UMO Senior Christine Rocchio Views Her College Experience Under a Microscope

UMO Senior Christine Rocchio Views Her College Experience Under a Microscope

MOUNT OLIVE- Christine Rocchio, a senior biology major from Saddle Brook, New Jersey, is gearing up to graduate from the University of Mount Olive on May 7. As she looks forward to walking across the commencement stage and receiving her diploma, Rocchio feels confident that her time at UMO as a student-athlete has prepared her for future academic and professional endeavors.

Rocchio has played soccer for as long as she can remember. Her love and commitment to the game inspired her to compete in high school and pursue a spot on a college team. Her success as a midfielder caught the eye of the head women’s soccer coach at UMO.

After touring the campus and learning about the athletic and academic opportunities, Rocchio decided that UMO would be a perfect fit for her college experience. “I chose to go to UMO because it provided me with the best opportunity to receive a great education while pursuing my love of soccer,” Rocchio recalled.

Once she began classes at UMO in the fall of 2012, Rocchio immediately felt at home in the Biology Department and declared a major in biology and a minor in chemistry.

“So many of my classes and professors have inspired me,” noted Rocchio. “One of the most influential classes that I have taken at UMO was Research Methods, taught by Dr. Dommer. It has taught me that science is hard work and is not just applying the scientific method and conducting an experiment. Research is not something that happens overnight. It takes time, dedication, patience, and determination. Also, Dr. Malik continuously pushes me to be the best that I can be. He has given me the confidence to pursue a career in the medical field.”

On the soccer field, Rocchio has found success as well. She was named the Defensive Most Valuable Player of the Year during her freshmen and sophomore soccer seasons. However, after two years of successfully leading the Trojans to numerous wins, disaster struck for Rocchio.

“In the spring semester of my sophomore year, I tore my ACL, which required surgery,” Rocchio explained. “I had to sit out and redshirt my junior season of soccer. Although it was difficult, it made me more determined to come back strong, fit, and ready to play. I have to say that my fondest memory of college soccer was being able to touch a ball again after sitting out for eight months.”

Rocchio came back with newfound determination, and her senior season of soccer was her best season to date. She earned Conference Carolinas Third-Team All Conference Honors and NCCSIA All-State Second Team Honors.

“I owe a tremendous amount of my success to my coaches and my teammates. My team is my family. I know that if I need a shoulder to lean on or someone to talk to, they will be there,” smiled Rocchio. “I’ve also learned valuable lessons about determination, patience, and leadership from my college athletics.”

Rocchio plans to utilize her UMO experiences to pursue a graduate physician assistant program. She is currently applying to East Carolina University and Rutgers University in hopes of one day becoming a physician assistant and specializing in oncology.

“Thanks to UMO, my educational journey has molded me into the person I am today. It has given me the opportunity to meet influential people, pursue a career that I am passionate about, and play a sport that I love,” concluded Rocchio.

The University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The University, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Research Triangle Park, Washington, Jacksonville, and in Smithfield at Johnston Community College.  For more information, visit