Jacqueline Rodriguez plays rugby for the University of Arizona and may one day be a sports physician treating athletes at the highest levels of play.
Jacqueline, now 19 and a sophomore at the University of Arizona pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences, also plans to attend medical school, ”I’m an athlete and I did a little bit of sports medicine in high school and I really enjoyed it, so I think I would be pretty good at it.”
Jacqueline adds that a lifetime spent playing sports like basketball and rugby is fueling her passion to work in professional sports, “I started playing basketball when I was eleven and now rugby is a big part of my life. I pride myself on being self-disciplined and playing rugby is by far the most challenging thing I’ve done mentally and physically.”
Jacqueline graduated from Desert View High School in Tucson and went on to earn a scholarship from College Success Arizona, which provides up to six thousand dollars per year for educational expenses. Recipients of the scholarships are also provided with specialized mentoring services which involves a Success Adviser (mentor) working with the student throughout their college experience.
Jacqueline says the mentorship has been a huge help: “My adviser is Matt, Matt Sotelo. He is my Dwayne Johnson, he’s the rock. We meet twice a semester and he’s very encouraging and helps keep me on track with my plans and goals.”
She adds that the scholarship has helped to limit student debt, “Oh definitely. I have not paid anything out of my own pocket, and I don’t think I will ever need to based on how much they help me.”
Jacqueline says college has helped her overcome challenges, “It helped me grow a lot. I’ve learned that sometimes you really do need to just gut it out. When you’re drowning in exams you just really have to set your mind straight and have the discipline to do it and just keep going along with it. If you can’t have a positive attitude about it, at least have a resilient one that you’ll get through it.”
Students considering their own college course may consider Jennifer’s words worth remembering, “Do the things that scare you and make you nervous. Do the things that you’re so hesitant to move forward with because those little leaps of faith – I think – are vital and invaluable. Whether you get a good experience out of it or a bad one, you’re going to learn something about yourself.”