Turning the clock back as far as Kaitlyn Fick’s memory stretches, Ferris State University has been a part of her life.
A four-year varsity letter winner as a Bulldog softball catcher, Fick is the oldest daughter of a pair of 1998 Ferris State alumni. Jeremiah Fick graduated from the College of Engineering Technology, and Trisha Kamrowski Fick is an alumna of the College of Pharmacy.
The love story between Jeremiah and Trisha started with a chance encounter in the former Vandercook Hall before Trisha helped get Jeremiah a job working in the Sports Information office. At the same time, Trisha worked with the Bulldog volleyball team.
While Kaitlyn’s parents’ memories date back to the late 1990s, her memories are a tad fresher.
“I remember I always had the Ferris hoodies and the sweatshirts,” Kaitlyn said, reflecting on the ice hockey team’s historic 2012 run to the national championship game.
“I remember when the hockey team was doing well, and they were playing in the Frozen Four, I still remember watching them play. So, I was always familiar with the Ferris State University, and, yes, I wore the Bulldog merch.”
But Kaitlyn Fick wasn’t necessarily destined to be a Bulldog. The Wixom native prepped at Walled Lake Central High School, where she was the 2019 Lakes Valley Conference Student-Athlete of the Year in the metropolitan Detroit area.
“My parents didn’t try to sway me one way or another, but they were excited, and they had their merch ready when I announced that I was coming to Ferris,” she said.
Fick is finishing up her studies in the School of Nursing in Ferris State’s College of Health Professions, striking a balance enduring the rigor of academic demands with those of being a college athlete.
“Ferris’ softball team was one of only a few that worked with nursing students to help make their schedules work,” she said. “A lot of schools turn you away when they find out the tough academic schedule will conflict with their practice schedule. Ferris was one of the few that gave me a ‘yes’ on their willingness to work with me. Plus, Ferris was, of course, familiar to me. I knew some alumni, including obviously, my parents, and I didn’t think I could go anywhere else.”
Thanks to her mom bringing daughter Kaitlyn to work in the pharmacy, the younger Fick was introduced to how a career in the medical field could look.
“I remember career fairs in high school helped me to figure out what I wanted to do, that I wanted to pursue a career in nursing,” she said. “I realized there was a need for shortages, that I would always have a job with many options and career paths.”
Not long into her Bulldog experience, Fick was sure she’d made the right decision and realized she inherited a support system that would help her through thick and thin.
“I’ve always had a team around me, just built-in friends with travel ball and in high school that came from my playing sports,” she said. “Then, coming to college, I immediately had 25 best friends. That helped me ease into the college experience much easier than it would have if I had not had them with me. We went to Ferris football and hockey games together. We went to many activities together, which helped build a bond.”
The pandemic changed everything.
“It hit toward the end of my first year. So, I was still working on my prerequisites. I wasn’t in the Nursing program yet. Some general education classes, like English and Communications, moved online. I had never taken online classes before. Changing to online was a little difficult. I adjusted to do well in my classes, but it was very different. Once COVID got a little more familiar, I chose online classes on purpose because I was used to it and had a few more options.”
Her softball career also was put on hold.
“We were in Florida for our spring break trip. Then, we got the call to fly home … we were putting on and tying our cleats, getting ready to step on the field,” she said. “We sat in the dugout, and all the seniors were crying … it was very difficult because nobody it was a thing or how it all would play out.”
Fick bounced back, resuming her college softball career. Splitting catcher duties this season mostly with freshman Natalie Teague, Fick initially came to Ferris State as part of a large freshman group of which she, infielder Amara Zukowski and first baseman Evelyn Blood are the remaining members who made it all the way through.
In addition, outfielders Kylie Winkels and Kaitlyn Orme, fifth-year players, joined transfer senior Kristie Gray as members of the 2023 seniors concluding their college softball careers at Ferris State.
Kaitlyn has two younger sisters who are players, too. Middle sister Danielle played her freshman season at Notre Dame College in Ohio and had a strong rookie season. The youngest Fick, Jessica, was a Walled Lake Central High School sophomore. All three Fick sisters are catchers – among other positions they can play.
“I don’t think we’ll ever not be a softball family,” Kaitlyn said.
Hoping for a career in the Detroit area, Kaitlyn is wrapping up her Nursing program requirements on the Big Rapids campus during Summer 2023 – all while enjoying Detroit Tigers baseball and savoring the final weeks of her college undergraduate life.
“I’m doing preceptorship in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) this summer. Eventually, I might want to end up in the ICU,” she said of a preceptor, an experienced and licensed clinician charged with supervising nursing students during their required clinical rotations. The preceptor helps the students transition classroom-learned theories into clinical practice.
Kaitlyn’s softball career ended during the GLIAC Tournament in Rosemont, Ill., with a hard-fought 6-5 setback to Wisconsin-Parkside in an elimination game.
“It didn’t really hit me until we got back to campus because we were at the GLIAC Tournament. Then, we drove home … It hadn’t hit me yet that I was going to be done playing,” she said. “But I think that I was all right because if I wanted to keep playing, I could have taken my fifth year I knew I was going to be all right not playing because I knew I would have the friends that I do and that I’ve made because of my softball experience at Ferris.”
Fick's Bachelor of Science in Nursing (registered nurse) pinning ceremony, with the School of Nursing, took place on Aug. 12.