Nothing blocking Yolanda Bogacz from success

KINGSTON, R.I. — November 9, 2001 — Volleyball team captain Yolanda Bogacz is a Rhodes Scholarship candidate with a 3.84 grade point average in a tough dual major. She also has a tremendous vertical leap that can traumatize opponents.

“I like the balance of academics and sports,” the middle blocker says breezily. “It prepares you for the future when you have to balance work and family.”

So far this year, she has played in 23 games. The regular season ends on senior night, Nov. 9, in Keaney Gymnasium against Duquesne. If the team wins its last three matches, it will advance to the Atlantic 10 Conference Championships. If successful, it will go on to the NCAA National Championships.

With such a busy schedule, how does this high honor student get her schoolwork done? “I do it anywhere and anyplace I can,” she says, noting that she can quickly convert airports, airplanes, and locker rooms into study areas.

A computer science and biology major, this daughter of Polish immigrants plans a career that combines the two disciplines. Her career path may lead to the field of bio-infomatics in which the computer aids in the advancement of science such as decoding the human genome. Or she may develop educational tutorials for the web. She will play volleyball, but only for fun and perhaps volunteer as a coach.

She began playing volleyball as a freshman at Haverhill (Mass.) High School. But she was exposed to the game as a child when her parents and sister, cousins, and aunt and uncles would often line up behind the net in the backyard and begin serving. (Bogacz’s sister plays volleyball for UMass at Lowell; a cousin plays the game for Quinnipiac.)

Her parents, Edward and Maria Bogacz, are among her biggest fans. The couple travels two hours from Haverhill to attend every one of her home games and then travel the two hours back. “They’re very supportive,” she says.

She has thoroughly enjoyed her years at URI and playing volleyball. “The team is part of my family…my sisterhood,” she says. “It’s a great team. Everyone works so hard.”

“Yolanda has been the kid with the best attitude and work ethic in my 21 years, here at URI,” says Bob Schneck, coach of women’s volleyball of the Rhodes Scholarship candidate. “I hope someday my kids have an opportunity to grow up just like Yo.”

For Information: Jan Wenzel, 401-874-2116