I do have a Voice

by: Alexis Christie

Growing up in the suburbs of St. Louis, Regina Doty had a very different start than most college lacrosse players. One of seven siblings, two of whom also played college sports, she was certainly no stranger to competition.

Still, to keep things fair, any activity that one of the kids actively participated in was off-limits in the backyard. With limited opportunities even around her hometown to participate in organized lacrosse, Doty started playing with the local boys’ team to polish her skills.

“The physicality of the boys’ game helped me a lot going into college,” she remembered.

When she got to high school and was able to play with other girls, she was already a step ahead when it came to being assertive in her style of play.

Soon, she began to set her sights on playing in college, but she wanted to make sure lacrosse was not the only thing that excited her about the school she chose.

“The physicality of the boys’ game helped me a lot going into college,”

“My parents had always really emphasized putting academics first,” she said. “You don’t know what’s going to happen with coaches, or who your teammates are going to be, or what a program will be like, but you have to go to a place that you know you would love to be and feel like you’re supposed to be no matter what.”

Ohio State fit that bill perfectly. Following in the footsteps of several of her family members, including her mom, Doty wanted to study engineering, a field in which Ohio State’s program is one of the best in the country.

Despite not being recruited to the lacrosse team, Doty knew she had what it took to make it and became a walk-on in her first year on campus. While she was ecstatic to play, she also couldn’t wait to bring her unique voice to the team.

“I’ve also been super passionate about being a part of changing a culture, and I felt that was something I could bring to the Ohio State lacrosse team. No matter what my role looked like, I wanted to be a part of that,” Doty said, emphasizing her selfless approach to making an impact.

While she loved her time on the lacrosse team and grew into a distinct leader amongst her teammates, she also became more and more passionate about her studies. She dove head-first into engineering classes. However, she quickly noticed something interesting the more lecture halls she went into.

“All my classes in college … it literally was a sea of men,” Doty remembered. “I never really took the time to recognize how uncommon it is for not only a female but a female athlete to be in the field of engineering.”

Still, she never felt out of place or uncomfortable. She asserted herself and made sure her opinions were never drowned out, becoming a strong source of influence in every room she entered.

“I don’t realize how much I stand out because I do have a voice and I do belong,” she described, showcasing her firm belief and confidence in herself.

Her dedication to and success within that engineering space soon led her to an internship with Ruscilli Construction Company, and her work with them was so impressive they quickly hired her upon her graduation from Ohio State.

Despite her shift from college student-athlete to new hire, it wasn’t long before her position led her back toward the world of lacrosse. Construction of a brand-new lacrosse facility right on Ohio State’s athletic campus was approved in the summer of 2021, giving the men’s and women’s team a dedicated space in which to practice, play, watch film and more.

“It’s nice to know we have a space for development and growth to call our own,” Amy Bokker, women’s lacrosse head coach, said. “We’re used to hearing our athletes playing wall ball and doing things to develop their skillset out here [around the Schumaker Complex]. Now it’s nice to have a one-stop shop where you can do all those things.”

The new facility features enclosed turf fields with specified space for wall ball, areas for defensive footwork practice and heated indoor shooting sections. However, one could say the coolest part of the new stadium is arguably the fact a former player helped build it.

"I do have a voice and I do belong ...”

“Being a part of this stadium team now has been really cool because I’ve been able to see the vision the coaches have had come to life and the opportunity that this provides for the players.  The chance to give Ohio State lacrosse families a place to come is going to be so cool and really make Ohio State a hotspot for lacrosse,” Doty said.

With Ruscilli taking on the primary construction duties on the project, she became the project engineer and was heavily involved in multiple aspects of the build, which took place over the course of around a full year.

“I help out both our superintendent and our project manager,” she described. “The superintendent runs the work, runs the job, works directly with our subcontractors and is out in the field all the time. Our project manager is managing a lot more of the financial side of things; [he’s] meeting with the owners and stuff like that. My role is to enhance what they’re doing,”

While she greatly enjoys this aspect of her job and has developed a great deal of skill with the more organizational side of things, she couldn’t wait to get involved on an even deeper level.

In fact, she did not hesistate in saying that her favorite part of the job was “being on site. I’m willing to get down and dirty to learn. I’m not scared to try new things and I’m not scared to ask questions.”

Doty has always enjoyed the physical building aspect of engineering and stressed that she doesn’t “want to be sitting at a desk all day.”

One could say the coolest part of the new stadium is arguably the fact a former player helped build it.

For Coach Bokker, just knowing one of the faces behind the team behind the build was a huge comfort.

“To have someone who really knows and cares about the game and wants to get it right for the program was so important,” she said. “Regina’s someone that has so much pride in our program. It was really easy to have peace of mind that she was involved behind the scenes every step of the way.”

On Doty’s side of things, the stadium project was another opportunity to impact those around her in a way that was brand new to her. While playing, she learned to “draw people up with you and bring them along on this journey,” a skill she tries to bring into every new project with Ruscilli.

“That’s what it really means to be not just a good teammate but a great teammate,” she continued.

As she moves on from the stadium project, she hopes to bring that same sense of leadership and cooperation she has carried from her lacrosse career through now.

Ohio State was a key part of fostering that attitude within her. She said that, playing for the Buckeyes and having “the opportunity to play under Amy and how empowering she was for me in standing up for myself and chasing what I love and being a strong woman in the workforce” was extremely influential on her career. That career is one that continues to blossom the more confident she gets, making it exciting to think about what this former Buckeye will do next.