Jessica McAlear
Jessica McAlear
Title: Class of 2012
Organization: Women's Crew

WPI Women’s Crew has enjoyed great successes in its first decade as a varsity program. Tonight we celebrate its rise as we proudly induct its first rower into the Hall of Fame—Jess McAlear. 

Following a strong rookie campaign on the water in 2001, McAlear and her teammates burst onto the regional and national rowing scene during her sophomore season. The Engineers were ranked as high as fifth in the NCAA ranking, claiming the Baker Cup, placing second at the City Championships and third at the NEWMAC regatta. McAlear and the varsity eight were sixth in the grand final at the New England Rowing Championships and first in the third-level competition at the Avaya Collegiate Championships in West Windsor, N.J.

McAlear holds the WPI record for a 2k erg (7:04) and a 6k erg (22:52). Those performances knocked on the door of International Elite standards and no WPI athlete since has come close to matching those times. 

She also proved successful in the classroom, as she was named a Verizon-CoSIDA Academic District I First Team selection and a third team All-America member. 

In her senior season, McAlear powered the varsity eight to victories in the Donahue Cup against Williams and Connecticut College, the Bernie Brown Cup  against Tufts, the Worcester City Championships, and a quad regatta with Brown, Bates, and Wellesley. The Engineers had their best-ever showing at the New England Rowing Championships, earning a bronze medal in the grand finals. 

“Eight years after Jess's tenure as a WPI rower, her individual and team accomplishments stand alone,” says head coach Jason Steele. "She played a key role on the most successful Women's Varsity 8 in WPI history — Jess set a standard of excellence for this program that continues to shape us to this day.” 

McAlear became a fixture at the WPI Athletics Awards banquet. In 2002 she took home the Carolyn McCabe Award given to the sophomore female athlete who best exemplifies the high standards expressed in “The WPI Athlete.” A year later she was honored with the Poly Club Award given to the top junior female athlete who has outstanding academic records along with campus involvement of a non-athletic nature. She capped her career by winning the Varsity Club Award, presented to the female senior athlete for her achievements, contributions, character, leadership, sportsmanship, and promotion of school spirit during her years at WPI. 

Her accomplishments in rowing did not end with graduation. McAlear has earned distinction both nationally and internationally, winning a bronze medal at the Head of the Charles, competing at the Women's Henley Regatta, and claiming a pair of German University championships. 

A double major in biology and biotechnology and international studies, McAlear graduated from WPI in 2004. The NCAA Woman of the Year nominee and Two Towers Award winner has coached collegiately at St. Lawrence and Clarkson.