Sofey Fugate: OAC Scholar Athlete of the Month

Sofey Fugate: OAC Scholar Athlete of the Month

This story was featured in the Ohio Athletic Conference newsletter for Sofey Fugate's selection as the OAC Scholar Athlete of the Month for March 2016.

 

For any student-athlete, receiving a diverse and challenging educational experience that will prepare them for their future is a top priority. Having a stellar career in their sport is a bonus. For Heidelberg University tennis player Sofey Fugate, both of those have occurred during her time as a Student Prince. From time studying abroad in Spain, to working towards a master's degree, to also performing at an All-Ohio Athletic Conference level on the tennis courts, she has certainly had a complete experience as an NCAA Division III student-athlete.

After deciding to attend Heidelberg out of Lakota East High School in Cincinnati, Fugate chose to major in Psychology with a minor in Spanish. That minor turned out to play a major role in her education when she elected to spend the summer of 2014 studying abroad in Seville, Spain. Despite her having studied the language, there was still a major language barrier to overcome.

"I lived with a host family that I just could not communicate with, even though I had taken Spanish for seven or eight years at that point," said Fugate. "Going through that really improved my communication skills by experiencing all of those difficult situations. When I got back here it made communicating much easier since I was able to look at things from a different perspective."

Fugate was able to complete her undergraduate education in just three years, but decided to stick around for one more year in Tiffin when she earned a position as a graduate assistant for the Heidelberg School of Business. Along with that position she is pursuing an MBA with an expected completion date in the summer.

Balancing that graduate-level education with a job and tennis is something most student-athletes don't have to deal with, but Fugate has been more than capable of handling the challenge.

"Adding the job was a little difficult at first, but I just work in the morning, go to tennis in the afternoon, and then go to class at night," said Fugate. "Time management was something I was forced to learn my freshman year and now I just have to be prepared for 17-hour days sometimes."

Despite the level of difficulty of Fugate's education and work, she has been very successful on the tennis courts for Heidelberg. She is a three-time 2nd team All-OAC honoree with one season left to play and also earned Academic All-OAC recognition last spring.

With a variety of experiences under her belt to go along with her education, Fugate is confident that this will lead to a career of purpose with distinction.

"I don't think I would have had the opportunity to be this well-rounded somewhere else," said Fugate. I can't decide whether I want to work for a business or in higher education, but I've really enjoyed my experiences here. Either way, I'm sure I'll be able to find a job I'll enjoy."