Meet Simron Richard, Spider forward and, as of August, American citizen.

In a fall season when the national anthem became a hot-button issue, sophomore Simron Richard was getting her own fresh perspective of it. This was her first season as an American citizen.

“I think it feels the same, honestly,” said Richard, who has lived in Virginia since third grade and became a citizen in August. “But it feels cool to call myself a citizen of the place that I’ve been a part of for a long time, which is truly a place of great opportunities.”

Born in Tiruchirappalli — often called Trichy — in India’s Tamil Nadu state, she came at a young age to the U.S., a move her parents made to offer educational opportunities to their children. After stops in Oklahoma and Minnesota, the family settled in the Richmond area.

Richard became a U.S. citizen with her future in her mind.

At Deep Run High School, Richard was coached by former Spider captain Nicole Froman Marks, ’01, who introduced her to coach Peter Albright. She was considering schools like the University of Pennsylvania when she decided to stay closer to home.

Richard became a U.S. citizen with her future in her mind. She’s a psychology major and religious studies minor who takes pre-med courses. Her goal is to become a doctor with an organization like Doctors Without Borders. A U.S. passport will make traveling the world to serve the poor easier, she said.

Even with her change in citizenship, she keeps her Indian roots close to her heart, speaking Tamil at home and regularly enjoying her mom’s cooking. At her swearing-in ceremony, she was taken by what she saw around her: people from seemingly everywhere, many of them dressed in ways that reflected where they came from.

“I liked that community of people from all over coming together in this place,” she said. “I feel like their identity didn’t change because they became citizens.”