For fourth time in program history, the MIT women’s volleyball team collected a pair of Capital One Academic All-America accolades as senior Katie Spielbauer (Lakeview, Mich.) and junior Sharon Hao (San Jose, Calif.) earned spots on the second team. Both are first-time honorees and the awards are the first for the Engineers since 2009. MIT is the all-time Division III leader in producing Academic All-Americans and ranks third across all NCAA divisions with 192 honors. In addition, the women’s volleyball program stands second with 16 selections as it trails Nebraska on the list.
An AVCA All-New England selection, Spielbauer became the first libero in the history of the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) to be selected Athlete of the Year while earning her second straight first-team all-conference selection. She led the NEWMAC in digs (665) and digs per set (5.24) while tying for second in aces (65) and tying for third in aces per set (0.51). She graduates ranked second in the MIT record book for career digs (1,984), tied for second in career digs per set (4.03), and seventh in career aces (186). Majoring in electrical engineering with a concentration in Spanish, Spielbauer is a three-time NEWMAC Academic All-Conference honoree. She completed an electrical engineering internship at the Fermi 2 Nuclear Power Plant run by Detroit Edison and conducted research at the University of Michigan Cancer Center in esophageal adenocarcinoma.
A two-time NEWMAC academic all-conference pick, Hao ranked third on the team in aces (42) and fourth in digs (232). An electrical engineering and computer science major, she was a software engineer intern at Facebook where she worked on the iPhone app, Facebook Camera. Hao also completed an internship with WeaverMobile, a startup that makes iPhone applications. In addition, she participated in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) in underwater robotics where she worked with the PR2 (a large robot) to collect data used for autonomous, long-term underwater mapping.