Every Thursday, GoStanford.com will present an interview with a Stanford women’s gymnastics alumna. This week, recent graduate Nicole Dayton features Trina Wiggins (’82) who competed in the all-around and graduated with a degree in human biology.
Nicole: Can you describe what you have been doing since graduating from Stanford?
Trina: After graduating, I attended medical school at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. From there, I completed my internship and residency in pediatrics at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital.
While in St. Louis, I met my husband who is an obstetrician/gynecologist. After I completed my training, my husband and I moved to Phoenix, Ariz., where I worked for a federally funded health center and he worked for a tertiary care hospital for the Native American population. We relocated to Las Vegas 16 years ago. While in Las Vegas, I have worked for a federally funded clinic and a primary care group.
When my boys entered high school, I began working as a volunteer pediatrician with Volunteers in Medicine of Southern Nevada to provide healthcare to children who are uninsured. These patients are probably the most enjoyable group I’ve worked with because they are very appreciative of the care. It also allows me to spend quality time with my patients without being on a time clock. It’s been a very rewarding experience.
In addition to my volunteer work, my hobby is participating in fitness shows. I started about 10 years ago when my sister challenged me to compete in fitness. Fitness competitions are basically a glorified floor exercise routine. I picked it up 21 years after being done with gymnastics. I can still do a press to handstand and cartwheel back handsprings. In 2011, I won the Classic Division for Fitness America. Just this past Sunday, I won the Nevada State Senior Olympics for the dance/fitness division.
Nicole: Can you tell us about your summer program, Fit Kidz?
Trina: Fit Kidz began about 9 years ago. As a pediatrician, I witnessed the childhood obesity epidemic unfold right in front of my eyes. I tried educating my patients in the office setting without much success. I would talk until I was blue in the face to only have them gain weight at the next visit. So, I decided to step out of the office and into the gym to educate and demonstrate how to live a healthy lifestyle.
The camps incorporated nutrition education such as learning portion control, understanding the importance of fruits and vegetables, and reading food labels. I would also bring in tasty healthy foods for the kids to try. Before bringing in the foods, I would have my harshest critics, my twins (Marcus and Malcolm) give the thumbs up before bringing the food in for the kids. The kids always enjoyed the snacks!
In addition to the nutrition, I would lead the kids in a fun obstacle course for 20 minutes non-stop followed by stretching. Recently, I have been doing the camps on occasion for some local organizations in Las Vegas. Since the boys are now in college, my goal is to restart the camps on a regular basis.
Nicole: What lessons have you carried with you from your experience on the Stanford gymnastics team?
Trina: The whole team aspect; it was a pretty close knit team. Really what it taught me was perseverance. It was tough being a student-athlete, especially being pre-med. It taught me time management because it was tough to get to class and lab on top of practice. This applies to all aspects of life. It really helped my organizational skills.
Nicole: What are your favorite memories from being on the team at Stanford?
Trina: At one meet, my whole dorm came to watch and I did the best vault I had ever done. Vault was my favorite event, and I my vault of choice that night was a handspring front. I also remember that after an away meet, the team went to an old timer’s photo store and dressed up in western attire and took pictures.
Nicole: What are your favorite Stanford memories outside of gymnastics?
Trina: The best memories are the football games and the entire social life. Our dorm always went to the games and other events together. It was a lot of fun.
Nicole: I know your twin sons are freshmen here on the basketball team. Was their move-in day similar to what you remember from yours?
Trina: It was the same, but a little more work because there are two of them. It definitely took me down memory lane. I remember how my mom helped me unpack and move in when I got to campus, and now it was both my mom and I helping my sons unpack and move in.
Nicole: Are you happy they chose Stanford?
Trina: Absolutely. I have been involved with Stanford over the past 20 years. The boys have come with me to football games and they have participated in children’s events at the reunions. They always told me that they wanted to attend a great academic institution and play Division I basketball. So, to see their dreams come true is incredible.
Nicole: Do you have any advice for the girls on the SWG team now?
Trina: Even though you are busy, enjoy the moment. It’s easy to move from one thing to the next and get caught up in the “rat race” that you fail to enjoy Stanford in the moment. Now when I come back, it’s my chance to really embrace Stanford. It’s a beautiful atmosphere and one of the best institutions in the country. Enjoy everything that Stanford has to offer, and try to do that while you are here. So that would be my advice: just embrace and enjoy it in the moment.