At Poets&Quants for Undergrads, we’ve been fortunate enough to feature many elite athletes. But never have we had the opportunity to feature a two-time olympian. Until this year when were were able to feature Nicole Rajic, a figure skater who competed in this year’s PeongChang Winter Olympics as well as the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. This past May, the figure skater who competed for Slovakia, where her family is originally from, walked alongside her fellow graduates and collected her diploma from Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business in New York.
The global finance major is a three-time Slovakian national champion and finished 14th in PeongChang, improving on her 24th-place finish in Sochi. Like many of the world’s most elite athletes, Rajic started young. She was three-years-old when she first started ice skating. Unlike many of the world’s most elite athletes, Rajic didn’t sacrifice an education while pursuing her dreams of competing in multiple olympics.
“I was so excited to go to school after not being in class for a year,” Rajic told us after taking a year off in preparation for the Sochi Olympics. “I was really happy to sit down and study and regrow my brain cells, and I found myself being a better skater when I had school to think about. It kept me on a set schedule, and I was a whole lot more productive on the ice, knowing I had limited time to do everything.”
When Carlos Sera accepted his diploma from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business last spring, he did so as the only grandfather in the class. At 81-years-old, Sera returned to the school for one last semester to finish his bachelors in business administration degree. It was 1959 when Sera dropped out of Georgetown’s McDonough School just four credits shy of earning his degree. Sera, who is Cuban and whose father was a Cuban diplomat in the U.S. at the time, decided to enter the business world early when Fidel Castro’s administration came into power. Instead of completing his degree, Sera began a life’s-long career as an international business person, often logging upwards of 250,000 air miles in a year.
“I joined a firm out of Evansville, Indiana that was setting up a complete service to their clients for anything that was shipped nationally or internationally,” says Sera. “The international part was my part.”
Sera retired just four years ago and around the same time, his granddaughter visited Georgetown for a college visit. The family new Sera was a Georgetown Hoya, but were not aware of the exact details. Sera’s granddaughter purchased him a Georgetown sweatshirt as a gift and upon return asked him, “Abuelo, did you graduate?” The question prompted Sera to tell the story of his early life and explore the opportunity of finishing the final four credits. Multiple emails with Georgetown happened before the school was able to excavate his transcript from 1959 and enroll him in the final course he needed to graduate. This past spring, Sera did just that.