DUBOIS – Though her college softball career was truly gone in a flash, Woodland native Aspen Bishop has much bigger plans in life than can be found on a softball diamond.
(Photos courtesy of Melissa Bishop)
The soon to be Penn State DuBois alum is finishing up an associate’s degree to become an occupational therapy assistant. Presently, she is working for the West Branch School District as a part of her rotations after completing her first one at Centre Care in Bellefonte.
“I knew that Penn State Dubois was the right fit for me because I loved the small campus and how great all of my professors were,” Bishop said. “I knew I still wanted to be close to home, and they had a degree I was interested in.”
What got her interested in healthcare and occupational therapy was watching how medical professionals helped her grandmother growing up. From her rotations, she has discovered that the educational setting is where she hopes to begin her career. Bishop will finish up her curriculum at Penn State DuBois in December and will spend the winter preparing for her board exams and job searching.
But, before solely focusing on her studies, Bishop was a standout student-athlete for the Penn State DuBois Nittany Lions softball program. Across 47 games in two seasons, she hit .471 with 77 hits, 57 runs batted in, 50 runs scored, 22 doubles, and five home runs. While she did technically play in two college seasons, her first year at Penn State DuBois included a shortened season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While it was devastating Bishop and her teammates were motivated heading into 2021 and won the Pennsylvania State University Athletic Conference (PSUAC) title and went on the deepest run in the history of their program in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) Small College World Series.
An important component of that team was the play of Bishop who was named a PSUAC East Division First-Team selection, the PSUAC East Division Newcomer of the Year, the PSUAC Player of the Year, a USCAA All American, a PSUAC Hitter of the Week, and placed third in the Small College World Series Home Run Derby during her time as a collegiate softball player.
Coming out of high school, there was no debate that Bishop was a big time player as she was a two-time All-State selection in Class AAAA, picked up Mountain League First-Team and Second-Team honors for the Lady Bison, and was a selection to the Progressland All-Star team.
Looking back on her time as an athlete, the former Lady Bison standout said, “I started playing softball when I was about 10. I always knew I wanted to be a collegiate athlete from the time I started softball. My career as a collegiate athlete went quick and although I do not play anymore, it will always be a part of my life and I am thankful for all the opportunities and accomplishments I have had.”
Looking back, some of her favorite memories from softball include hitting her first collegiate home-run in Florida, hitting a grand slam against Penn State Brandywine, beating Carlow during the Small College World Series, and making such great friendships through the sport over the years.
The Woodland native is thankful for a collection of people who helped make her days as an athlete as successful as they could be. Those people include her parents Melissa and Bill Bishop, who have been her number one supporters in softball from the first time she took the field. She also credits her coaches Danny Rowles, Tim Dyke, Wes Cartwright, Dave Breon, Derek Danver, and Jason Kern for making her a better person along with being a better player over a decade she spent playing the game.
Though softball has ended after fall ball, Aspen Bishop has a bigger purpose in her life. She hopes to make a positive difference in the education and health care industries for many years to come while continuing to be around softball in a new way as much as she can.