Author Archives: OLLUNewsletter

Senior capstone presentation for Spanish program to be held Thursday

The Spanish program invites the OLLU community to the Senior Capstone presentation, “12 años de DACA: Membresía por 2 años,” on Thursday, July 15 at 1:30 p.m. in Main 225.

Spanish major Orianna Isidro will make the presentation in Spanish for SPAN 4395, a required course for all Spanish majors For questions/preguntas about the capstone presentation, contact mlarraga@ollusa.edu

Star Hernandez, who is double majoring in Spanish and Mathematics, will complete the senior capstone later this month. 

National Science Foundation awards S-STEM grant to OLLU

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a $650,000 Scholarship in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S-STEM) grant to OLLU, which will directly benefit students throughout the next five years.

The project, titled Growing a Network for Aspiring Scholars (GANAS), will support two cohorts of 10 STEM undergraduates majoring in Biology, Chemistry, Chemical Biology, Math, Biomathematics and/or Computer Information Systems and Security. Students will receive $5,000 each year for four years. 

The first cohort starts this year. The second cohort begins in the 2022-2023 academic year. The NSF S-STEM grant provides $450,000 for student scholarships and $200,000 for support activities, which include travel for GANAS Scholars to present research at professional society meetings and conferences.

“I am really excited,” said Teresita Munguia, PhD, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Principal Investigator for this project. “This has been the culmination of several years of work on this grant. With scholarship money and support activities, such as family integration, mentoring and STEM learning communities, the GANAS Scholarship program will impact students by improving retention in STEM fields and enhancing STEM career readiness.” 


Vanessa Clark, PhD, Co-Principal Investigator for the project, echoed her colleague’s excitement. “I am thrilled to be a part of this project and work hand-in-hand with other STEM departments across campus,” said Clark, Department Chair and Associate Professor of Computer Information Systems and Security. “This project is proof of the exciting benefits that interdisciplinary collaboration within our institution can bring to our students.” 

Students will be recruited primarily from local high schools with concentrated poverty. GANAS scholars will be selected based on academic merit, a personal essay, an interview and community/extracurricular involvement.

The goal of the GANAS project is to increase STEM degree completion and increase career readiness of low-income, academically talented undergraduates with demonstrated financial need. Through scholarly research, GANAS seeks to help students bridge the divide between home/community and academia through early and ongoing inclusion of families, which has not been rigorously evaluated for Latin students in the current literature.

This is the first grant OLLU has received directly from NSF in 16 years. 

In the News

On July 7, a story on KXII-TV in Denison about Grayson High School softball star Dominique Rodriguez deciding to play for OLLU:

https://www.kxii.com/2021/07/07/graysons-rodriguez-signs-with-ollu/

On July 6, a story in The Record about OLLU alumna Cheryl January becoming director of the Process Technology/Instrumentation Program at Lamar State College Orange: 

https://www.therecordlive.com/story/2021/07/07/news/geis-retires-as-lsco-technology-director/30407.html

Soccer’s Brinkley and Pye named to Academic All-America NAIA Soccer Team

OLLU soccer student-athletes Dawson Brinkley and Patrick Pye have been selected to the Academic All-America® NAIA Soccer teams, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Brinkley was named to the first team, while Pye made the second team.

The NAIA Academic All-America® program is being financially supported by the NAIA national governance structure to assist CoSIDA with handling the awards fulfillment aspects for the 2020-2021 NAIA Academic All-America® teams program. 

Brinkley, a junior forward from San Antonio, played in all 12 of OLLU women’s soccer games this past spring. She had one goal while taking 12 shots, eight on goal. Brinkley is second all-time in goals with 33 (38 is the record). In 2018, Brinkley broke the season record for most goals with 21, she was second in shots on goal with 41 (46 is the record), and she had the most shots in a season with 77. She also holds the record for most game-winning goals with eight.

Brinkley has accumulated a wide variety of individual awards, as well, including NAIA All-American Honorable Mention (2018), two All-Conference First Team awards (2018/2019), three conference Offensive Player of the Week awards (2018/2019), and two All-Tournament awards (2018/2019). Brinkley was the conference’s Offensive Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year in 2018. In addition, she has earned conference Scholar-Athlete awards in all three of her years at OLLU. She earned a cumulative 3.8 GPA. She will enter her senior year at OLLU this fall.

Pye, a junior transfer student from Norwich, Norfolk, U.K., started at OLLU in 2019. As a defender, he played eight of 10 games for the Saints this year and marked one goal, 10 shots and one shot on goal. He was selected to the conference’s All-Conference First Team this year, and last year, he made the Second Team. Pye earned conference Scholar-Athlete honors in both his years at OLLU, earning 4.0 GPAs. He will enter his senior year at OLLU this fall.

