Swinging her golf club, Sofia Aidenmark is UNCG’s first international student and 3rd athlete in the Division I era to be Phi Beta Kappa.

Her freshman year, Sofia Aidemark did not make straight As. The student from Sweden wasn’t so fluent in English. Then she stepped up her game and, sporting a 3.97 GPA three years later, became UNCG’s first student assisted by the International Programs Office to be Phi Beta Kappa.

Phi Beta Kappa is the most prestigious honor society at colleges and universities. She is UNCG’s third athlete in the Division I era to be Phi Beta Kappa.

During her freshman year on the UNCG golf team, she realized she could play with the best, as well. Early in the season, a teammate couldn’t play, so she stepped in – it was Aidemark’s first tournament. “I had 74 in the first round. It gave my coach a shock.”

After hitting a few practice shots a few days before exams, she spoke of how she had matured as a student and person in her years here.

“I’ve learned about being independent, work ethic, a new language [English].”

The best four years of my life.

In her final tournament, the SoCon Championship, she scored a 79 in the first round. “Not so good – I was kind of mad. Coach said, ‘Come on, just enjoy it.’”

The next round, a sparkling 73 pushed her into contention.

But the final round began with a disappointing front nine. Her coach told her to just enjoy the back nine. She resolved that she would. She finished 11th and has no regrets. “I’m satisfied.”

She is moving to South Africa as she embarks on a career in health communications. She wants to work with campaigns to promote healthy eating.

“Food and nutrition is important,” she emphasized.

On that bright, sunny May morning, commencement was just two weeks away. Her parents would come visit her for the second time during her college career – and they’d take a trip to that quintessentially American spot, Niagara Falls.

And then, it’s on to the next part of her life. With four years as a Spartan under her belt. “The best four years of my life.”

Photography by Chris English, University Relations