Participating in a sport at the collegiate level can be both challenging and gratifying in a number of ways. TFS Alumna Brooke Sroka, a 2-time Big East women’s soccer conference champion, agrees. “Being a Division-I athlete was one of the most rewarding experiences. It taught me the importance of time management, resilience, and discipline.” But before we get to her college days, let’s take Brooke back to TFS.
Brooke began her time at TFS in 3rd grade and attended through 8th grade, graduating in 2014. She shares that her years at TFS were foundational to her success in college and now. “TFS holds such a special place in my heart,” Brooke shares. “It was a place where I learned and grew academically, personally, and spiritually.” Brooke also says that TFS provided a sense of community and safety for her, and a number of teachers and faculty had an impact on her life. Particularly, Brooke recalls the compassion and intentionality of Mrs. Moser, as well as the kindness, empathy, and love of learning instilled in her by Mrs. Giannini.
Following her graduation at TFS, Brooke went on to attend Leesville Road High School where she felt the freedom to explore different interests, discover what she was good at, and meet new people. Brooke’s love of soccer grew as she joined the women’s soccer team, and it was here where she began to understand what it meant to balance your commitments and passions. “I think that high school served as a stepping stone to finding out who I was and who I wanted to be,” says Brooke.
Brooke then attended Xavier University where she participated for five years on the women’s soccer team (thanks to an extra year of eligibility) and received both her bachelor’s degree in Marketing and her MBA. During her time at Xavier, the women’s soccer team won two conference championships and had the opportunity to play in three NCAA tournaments. Brooke says that playing on the soccer team not only brought her some of her best friends, but it also gave her life lessons that she believes will make her successful professionally.
While Brooke was in college and graduate school, she spent three summers interning at IBM. After she received her MBA from Xavier, Brooke returned to the Raleigh area where she now works full-time at IBM as an Associate Product Manager in the Automation business area. Professionally, Brooke hopes to find where her passions can make a difference and where she can be challenged to grow. Brooke is also exploring life after playing collegiate soccer by finding things she enjoys doing, like traveling, reading, yoga, and playing volleyball with her friends.
While Brooke was at TFS, she remembers fondly her 8th grade Washington, D.C. trip, as well as field day each year. Thinking about the future of TFS students, she would like to impart the following pieces of wisdom: “I think it is important that we never stop learning, no matter our age. The world we live in is constantly changing and there are so many ways to continue to learn. Learning also means being curious and asking questions, because the more you know, the more you will grow as a person. So don’t be afraid to ask questions! Lastly, be kind to yourself. Everyone makes mistakes. Just learn from the mistakes that you make and keep moving forward.”