by Danielle Joubert '20
The life of a student-athlete can be hectic. Athletics and academics each require intense focus and commitment, making high achievement in both areas extremely difficult. But some have what it takes to maintain excellence across the board. Bradley Anair '19 is case in point.
Over his four years at Saint Michael's, Bradley has maintained a nearly 4.0 GPA as a Biology major while playing varsity men's soccer, most recently as team captain. "Brad was one of the top soccer players in Vermont in 2015," says Wade Jean, head coach of the men's team, who recruited Bradley out of high school. "It was a no-brainer for us to go after him." Bradley had previously played for Jean's club team, making the transition to the Purple Knights an easy one.
And that's not all. Bradley's father, Rick Anair, was Wade's teammate at Johnson State College (which merged with Lyndon State College to become Northern Vermont University on July 1, 2018).
"We've always held St. Mike's in very high regard academically," Rick says. "I was honored when Wade recruited Brad." The two have been good friends since their time at NVU-Johnson in the 1980s, as have their wives and fellow NVU-Johnson alumnae Suzanne Anair and Marcy Jean.
For the Anairs, soccer has always been a family affair. "Before I could even walk he was rolling soccer balls at me," Bradley says of his father's efforts to spark his interest in the sport. Luckily for Rick, Bradley took to it quickly. He began playing at the age of 4 and never quit.
"It seemed to click almost from the start," Rick says. "Soccer has given us a lot of time together that can't be easily replaced." Rick enjoyed coaching Bradley throughout his childhood and pre-college soccer career. All the way up to Bradley's final season this fall, his parents have done their best to attend every one of his games. The two are from Bennington, VT and have had Saint Michael's in mind for a long time. In a way, they've become part of the Purple Knight family as well. "Both Rick and his wife Sue have been so gracious to our team over the last four years, providing team meals and help whenever possible," Wade says.
Rather than seeming overwhelmed by the juggling act of his college career, Bradley credits soccer with helping his academic discipline. "You have to be really focused and I think soccer has helped me with that focus. Just about every minute of every day is going to something important, whether it's school or soccer. Definitely when you're in season you just have to find time during the day to make things happen."
And soccer isn't the only thing to run in the family. Rick and Suzanne Anair both work in health care administration, he as the director of a medical group and she as a nursing home administrator. Many of their friends are physicians, some having given Bradley a chance to shadow them.
But for Bradley, working in medicine is a goal entirely of his own. Rick insists that his son outshines him as both a soccer player and a student. "My wife and I joke that his GPA is probably ours combined from when we were in college," he says.
While his parents work as administrators in the health field, Bradley wants to work as a physician. He has a general passion for the sciences and sees medical school as the best way to apply it.
"Both of my parents work in health care but neither of them really from a clinical standpoint … I think that definitely had an influence, but I really just like that I can still do the science aspect of it that I'm interested in and also apply it toward helping people and making a difference," he says. So far, his path to med school seems clear.
This summer, Bradley joined the on-campus summer research team of Professor Ruth Fabian-Fine, which involved studying the nervous systems of Central American hunting spiders. He also spent two weeks observing at a hospital in Lithuania during his sophomore year and has completed internship experiences at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center and Green Mountain Antibodies.
While Bradley hasn't settled on a medical specialization yet, he thinks that this wealth of experience will be a major factor in helping him decide. "I think it'll definitely help make me a better physician in the future, too," he points out. For now, he awaits news on his medical school applications, eager to see where his education will take him next.