By Dean Caparaz ’90
Coming from a family of doctors, Alice Duranteau’s first intended course of study at California was, of course … engineering.
A member of the Cal women’s tennis team, the Golden Bear was initially attracted to mechanical and then bio engineering, as the latter combined her interest in engineering with her interest in biology.
Plans change, and Duranteau, now a senior, is instead majoring in integrative biology with thoughts of becoming a doctor.
One of the brightest minds on one of Cal’s academically strongest teams, the Paris, France, native sports a 3.31 grade-point average, which ranks third highest on her team. Duranteau – pronounced uh-LEECE du-RAN-tow – has claimed Pac-12 All-Academic honors the past two years.
Whether she lives up to her “Doc” nickname, pursues architecture or another engineering-related field, or continues to play tennis at a high level, Duranteau will tackle her post-Cal life with the same poise she’s displayed during her career in Berkeley.
“One of the things I look for when recruiting is student-athletes who can manage their times well, be on top of deadlines and get things turned in,” head coach Amanda Augustus said. “From the get go, Alice was open to finding out about things, asking a lot of questions and just figuring out Cal well. It can take international students a couple of semesters to adjust, but she made the transition quickly and easily.”
Duranteau is on pace to graduate in December. If she continues with her medicine path, Duranteau plans to become a pediatric surgeon. Both of her parents are doctors – her mother is an endocrinologist and gynecologist, while her father works in intensive care.
An aspiring surgeon at the age of 16, Duranteau was attracted to pediatric surgery after working tennis camps.
“One of the things I like most about medicine is working with kids and being able to help them,” she said. “At first I was thinking it would be too hard for me to be a pediatric surgeon, because to me it’s worse to see a child suffer than an adult. But then I did tennis camps, and I realized how much I like interacting with kids. It was so fun to be with kids, so then I realized I’d like to save the lives of kids more than adults.”
She still bears an interest in engineering, which she might also pursue after Cal.
“My biggest plans are going to med school back home or going to engineering school back there,” she said. “I might even do both – get an engineering diploma and then go to med school. I could do both, in case I’m not really sure what I want to do, since there are so many things I like.”
And then there is her love of tennis. Duranteau put off dealing with graduate school of whatever kind to focus on collegiate tennis this spring, “so then I could just have an idea of what it is like to just have tennis in your life, and see if it’s something that I can’t live without. Or maybe it’s an opportunity for me to close the door on tennis, and tell myself, 'I did everything I wanted with tennis – I played as much as I could – and now I’m ready to move on.’”
This feature originally appeared in the spring 2014 issue of the Cal Sports Quarterly. To subscribe, email firstname.lastname@example.org.