Great Graduates: Rachel Dziuba, OLLU

SAN ANTONIORachel Dziuba’s entire life has revolved around soccer. Growing up, she fell in love with the sport and knew she wanted to play in college. That dream came true when she got the opportunity to play for Our Lady of the Lake University.

“Seeing the vibrancy of this community and the family aspect here was super attractive to me and then also knowing that I could play for four years was like, ‘sign the deal, I was like yep, let’s do it,’” Dziuba said.

Originally from Bulverde, Dziuba, 22, didn’t have to move far to begin her next chapter of life. After arriving on campus, Dziuba quickly realized organization would be key to keeping up with a busy schedule.

“I really had to just write everything down. Every game, practice times. It wasn’t easy to balance it, but it was very intentional,” Dziuba said.

On top of being a student athlete, Dziuba was in Sigma Zeta Honor Society, was a part of the CDP Pen Pals program and was the president of the Student Government Association.

“A lot of what I do revolves around what students tell me, like if they have a complaint or if something’s working really well or if somethings really not working well or if they just want new things,” Dziuba said.

Part of Dziuba’s duties as SGA president included helping re-design the garden area surrounding a lamp post in honor of Sister Jane Anne Slater. The area is now filled with rocks and a blue pathway.

“We did four curves in the pathway to represent our four core values of community, integrity, trust and service,” Dziuba said.

Other than being busy, Dziuba’s college life was seemingly smooth until October of her senior year. That day, her future changed when she hurt her ankle in soccer practice.

“It was really muddy, raining, and just kind of luck of the draw, it got caught and just kind of twisted. I tore a couple of ligaments in my ankle, partially tore a couple of other ones and got like a couple of bone bruises,” Dziuba said.

This changed her path because originally, Dziuba wanted to pursue playing soccer after college. She even hoped she could go semi-pro and play internationally. Her injury was too serious and that is not an option for her anymore.

Even though the emotions of her soccer career ending were tough to get through, Dziuba eventually realized this is the path she is meant to be on.

“It helped me understand that my life doesn’t only revolve around soccer. There’s more good in my life than being able to play and being able to do all of those things,” Dziuba said.

Dziuba will now be attending Rice University in the fall to get her master’s degree in environmental analysis.

As for her time at OLLU, Dziuba graduated in May of 2024 as a double major in biomathematics and environmental sciences. Dziuba says being a student at OLLU is something she will always cherish.

“Being here and being around this community and these people has helped me mentally be like, ‘I’m okay to move forward,” Dziuba said.

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