Lenka Antonijevic on the court/ photo by DePaul Athletics
By Neil Fotre
This is the third and final spotlight in a series on Kellstadt students who are DePaul Women’s Tennis Players. Read parts one and two.
Lenka Antonijevic is almost a walking contradiction but surely an eloquent student enigma. She’s capable of gracefully blending finite, data-driven focus atop innovative teamsmanship. Compounding the paradox, the 23-year-old Kellstadt student believes Chicago pizza is overrated due to the ”gallons of marinera sauce,” yet enjoys making and cooking various sauces for recipes in her spare time!
Antonijevic has an astute intellectual capacity, possessing a dual threat mind. She unlocks the analytical strengths of her brain’s left-side in her academic coursework, while seamlessly integrating her right-side creative serves on the Blue Demon Women’s Tennis Team. “My studies activate the brain and doing well in school means I will have confidence on the court,” she says.
Antonijevic does not just activate her brain with her studies, she has maintained a 4.0 grade point average through the entirety of her undergrad in computer science as well as her current academic pursuit of an MS in Business Analytics (just like her teammates Maddie Yergler and Valentina Martin, she’s in DePaul’s dual degree program).
Humble and equally well-spoken, it would be unbelievable to know at an initial introduction that Antonijevic’s worst subject in school growing up was English.
Antonijevic had a slightly unorthodox path to Kellstadt. A seemingly fateful interaction with a DePaul coach, while she was competing in her home country of Serbia, steered her focus towards Chicago and DePaul. Although, she knew at the age of 10, while watching Serena Williams play, that she wanted to play in the United States.
“It was going to be my first time living alone and my first time living in a big city,” she shares. “But knowing DePaul had other players in the same position as me made me feel better.”
Antonijevic’s hometown in Kragujevac, Serbia has a modest population of 150,000. It was an adjustment coming to Chicago, but she had no trouble finding community at DePaul, especially since the women’s tennis team boasts athletes from six countries outside of the US.
Since arriving in Chicago in the fall of 2017, she has excelled and discovered a new sense of joy. “Every day I fall in love with the city,” says Antonijevic, commenting on her affinity for long walks in Lincoln Park. “Here you can choose the place you want to be. You can go downtown or go to the lake.”
Antonijevic is grateful for her opportunity to be both a student and an athlete, as Serbian universities do not offer athletic opportunities for students during their concentrated studies. She’s proven that her success in both endeavors feed each other, saying that “Everything you do in life is related. If you are disciplined in your work on the tennis court, then you will have that discipline off the court.”
Antonijevic credits her favorite professor Goran Kuljanin for inspiring her to pursue her business analytics concentration at Kellstadt. “And he’s my favorite not just because he’s Serbian-American!” she says.
Successfully defeating Middle Tennessee in their last home match, Antonijevic is no stranger to converting match points into wins on the court. She is also no stranger to converting text to python because Antonijevic enjoys using her coding skills in Kellstadt classes. However, what may seem strange is her affinity for the Dark Knight Trilogy. In between workouts and tests, Antonijevic is an ardent fan of Batman.
While Gotham City is usually draped in the dark, noir of the criminal underworld, Antonijevic has a bright spring and summer to-do list. “This will be my first full summer in Chicago, and I am looking forward to going to the beach and spending time with friends. I would also love to do an American-style road trip to the Grand Canyon,” she says.
She also has great career plans for the summer as she will start her first internship as an IT business analyst at Motorola Solutions—an opportunity she snagged on DePaul’s career resource, Handshake.
Aside from her Kellstadt coursework, in the meantime, Antonijevic’s focus is steered at a conference victory in April and working up the courage to try New England-style lobster.
Neil Fotre is a full-time MS candidate at the Kellstadt Graduate School of Business. He is a former United States Army cavalry officer and a forever seltzer aficionado. He has an MBA from Kellstadt and an MS in investigative journalism from Northwestern University. In-between academics he has become an Instapot chef and homemade chocolate connoisseur. Outside of the kitchen you can spot him on the lakefront trail, running off sugar and caffeine jitters.