Stephanie Zimmer is a pre-junior biology major and the president of Drexel’s Quidditch team.
The Triangle: What’s your story and how did you end up at Drexel?
Stephanie Zimmer: I’m a [University of Pennsylvania] legacy and wanted to go there my whole life. My parents made me tour Drexel’s campus on the same day we toured Penn. I felt welcome and wanted at Drexel and the opposite at Penn. Between the co-op program and a dragon for a mascot, I ended up here. Dragons beat Quakers any day, anyway.
TT: How did you get involved with Drexel’s Quidditch team?
SZ: It was an accident. I never knew that a group of freshmen had formed a team until I heard about the first meeting by chance on the day that it was held.
TT: What position do you play?
SZ: We switch around a lot but tend to have favorite positions. I usually choose chaser because I’m too small to make a decent keeper. My hands are too small to easily hold the dodgeballs used for bludgers, and I’m not fast enough to be a seeker. In practice, we tend to skip the seeker and snitch. However, my size does allow me to easily weave in and out of other players.
TT: How different is this sport than the Quidditch we see in the books and movies, and what’s the most challenging part of adapting it for the Muggle world?
SZ: Most of the rules are the same. The main difference is that we’re not flying. The hardest part to adapt is also the one I get the most questions about: the snitch. It’s been solved by dressing a person in gold, attaching a tube sock containing a tennis ball to his shorts (using Velcro), and telling the seeker to catch the tennis ball. Besides that, we use a partially deflated volleyball for the quaffle and dodgeballs for the bludgers (there are no bats; they’re just thrown). There are also three bludgers, so that one team can’t hog them. There are a total of five balls, so our motto has become, “More balls than the average sport.”
TT: Who do you compete against? Do you have uniforms?
SZ: We compete against other schools in the area, mostly Penn because they’re close and convenient. Currently, our uniforms are our Drexel Quidditch T-shirts. We hope to have real uniforms someday.
TT: Which character from “Harry Potter” do you identify with most and why?
SZ: I can never decide between Luna and Hermione. My work ethic and devotion to my studies and getting A’s draws me to Hermione. But Luna matches my whimsical, carefree side.
TT: If you conjured a Patronus, what form would it take? Why do you think so?
SZ: An elephant. I’m small and petite, so a big, strong animal would be good protection. Sometimes I like to say that I want to be an elephant. It’d be fun to have a trunk.
TT: What house do you think you’d be sorted into and why?
SZ: Ravenclaw. When I was younger and reading the early books, Gryffindor was the house that the main characters were in, so I wanted to be in it and was sure I would be. As you learned more about the other houses in later books, and I got older, I realized Ravenclaw was more likely to be my house. The characteristics fit me better. They are intelligent, driven individuals. I wish we had met more awesome Ravenclaws.
TT: What’s your dream job?
SZ: I would like to work in a research lab that focuses on Duchenne muscular dystrophy. DMD is a recessive X-linked muscle-wasting disease that affects about one in 3,500 boys. It has a really tragic progression where boys are wheelchair bound by 12 and die by their 20s. I’ve been fascinated by DMD since I first learned about it in high school biology. Since then I have written two papers, done half a project, and given two presentations on the disease and possible therapeutics. I also like helping people get better but could never be a doctor. Working on a disease from the research side is my way of contributing to a happier world.
TT: What is your most memorable Drexel moment so far?
SZ: That would be watching our women’s basketball team win the Women’s National Invitation Tournament this past April. It’s not the WNCAA, but it’s still a national championship. Since Drexel isn’t known for its athletics, I think it’s a big deal. I also play in the pep band and rarely miss games, so I’ve been watching the women for three years now. I love them, but I hated how few students show up to games. One of the best things about that day (besides the win) was seeing the DAC packed for a women’s game.
Triangle Talks is a weekly column that highlights members of the Drexel community.