Profile ~ Karyn Altman, Massachusetts - 2011

Karyn AltmanWhen Karyn entered MIT as a civil engineering major, she never expected that the sport she loved in high school would re-enter her life. As MIT was increasing its enrollment of women students, it also began to offer more intercollegiate sports for women. During her playing years, the MIT Volleyball team won the MA State Tournament, the East Coast Regional and attended the AIAW Small College Nationals. It was very satisfying that no one expected a group of engineering students from a small college to be so successful. Karyn attributes this success to good coaching.

As a professional engineer in Virginia, Karyn volunteered with the George Mason University volleyball team, and applied to graduate programs in physical education. She left her engineering job (“never to return”) and attended the University of Nebraska where she was a graduate assistant for the Cornhuskers’ nationally ranked Division I team. After coaching at Harvard and Wentworth, Karyn was hired by MIT and remained there as women’s volleyball coach (she also started the men’s varsity team) until 1992.

With a belief that “the process of mastering various aspects of your sport of choice provides pride and confidence that carries you through all the aspects of your life” Karyn started the MASSPIKE Volleyball Camp. For 19 years, Karyn and 30 staff members have taught over 400 players of all levels the techniques of volleyball. Her goal is “to challenge each player to reach the next highest playing level”. Her hope is “to spread the joy” that volleyball has given her over the last 38 years.