Skip to content

Hockey star Megan Carter tells Northeastern graduate class to embrace challenges as something we ‘get to’ do — not an obligation

The graduate student commencement speaker and women’s ice hockey team captain shares lessons she has learned on and off the ice.

Headshot of Megan Carter in graduation regalia smiling and pointing off camera
Graduate student speaker, Megan Carter, captain of the women’s ice hockey team, welcomed Class of 2024 to “the best team I’ve ever been part of.” Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

This is part of our coverage of Northeastern University’s 2024 commencement.

Build a team to lean on and view challenges as something you “get to do” instead of an obligation, Megan Carter told her classmates at Northeastern University’s graduate commencement Sunday morning at Fenway Park in Boston.

“Putting in the work is something we get to do, not something we have to do,” said Carter, captain of the Northeastern women’s ice hockey team who graduated with a master’s degree in human movement and rehabilitation science.

Introducing Carter, Kenneth Henderson, chancellor and senior vice president for learning, said that Carter was a newly minted double Husky as she graduated from Northeastern with a bachelor’s degree in biology last May.

Henderson also commended her achievements both in sports and in academics. 

Carter received three Elite 90 Academic Recognitions from the National Collegiate Athletic Association in addition to being awarded the Hockey East Best Defender of the Year Award for the second year running and a New England Division 1 All-Star recognition. 

“I am honored and grateful to be standing here today,” said Carter, who grew up in Milton, Ontario, about ​​an hour west of Toronto.

Northeastern, Carter said, taught her to seize every opportunity, even when the path wasn’t straight. The two co-ops at Boston hospitals she did as an undergraduate, she said, confirmed she was on the right career path.

“My graduate degree added to that foundation,” she said.

Going to graduate school brought her one step closer to a career as a doctor in sports medicine, she said, and opened her eyes to research. 

Carter offered some words of wisdom to her classmates, sharing two lessons she had learned as an athlete. First, she advised them to see challenges as an opportunity instead of an obligation.

“Build a “get to” mindset,” she said, sharing that that approach helped her through a tough season this year. She said the team posted eight wins and eight losses at the midway point.

She tried to model a “get to” mindset as a captain for her teammates every day, Carter said, because “putting in the work is something we get to do, not something we have to do.” The team went on to achieve 17 wins, making it to the Hockey East Championship game and winning the first-ever women’s Beanpot tournament at TD Garden. That game drew a crowd of 10,633, the largest for a women’s hockey game in New England. Carter herself was named the top defender in Hockey East this season.

The second lesson Carter learned was to build a team of people in her life that she could lean on and learn from.

“As a team captain, there were points when I felt that I had to take on the weight of the world,” she said. “But by surrounding myself with the right people, my perspective was broadened, and the process became more enjoyable.”

These people, she said, might be roommates, professors, co-op advisers, parents or future colleagues, and at the end of the day they would be in “your corner.”

“My wish for each of you is to continue building your own path, even if it takes you on a few detours along the way,” Carter said.

During her speech, Carter also announced that she had officially declared for the Professional Women’s Hockey League Draft, in the hopes of achieving her lifelong dream before going to med school to become a sports medicine physician. She is expected to be picked in an early round of the PWHL draft in June.

She also credited Northeastern’s student hockey fans, the Doghouse, and the pep band for making every game feel like a home game for her and her teammates. 

After Northeastern President Joseph E. Aoun conferred degrees, Carter was on stage one more time with Diane Nishigaya MacGillivray, senior vice president for university advancement, to introduce an alumni video. 

Referring to her speech earlier, Carter said she considers the Northeastern graduate community as a group of people she leans on and learns from, goes to for advice and encouragement, or to find a connection. 

“This is a network that has my back wherever my journey takes me,” she said. “Class of 2024, welcome to the best team I’ve ever been part of!”