Since 1952, CoSIDA has presented these awards annually to student-athletes to recognize their outstanding academic and athletic achievements. The achievements of student-athletes in the classroom and on the playing fields and courts indicate their passion as true student-athletes.

CoSIDA member Patty Constantin, OLLU’s Sports Information Director, nominated several student-athletes. Two were selected from the women’s soccer team as recipients (Mikaela Gilbert) and one from the men’s soccer team. CoSIDA receives about 20,000 nominations throughout the academic year across all championship sports. From those nominations, approximately 5,000 student-athletes receive all-district recognition. First-team all-district selections advance to the national ballot. CoSIDA members vote, and 1,500 student-athletes receive Academic All-America honors.

Many women’s soccer student-athletes from OLLU have received this honor. They include 2011: Abby DuLaney; 2012: Emily Backus; 2012: Rebekah Valenta; 2013: Erika Thompson; 2014: Erika Thompson; 2014: Teegan Luckemeyer; 2015: Erika Thompson; 2015: Teegan Luckemeyer; 2016: Brooke Cousins; 2019: Dawson Brinkley. The following received Academic All-American honors: 2012: Rebekah Valenta; 2015: Erika Thompson; 2016: Brooke Cousins.

Men’s soccer student-athletes who have received All-District honors were 2011: Gary Hamilton; 2015: Jared Poling; 2018: Jorge Cavazos and Adrian Delgado. The following received Academic All-American honors: 2011: Gary Hamilton; 2018: Jorge Cavazos.

For more information on the Academic All-America® program, go to https://academicallamerica.com/

Caio Ravagnani’s journey as an international athlete amid the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic had a lasting impact on the world and still does today. The pandemic was especially difficult for international athletes at OLLU. Junior Caio Ravagnani, a native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, overcame multiple obstacles resulting from COVID-19.

Before the March 16, 2020, NAIA announcement that all sports would be canceled for the rest of the season, all spring teams played their regular schedules. The tennis team played matches against the University of the Incarnate Word, Laredo Community College, St. Edward’s University and Howard Payne University. Ravagnani commented, “It was a shock to hear that the season was being canceled. We had a very strong team, and we were looking forward to continuing the season.” The team had to abruptly cancel the rest of its schedule through the end of April.  Ravagnani returned to Brazil after that, but he was able to finish out the academic year remotely.

Ravagnani was limited to perfecting his game in Brazil during the lockdown. The majority of tennis courts were closed, so he could only practice less than 10 times in four months.

He faced travel restrictions returning to America for the fall 2020 semester, which took a heavy toll on Ravagnani and his fellow OLLU Brazilian athletes. The United States had a travel ban from Brazil, so Ravagnani, [tennis] Vinicius Silva and [men’s soccer] Luan Balestieri took a detour to Mexico – which had no restrictions. The U.S. required them to quarantine there for 14 days before returning to the states.

“I traveled with Vinnie and Luan, and we had to quarantine in unfamiliar territory, but we were eventually able to return to the states safely.” Once they got back, all three were able to continue their studies remotely from their dorm room to finish out the fall 2020 season, and Ravagnani marked a 3.8 GPA.

The university, in compliance with city, state and federal requirements, continued strict COVID-19 restrictions. Nevertheless, the athletic teams were still able to participate in limited activities in the fall, but all were required to be tested regularly and follow stringent precautions. No competitive games took place in the fall.

OLLU’s athletes were required to take COVID-19 tests twice per week. Ravagnani and other athletes had to clear a temperature check before every practice during the pandemic. He noted that the dynamic of practices changed due to social distancing measures.

All academic courses continued online in spring 2021. Working closely with all medical entities, the university relaxed restrictions, but everyone was still required to test regularly and remain diligent through continued COVID-19 concerns. 

OLLU allowed teams to begin their competitive season in the spring; however, fans could not attend any competitions throughout most of the year. Ravagnani and the rest of the tennis team were able to play their full schedule. The Saints traveled in two vans on their way to matches to ensure they followed the guidelines put in place by OLLU and the local authorities.  The Saints tennis program hosted and competed in the 2021 Men’s and Women’s Red River Athletic Conference Championship Tournament in Helotes, Texas. The Saints finished in fourth place. Ravagnani played alongside freshman Malachi Farley (FR/San Antonio, Texas) in doubles and squared up against Gonzalo Vega from Texas A&M University-Texarkana. Before this year, Ravagnani tallied five victories in both singles and doubles during his first two seasons as a Saint.

