March 31, 2014
By Nick Barnowski, MSU Athletic Communications student assistant
Heading into her freshman year at Michigan State, Jennifer Yen had a decision to make.
While her skills on the court were worthy of NCAA competition, she wasn't sure if she wanted to play in school.
After four years on the Spartan women's tennis team, Yen is glad she did.
"I just wanted to play and compete for fun," the 22-year-old said. "I really wanted to focus on my schoolwork, but at the same time I tried to weigh the pros of college tennis."
Those pros included being on a team, learning leadership skills, and connecting with teammates, and that, as she stated emphatically, is why she "decided to (play) tennis at Michigan State."
Yen's tennis career began at the age of seven. Her mom, Chin-Huey, played tennis recreationally and got into the sport because of her. In no time, she was playing competitively.
Growing up in Farmington Hills, Mich., a town heavily involved in sports, allowed Yen's love for the game to develop.
"It's very cultured, very diverse," Yen said of her hometown. "There's a lot you can do there. It's very involved in sports and our community is really revolved around that."
The senior said that her relationship with her mom and dad, Richard, is close and has helped her on the tennis court and in the classroom.
"They were really involved in my academics and my extracurricular activities," she said. "They really pushed me to be the best that I could be."
Yen attended North Farmington High School and excelled in tennis before coming to MSU because of its location and its academic programs.
As a freshman, she said the team environment was different but learned to embrace it.
"I came in a little shy and quiet," she said. "I was a little reserved to myself. Eventually I learned what it's like to be a part of a team, how to work with other people and communicate with them. It helped me learn how to fight through adversity, how to step in when I need to, and that stuff I learned from tennis can definitely be applied out in the real world."
Yen currently holds an 18-14 career record while playing doubles, which she said she enjoys the most. She is 3-5 this year and picked up a wins over Oakland and Wright State in February. In 2012-13, she went 7-1 overall at the No. 3 doubles spot.
She credits a change in mentality for her success on the court.
"I remember when I first started playing, I used to get upset about every single point," Yen noted. "Now I know I can't let that affect me, I just have to get over it."
Off the court, Yen is a supply chain management major and has already landed a future job in North Carolina at IBM.
"At first, I didn't even know what supply chain management was," the former mechanical engineering major said. "I heard supply chain was a really hot major and a lot of companies are looking for supply chain so that's why I decided to give it a try."
Just like with her major choice, her choice to play tennis at Michigan State has seems to have paid off.
"Looking back, tennis has been a huge part of my life," she said. "Going into college tennis has really helped me become the person I am today."