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Soccer Star Also Shines in the Chemistry Lab

Date: Oct. 7, 2002
By: Eric Lose
Photos by: Colleen Kelley

University of Cincinnati student Rachel Lieberman's busy life is full of unusual combinations like shinguards and test tubes, cleats and beakers, science and soccer. This fall is Lieberman's junior year as a chemistry major and third year on the roster for the UC women's Soccer team.

Rachel Lieberman in chemistry lab

Lieberman usually carries a 16 to 18 hour course load along with her athletic commitment. Soccer is more than just a hobby with her; she's been involved in the sport since age five.

"I've always been very athletic," she said, "and it's a way for me to get away from school or other things I'm doing."

Academics and sports take up nine moths of her year and summers are usually spent occupied doing research in one of UC's labs.

Rachel Lieberman

This past summer she was involved in Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Research Experience for Women Undergraduates program. The program is designed to promote women's involvement in the science and engineering fields. Lieberman said the WISE program was a 40 hour-a-week job that involved both work and learning.

She spent time as undergraduate researcher in a professor's lab, assisted graduate students with their projects, and learned how to read and write scientific papers.

"We had to make a presentation at the end explaining everything we learned over the summer," she said. "It was very good work experience."

Lieberman's parents are UC faculty, but it was more than family ties that attracted her to the campus.

Rachel Lieberman and chemistry professor William Connick

"I like the location and the people at the school," she said. "The academics are very good and I really enjoy the athletic part. Our team is almost like our own little family."

Lieberman's life is a merger of science and sports and it appears she will keep it that way after graduation. "I'm interested in forensics," she said. "I want to go into that in a graduate program or medical school and possibly join the FBI."

She also intends to continue with soccer after college she said, "but I don't know at what level. It depends on what options are available."

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