Despite his preferred learning method in person, Ravagnani again succeeded in the classroom finishing with a 4.0 GPA. He will receive recognition from the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) as a scholar-athlete for 2020-2021.

Typically at the end of the academic year, Ravagnani would return home to Brazil, but with continued COVID-19 restrictions, he has had to remain in the states. The OLLU Campus Recreation department hired Ravagnani this summer, and he resides on campus.

Ravagnani grew up playing tennis with Silva and Murilo Salviato (SO/Araras, Sao Paulo, Brazil) when he was 12 years old. Ravagnani was extremely successful during his early years of tennis as the No. 1-ranked player in his home state of Sao Paulo. Silva was recruited and joined the OLLU tennis program one year before Ravagnani and Salviato arrived in San Antonio. Ravagnani received multiple offers from many universities across America but chose OLLU due to his childhood connection with Silva, his ongoing friendship with Salviato and his Catholic upbringing.

Before committing to OLLU in 2019, Ravagnani visited the campus with his mother. “She loved the campus and the tennis program,” Ravagnani commented. His father also played an important role in his decision, noting that he traveled with him to various tournaments in Brazil during his teenage years. Ravagnani plans for his family to attend his graduation when the time arrives, but he does hope to get the opportunity to go home before graduating.

Ravagnani aspires to work for one year in America with his OPT (optical practical training) after finishing his academic and athletic career at OLLU. OPTs are granted to foreigners who graduate and wish to begin working immediately after. He plans to extend his visa and eventually gain citizenship in America.

With the hope that COVID-19 restrictions diminish completely in fall 2021, Ravagnani looks forward to a normal upcoming season with fans in the stands and with the opportunity to vie for a conference championship and a trip to the NAIA National Tournament May 17-21, 2022, in Mobile, Ala.  Ravagnani plans to be a leader and mentor on and off the court.

Ravagnani and student-athletes at OLLU have been diligent in their studies, successful on their teams and committed to all health and safety regulations that have been put in place by OLLU officials. The university congratulates Ravagnani and all athletes for their dedication and perseverance.

The Saints men’s tennis program enters its 14th season for the 2021-2022 campaign. The team typically plays a handful of matches in the fall and its full schedule in the spring.

Alyssa Rojas joins the OLLU softball team

The softball team announces the addition of Alyssa Rojas to the 2021-2022 squad. Rojas is a native of San Antonio, where she attended Business Careers High School.

Head Coach Bruce Lenington commented, “We are thrilled to welcome Alyssa and her family to OLLU. She is a versatile player who can play many positions and has a combination of power and speed at the plate.”

Rojas is a shortstop and catcher, and she bats and throws right-handed. In high school, she was named to the Second-Team All-District for two consecutive years and First-Team All-District one year. The 5’1″ incoming freshman enjoys painting, shopping and baking. Her athletic role model is Jose Altuve.

The Saints will play a handful of scrimmages in the fall of 2021 and get set for their official season in spring 2022.

OLLU’S CROSS-COUNTRY AND TRACK AND FIELD ANNOUNCE RECRUITING CLASS OF 2021-2022

OLLU cross-country and track and field teams have announced the recruiting class of 2021. The cross-country team will begin competing in early fall through November, with the season culminating at the Annual Men’s and Women’s Country National Championships on Nov. 19 in Vancouver, Wash. The track and field teams will compete in spring 2022, and their season will conclude at the Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field National Championships May 25-27 at Gulf Shores, Ala. The Indoor Track and Field National Championships take place March 3-5 in Brookings, S.D.

The cross-country teams ran in the spring this past year due to COVID-19 concerns, but they will return to their normal season in the fall. The track and field teams will commence their normal season in the spring of 2022.

New additions to the team are listed below:

Men’s Distance

Joseph Gonzales (Middle Distance/Distance) from Laredo, Texas / Alexander High School

  • Regional Qualifier in 800m, Regional Qualifier in Cross Country
     

JC Hernandez (Middle Distance/Distance) Lytle, Texas / Lytle High School

  • 15th place at UIL State at Cross Country Championships 4A, 5th place at UIL State Track Championships in 1600m
     

Hendrick Ramirez (Middle Distance/Distance) from San Antonio / Marshall High School

  • Regional Qualifier in Cross Country
     

Robert Rios (Middle Distance/Distance) from San Antonio / Brackenridge High School

