For our very first alumni newsletter (going out today!), we’re highlighting two spectacular Row New York alumni: Betty Cao-Ng (2006) and Nicole Doyle (2015 – seen in above photo), two of our many exemplary people on and off the water. Nicole and Betty are Row New York honorary head alumni ambassadors, a role we collaboratively created to promote opportunities for alums to get involved and informed about the dynamics of Row New York. Below is an interview I did with them to learn more about their lives post Row New York.
Betty Cao-Ng was a Row New York coxswain and Learn-to-Row starboard from sophomore to senior year of high school. She went on to compete in Division III Women’s Rowing at Clark University.
Betty, tell me about your life now, how have you evolved, grown and developed since graduating from RNY?
Since graduating from Row New York, I have gone on to work for a non-profit organization for eight years, a job which I found through Row New York’s alumni outreach. A former Row New York coach emailed all the alumni that were coming home from college and informed us of a job opportunity with this agency looking to hire camp counselors for the summer. I was hired and spent the next eight years of my life working my way up from camp counselor to a receptionist to interning for various departments and then settling on finance. Recently, I have accepted a new position at a consulting company and started my own online business. I also volunteer at an animal shelter and with my sorority. I got married last year and am looking to buy a home sometime within the next year.
My time at Row New York influenced me to be independent and accountable for everything in my life. I am empowered to take control of everything I encounter and make it what I want it to be but also to help others that may need assistance whether it be academically, financially, or emotionally. I believe I became a strong woman due to the strong circle Row New York had built me up on. When I joined my sorority, Sigma Delta Tau, I wanted to surround myself with women that were empowering and supportive of one another. To me, it was an extension to the Row New York family I had. In my adult life, whenever something tough got thrown into my path, I just said to myself “Power ten in two… 1..2..” Keep in mind that nothing is as bad as a 6,000 meters erg test – but if it is, remember it’ll be over soon.
What are some of your goals for this head alumni ambassador position?
I hope to encourage more alumni involvement with Row New York. All the senior alumni I talk to recall vivid memories of our RNY days with a huge grin on our faces. It’s fun to get together and reminisce the good ol’ days, chat with old teammates, catch up on where life takes us now, and empty our pockets every now and then. I want to think of Row New York not just in my adolescent past but in the present and future. As the network of Row New York alumni grows, so does the family tree. I would love to get alumni involved with current teammates through mentorship and sponsorship and with other alumni to build a deeper foundation for all of Row New York to lean on. I would like to encourage a larger alumni presence at Row New York events and more volunteer efforts for all to partake in. I would encourage other alumni to share what they would like to see at Row New York and help make it happen.
Nicole Doyle is a sophomore at Marist College and rower for their Division 1 Women’s Rowing team. She was a joy to catch up with!
What are some skills you practice in your everyday life that you learned from this sport or from being on a team?
From this sport, I have learned to be patient, which I continue to practice in my everyday life. In rowing, patience is necessary, especially because it is usually not a one-woman show. There can be up to 9 women in one boat and it takes a lot of patience to get all of the rowers moving together as one. In life, I always keep in mind to be patient. Classes, assignments, tests, extracurricular activities, internships, and so on can all become overwhelming. In the times that I feel most overwhelmed, I tell myself to be patient because eventually, it will all start moving together just like in rowing.
Why is it important for you to stay involved with this organization? How does alumni involvement make a difference?
I cannot say enough how important it is to stay involved in Row New York and this is for many reasons. First, I remember walking into the office and into the erg room, looking up at all of the pictures of alumni, and wanting to be like each and every one of them. I always thought, “If they got through it, then so can I.” Therefore, it is our turn to show current Row New Yorkers that we got through it and now, so can they. Second, staying involved with the organization is only a small way to give back for all that Row New York has done for all of us. I personally would not know where I would be without Row New York. I have to thank each and every Row New York staff member (and my mom) for all that I am today. I am the first in my family to go to college and I am not only earning my degree but I am also rowing for a D1 team, meeting lifelong friends, and overall, loving college. Third, always remember that once a Row New Yorker, always a Row New Yorker! Although we are no longer in middle school or high school, we can stay involved. There are plenty of times to get back on the water and still plenty of support for all of us.