upcoming SCIAC competition, and thinks she is the best player in the conference. But his praise for her extends beyond the course.
“I have coached in college for over 20 years, I have had numerous players go on to law school, med school, business school and various prestigious graduate programs, but Kristin is the first person I have ever had who was accepted to Harvard for graduate school,” Morris said via email. “We are so proud of her being a representative of Occidental.”