Computer science major Angela Pratt has been swinging a tennis racket since the age of six when her father first introduced her to the game. Now a junior on the nationally ranked Carnegie Mellon University women’s tennis team, Pratt uses her offseason to advance her game by playing in doubles tournaments with her dad. She’s even had the chance to play on grass rather than the traditional hard-court surface.
Computer science also runs in the Pratt family, as both her parents are in software development, but Pratt’s decision to follow suit didn’t come until her senior year of high school when she took a programming class which piqued her interest. She took additional classes as graduation neared which started her current career path, although she’s still undetermined where it will lead.
“There is so much I can go into and computer science has so many applications,” Pratt said. “I’m looking into the financial sector and different tech companies for internship opportunities.”
The junior has had her share of tennis success as a Tartan, playing in the NCAA Quarterfinals with the team as a freshman and returning to the national spotlight as a sophomore, pairing with teammate Katie Cecil in doubles action to earn All-America distinction.
“That was really fun,” Pratt recalls of the NCAA Tournament. “I really enjoyed competing in the NCAA tournament. When we went as a team my freshman year, it was such a cool experience and so I really wanted to go back. Obviously there’s more energy with the team but competing as an individual was a great experience.”
Pratt has had to adjust her game for doubles since she had little experience playing with a partner prior to college. That initial experience came via mixed doubles tournaments with her dad, who was a two-year player at the University of Notre Dame, as they would travel to Southern California to compete.
An open tournament hosted at a park near her high school was the beginning of the father/daughter tournament run when Pratt was 12-years-old. That led to their first national tournament in San Diego in the summer of 2006. The duo has continued to compete together and played a grass-court tournament in Massachusetts, where they placed third and earned the Bronze Ball, their second trophy together.
“Playing on grass was something I had never done before and I thought it was a cool idea,” Pratt said. “We also have family in Massachusetts and the timing was right during the summer. We’ve played in three grass-court tournaments.”
When asked if she has plans to continue playing alongside her namesake, Pratt said, “I definitely want to win a Gold Ball! That’s my goal and I think that’s his too.”
A native of Saratoga, California, Pratt traveled east to Carnegie Mellon once she looked into the computer science program. After meeting the team and coaches she knew being a Tartan is what she wanted.
“I wanted to get out of the Bay Area for a new experience,” Pratt said. “Carnegie Mellon’s computer science program offered more than any other and I enjoyed my visit with the tennis team and coaches.”
Pratt has concentrated on being a leader on the women’s tennis team this season.
“I think we have a strong team and can be very successful this year,” Pratt said. “We have four really talented freshmen that are really competitive. We’ll find a lot out about us in just a week at Indoors [the upcoming ITA Indoor Tournament] but I believe we can compete with all the top teams, especially if we keep working hard and keep our focus.”