Callie Sundin (7) scores against Kennesaw State. (Twitter/@VandyLacrosse)
Callie Sundin (7) scores against Kennesaw State. (Twitter/@VandyLacrosse)

There’s no “I” in team—just ask Callie Sundin

Sundin prides herself on teamwork, whether it’s on the lacrosse field or on a Zoom call with a nonprofit organization.

March 18, 2021

Junior attack Callie Sundin found herself choosing between three sports in sixth grade: lacrosse, field hockey or ski-racing.

Born in Morristown, New Jersey to Betsy and Glen Sundin, Callie was always encouraged to get outside and get active. Sometimes this looked like heading to the backyard with her sister Mackenzie to play lacrosse. Other times this entailed heading to Campgaw Mountain after school to ski with her father. By third grade, Sundin was playing lacrosse for her town’s recreational team. 

Friday afternoons consisted of practicing lacrosse with her friends. Sometimes in the summer, her coach would replace lacrosse balls with water balloons, and Sundin and her teammates would battle to see who could hold onto their balloon for the longest period of time. 

Lacrosse was the sport that Sundin was most passionate about, so in sixth grade when time came to choose which sport to further pursue, she chose lacrosse. From sixth grade through high school, Sundin played for her local travel lacrosse team. 

As she continued to play lacrosse, Sundin’s love for the sport only grew. Being a member of an elite travel team, the thought of being recruited to play for a college team was one Sundin had flirted with for years. When time came to decide whether or not to start the recruiting process, teamwork was Sundin’s selling point.

“I genuinely loved being on a team with individuals and working towards a win, a shared goal, whatever it might be, with a group of people,” Sundin says. “I knew that that was something that I wanted to have in my college experience. I love the feeling of being with others, and I love the feeling of competing.”

During a summer tournament, Sundin caught the eye of a member of the previous coaching staff at Vanderbilt, and the coach sent Sundin an email expressing interest in her play. One week later, Sundin booked a plane ticket to Nashville with her father and older sister Mackenzie, a fellow lacrosse player who was also considering college recruitment at the time. 

“We had a lot of fun visiting colleges,” Sundin says. “We made it a unique experience—we watched lacrosse games and tried out the dining halls. My older sister and I both kind of just fell in love with the city of Nashville, the geographic landscape and this whole Vanderbilt experience.”

Not long after her visit, Sundin committed to Vanderbilt for lacrosse, and her sister Mackenzie applied and was accepted early decision. 

“We both took on this journey together, and I think that the Vanderbilt program was really a destiny for my sister and I,” Sundin says. “That’s a bond that we will always have.”

Since arriving at Vanderbilt, Sundin has taken the transition from high school to college athletics in stride. Though demanding, the daily structure of the life of a student athlete has helped Sundin grow as both a student and an athlete. During her freshman year, Sundin saw playing time in all 16 games. 

Teamwork is a thread that Sundin has continued to see during her time at Vanderbilt, both on and off the field. After taking an Organizational Behavior course for her business minor, Sundin found herself fascinated with using structure within organizations in order to foster success, and her professor suggested that she consider consulting. 

Thanks to his suggestion, Sundin applied and was accepted to Vanderbilt student organization Students Consulting for Nonprofit Organizations (SCNO). Her first project? Increasing the number of donors contributing to local nonprofit organization Nashville International Center for Empowerment (NICE). 

After working tirelessly with her team of fellow Vanderbilt undergraduates, the most rewarding part of Sundin’s explorations in consulting have been the reactions of the people that she’s been helping.  

“My favorite memory of working with NICE was seeing the reaction to our final presentations,” Sundin says. “We put together a huge deliverable for them with all the information on how we thought they could reach their target donor.”

The experience not only was impactful to the organization, but also to Sundin personally.

“Knowing that she really felt passionate about the ideas and was excited to take them on was such an amazing moment and makes me feel so grateful for that opportunity and realize that I would be able to touch those around me,” Sundin says.

Harnessing the power of individuals in a team setting is what keeps Callie running. Whether it’s on the lacrosse field or in the workplace, Sundin is a team player.

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