Student-Athlete's Accomplishments Include Community Engagement

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For Abbie Gould ’22, Dominican is the perfect fit. From day-one, faculty and coaches have supported her goal of making an impact in the classroom, in athletics, and in the community.

Abbie was a junior at Granite Bay High School when she received a recruiting letter from Dominican’s women’s soccer coach. That’s when Abbie’s mother remarked that Abbie’s grandmother, Sarah Jane (Frontera) Hollister ’61, attended Dominican. Abbie immediately contacted her grandma, who immediately offered to give Abbie a private tour of the San Rafael campus. Abbie quickly fell in love with campus and Dominican’s Marin County location.

Today, Abbie is excelling at Dominican and was recently named Female Scholar Athlete of the Year at the University. She is a Communication and Media Studies major with minors in graphics design and Community Action and Social Change in the School of Liberal Arts and Education who plans to graduate early in May of this year. She recently delivered an impressive presentation at a Dominican Service-Learning Symposium about her work with Performing Stars of Marin, a non-profit organization based in Sausalito serving low-income and at-risk children to provide involvement in art, music, theater and other enrichment opportunities.

Abbie this fall semester was introduced in her CASC class to Felecia Gaston, CEO of Performing Stars of Marin, through Emily Wu, Assistant Director of Community Outreach and Project Development, Service-Learning Program, Social Justice Faculty. Performing Stars needed volunteers because of the impact government-mandated school desegregation had on the Marin City community.

“My role first was helping to bag lunches, pick up the students from school, and make sure they got home safely,” Abbie says. “It then later turned into working on both the Marin City history museum and the #MarinCity80 project.  These both help celebrate the culture and history of this community.” 

Because of other Service-Learning opportunities in Marin City, Abbie had developed a keen interest in the community’s history. She completed the California Point of Historical Interest form to push forward an archival project to convert the Rosa Building in the Waldo Grove neighborhood into a Marin City history museum. Abbie also collected and accredited historic photos for a book to celebrate the community’s 80th anniversary.

“Both of these projects have broadened my knowledge on the history of Marin City,” Abbie says. “By completing these projects, it has allowed Performing Stars to submit their application to reclaim the Rosa Building as a historic landmark of Marin City to celebrate the culture of this community.  Working on the photo book has allowed Felecia to complete other projects that need to be done for the anniversary celebration.” 

Abbie knows the value of teamwork.  As a student-athlete at an NCAA Division II school she has successfully balanced academics and athletics around a structure that has worked both for in-person and remote learning. She has helped Dominican be the perennial winner of the Pacific West Conference Academic Achievement Award.
“D2 is perfect because I can still do a lot around the school and be involved in soccer,” Abbie says. “My focus right now is on education because that is what my life is going to be after soccer. Dominican offered a lot of opportunities for me.”

The opportunities started as a freshman when Abbie became involved with Service-Learning. With the help of Julia van der Ryn, Executive Director, Center for Community Engagement, Abbie was recruited as a Education Dedicated to Justice & Equity (EDJE) Fellow out of an Effective Communications class through Marin County Library’s Reading Buddies program after a librarian in Marin City recommended her. The Reading Buddies program pairs Dominican students in-person and virtually with youth in Marin City, Novato, and Point Reyes Station to read together weekly in a program aimed at improving literacy and closing the education gap in marginalized schools and communities in Marin.

Abbie, whose mother and grandmother were teachers, says her role with Reading Buddies is the highlight of her Dominican experience so far.

“It was a family atmosphere when I got there and the kids are the sweetest children ever,” Abbie says. “You can see how excited they get having someone consistently there helping and caring about them and asking them about their day.”

Another highlight was receiving a Mother Mary Raymond scholarship from Dominican in 2020. Abbie, who was the editor-in-chief of her school newspaper in high school, wrote a touching thank you letter as a show of gratitude and suspects her grandmother’s legacy may have contributed to the decision toward the scholarship. 

“Her hard work also helped reward me and everything kind of passed on and I work hard here,” Abbie says. “It’s just a sweet little connection where I can say, `Thanks, Gram, for going here. I really appreciate it.’ ”

Of course, Dominican athletics were a little different for a female student when Abbie’s grandmother played basketball during Physical Education classes. It was an all-women’s college and basketball rules at the time for women’s basketball in the country in the 60s allowed for three females per team to play on one half of the court to be shooters or strictly offensive players while three of their teammates were positioned on the opposite half of the court to be defenders or strictly defensive players against the opposing team.

Abbie’s grandmother also was heavily involved in student government and extra-curricular activities on campus.

“She’s still a very active social lady,” Abbie says. “She’s my role model.”
Abbie certainly trusted her grandmother when it came time to choose a college. Her success at Dominican has included scoring a game-winning goal.

“I was nervous coming to a small school, but I’m very happy I decided to go here,” she says. “My brother went to a bigger university and he would talk about how there were 100 students in his lecture halls. And I’d say, `The most I’ve had at Dominican is 15.’ That’s really nice because I get to have those one-on-one conversations with my professors and make those relationships where they know everyone’s names. It’s just a much more hands-on experience, especially because they have you go to the Service-Learning and you really do learn by doing here. It’s a different type of learning style.”

All in all, Abbie’s experience as a student-athlete at Dominican and as an advocate for children and the community has been rewarding and enriching.

“I didn’t really know what to expect coming in. I just had an open mind, I’ll take it on as I get there,” says Abbie, who now plans to pursue a master’s degree. “But it’s definitely exceeded my expectations. It’s been fun. Everyone’s been super nice, and accommodating and helpful. It’s very welcoming. It does feel like a home definitely being here.”


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