Cheryl Marker '95
Cheryl Marker started figure skating when she was two years old. In 8th grade at Minnehaha Academy, she needed to train during the day, so she left school early, eventually transitioning to attending only half-days. She started national competitions when she was 13 years old, and when she was in high school, started competing internationally; traveling to Germany, France, Canada, and Slovakia. “MA made that all possible,” she says.
Making it Work
Cheryl was a single skater until age 13, when she became a pairs skater, and skated with a partner. Most teachers were extremely accommodating of the fact that she would miss a half day of school, and also be gone for a week or two at a time--several times a year--for various competitions. They would help her figure out homework, exams, and joint-class projects. Some teachers would get their lesson plans done weeks early so she could get everything needed for class done before she left.
Rich Enderton, Cheryl’s math teacher, went over and above to help her succeed. Cheryl was in Advanced Placement math and Mr. Enderton didn’t teach all of the classes she needed to take: he typically didn’t teach trigonometry or geometry, but he took it upon himself to teach her all of them during that time, sometimes as a tutor on the weekends. “I had Mr. Enderton as a math teacher for six years. He did wonders for me; he worked with me at my pace and helped me excel at math. My first year of calculus in college, I was still seeing things he had shown me. He gave me a huge foundation in math that I can’t even begin to thank him for.” Cheryl earned her undergrad degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota, which required significant math skill. While she was in college, she went back to Minnehaha and thanked Mr. Enderton in person. “I want to thank MA and all the supportive teachers for allowing me to continue with my passion of Figure Skating while still in school.”
Cheryl continued her competitive figure skating career into her college years, but stopped competing after the ‘97 nationals. To continue with figure skating, she would have had to move away from Minnesota, which affected her education. She had to decide between the two, and she chose her education. “It was a very hard decision to make,” Cheryl says.
Life Beyond the Rink
Cheryl went on to grad school and got a PhD in pharmacology (the study of drugs) and a minor in neuroscience. After graduate school, she went into industry working for contract research organizations. She now works as a research manager in a lab at the University of Minnesota focusing on developing antibodies to opioids. Her career veers toward toxicology, which is basically “…pushing past what is good for you. Too much of a good thing is not always good,” she says. Additionally, the lab she is managing is hoping to bring the opioid antibodies into clinical use.
Cheryl is also an official and mentor in figure skating. Figure skating gave her focus and the knowledge that not everything is going to be easy and ‘right’ the first time. Skating taught her to pick herself up and keep going. As an official and a mentor, she coaches parents and skaters through disappointments, like when they are devastated that they aren’t going to go to the Olympics. “I encourage them that the important thing is that their kids are learning life lessons and developing friendships that they can take with them.”
To The Students
"MA felt like a family. People were there for me and did so much for me. MA was always there to support me and helped to make my dreams happen--as much as they could. Take the incredible education for everything it can be.”