  • Area Qualifier in Track and Field, Regional Qualifier in Cross Country
     

Angel Rodriguez (Middle Distance/Distance) from Hondo, Texas / Hondo High School

  • Regional Champion in 1600m and 3200m, 7th place at UIL State Championships 4A in 3200m, 8th place at State 1600m, UIL Region 4 Cross Country Champion, 15th place at UIL State Cross Country Championships 4A


Julio Sanchez (Middle Distance/Distance) from San Antonio / Brackenridge High School

  • Regional Qualifier in 3200m, Regional Qualifier in Cross Country

     

Men’s Sprints/Jumps
 

Anthony Alvarado (400/800m) from San Antonio / Warren High School

  • Regional Qualifier in 4x400mR
     

Mark Canales (400m) from San Antonio / Texas Lutheran University
 

Diogo Hernandez (400m) from San Antonio / Cornerstone High School

  • TCAF State Runner Up in 400m
     

Marvin Levingston (100m/200m) from San Antonio / Brackenridge High School

  • Regional Qualifier in 4x100mR, Area Qualifier in 200m
     

Dejon Lewis (Long Jump/Triple Jump) from Del Valle, Texas / Del Valle High School

  • Regional Qualifier in Long Jump and Triple Jump, 6A UIL State Qualifier in Triple Jump
     

Nehemiah Littleton (Long Jump/Triple Jump) from San Antonio Harlan High School

  • Regional Qualifier in Long Jump, Regional Qualifier in Triple Jump
     

Matthew Martinez (100m/200m) from Corpus Christi, Texas / Flour Bluff High School
 

Matt Sanchez (400m/Long Jump) from Lyford, Texas / Lyford High School

  • Regional Qualifier in  Long Jump
     

Jordan Shaw (400m) from Semmes, Ala. / Mary G. Montgomery High School

  • Sectional Qualifier in 400m
     

Jaylon Washington (100m/200m) from San Antonio / Southside High School
 

Jaedin Williams (110mH/Long jump) from San Antonio / Taft High School

  • Regional Qualifier in 110mH
     

Dylan Wilmot (Pole Vault) from Cibolo, Texas / Steele High School
 

Head Coach Patrick Torres commented about the men’s cross-country team by saying, “We are adding much-needed depth to our men’s cross-country team. Last year’s squad was an injury or two away from not having the minimum number of runners to compete for a team score. This year not only did we add depth, but we added a group of runners who all have post-season experience from the regional level to those who finished within the top in the state. I’m very excited to watch this group defend their cross country title, track title and earn themselves their spots at nationals in both sports, respectively.

Regarding the men’s track team, Torres said, “The 2021-2022 recruiting class on the men’s track side is really special. We have multiple state qualifiers and athletes who I think will be competing at the national meet within their first two seasons. I’m confident that the group we brought in will help in our conference title defense this coming year. I’m really proud of the work Coach Brett Charlton and I did to build our first recruiting class and find student-athletes who will elevate the program and build new legacies here at the Lake.”

OLLU MEN’S TENNIS SIGNS EL PASO NATIVE JULIAN MARTINEZ

OLLU men’s tennis program is proud to announce the addition of incoming freshman Julian Martinez. He will join the team for the 2021-2022 season.

Martinez is a native of El Paso, Texas, and will be majoring in finance. He recently graduated from Del Valle High School where he was the men’s tennis varsity captain from 2018-2021. Martinez was also student council president in 2021 and received the Conquistador Award in the same year.

The 6’1″ freshman plays both singles and doubles, and his athletic role model is professional tennis player Rafael Nadal. Martinez’s hobbies include fishing, cooking and reading.

The Saints men’s tennis team enters its 14th season for the 2021-2022 campaign.

OLLU SOFTBALL ADDS TRANSFER STUDENT DOMINIQUE RODRIGUEZ

The OLLU softball program has signed transfer athlete Dominque Rodriguez. She will join the Saints for the upcoming 2021-2022 academic season.

Rodriguez comes to OLLU as a junior from Grayson Junior College (GJC) in Denison, Texas. GJC finished the 2020-2021 season with an outstanding 49-7 record and lost in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Championship game. The 5’6″ infielder attended Wakeland High School in her hometown of Frisco, Texas. She earned First Team All-Conference honors and will be majoring in education. Rodriguez’s hobby is spending time with her family.

Head Coach Bruce Lenington commented, “We are very excited to welcome Dominique to San Antonio. She is a proven winner and plays the game with an enthusiasm that is refreshing. She will be a pleasant sight in Saints blue this fall.”

The Saints have added nine total players for the 2022 spring season, including five transfers.

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