WHERE ARE THEY NOW: Cassie Peller on track to become a college professor

Chesterton, Marquette University grad working on PhD in biology
2010-04-13T00:00:00Z WHERE ARE THEY NOW: Cassie Peller on track to become a college professorBy Mike Nieto - mike.nieto@nwi.com, (219) 933-3232 nwitimes.com

As an outstanding runner and track athlete, Cassie Peller hasn't followed in too many people's footsteps.

But Peller is taking a career path in which she will follow the footsteps of her parents Tom and Julie. Both are educators and Peller wishes to pursue a career in education.

Her dad, Tom, is a teacher and boys basketball coach at Chesterton High School. Her mom, Julie, teaches chemistry at IU Northwest. Cassie is pursuing her PhD in biology at her college alma mater, Marquette University in Milwaukee. She wants to teach at the college level.

"Both of my parents being teachers certainly had an influence on my wanting to be a teacher," Peller said. "I would also like to coach, but teaching at the college level might make it difficult.

"I really like the idea of motivating people and challenging them to do their best."

Entering the 2010 season, Peller is third all-time outdoors in the 800-meter run (2:10.75) and 1,500 (4:24.55) at Marquette. Between her studies and being a teaching assistant, Peller has a full schedule.

"One of the reasons I came back to Marquette is the opportunity to be a T.A.," she said. "I have that opportunity here and that is a good option. It is so much more laid back here."

Peller received her Bachelor of Science in physiology from Marquette, a coed Jesuit university, and she earned her master's in physiology from IUPUI.

Peller said she still helps with the cross country and track programs at Marquette, and her fiance, Mike Nelson, is the Golden Eagles' men's and women's cross country coach and an assistant track coach.

Peller still does some running, having recently competed in the Ringing in the Spring 5K run in Valparaiso. She took second, with friend and former Valparaiso High School and University of Iowa star Racheal Marchand winning the race.

"It was neat to come back to our hometown and run in a race," Peller said. "We must have run against each other 50 times in high school."

Peller also won the Lakefront Marathon in Milwaukee in October, but was disqualified because it was ruled she took water (or aid) from an outside aid station.

"I just laugh about it now," Peller said. "I didn't intentionally do anything wrong."


The Cassie Peller file

Peller is working on her PhD in biology at Marquette University, where she was a standout cross country runner and track athlete, graduating in 2008.

At Chesterton, she was on the Trojans' state champion 3,200-meter relay team in 2003 and 2004. She was also on the fourth-place 1,600 relay team in 2004 and finished second in the 800 relay in 2003.

In cross country, she was on the 2003 Chesterton team that finished second in state.

Have a Where Now idea?

To submit a "Where Are They Now?" idea, please contact Mike Nieto at mike.nieto@nwi.com or (219) 933-3232.

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