Rachael Fischer didn’t have much time for socializing during her undergraduate studies at Oregon State. And no wonder. As a member of the women’s golf team, her days usually began with 6:00 a.m. workouts followed by hours of putting and chipping drills. On weekends, if the team wasn’t at a tournament, she often played for eight hours each day. On top of that, Fischer fulfilled the demanding responsibilities of a civil engineering degree and somehow found time to participate in Engineers Without Borders, a student humanitarian group.
As a recent graduate, Fischer looks back at her grueling schedule without regret. “I think any athlete will tell you that no matter what, it’s totally worth it,” she said. “The people you meet, the places you get to go, the fact that you get to represent your school—it’s all worth it.”
Hard work is just part of the game, according to Fischer. It’s why she was able to improve her GPA every quarter despite the increasing difficulty. And it’s also why she qualified to compete in most Pac-12 tournaments, including regionals her junior year.
Head Coach Risë Alexander said Fischer was a role model for other student athletes. “Her maturity, great work ethic, and self-discipline led to a successful career both on the golf course and in the classroom,” said Alexander. “She is a leader by example and has the respect of her teammates and coaches.”
Fischer says her analytical mind might explain why she excelled at golf instead of the high-intensity sports she began with in high school. She enjoys picking things apart and putting them back together, a skill she found handy while assessing her shot on the green.
“Golf is a very analytical game. It’s very mental. You have to be able to think strategy yet make decisions on the fly. The game lends itself to being a mental sport, and I think that’s why I like it,” she said.
Fischer’s analytical mind also probably explains her gravitation to engineering. She excelled in the program and used her skills to help install a well and rain catchment system in Kenya as part of Engineers Without Borders. This fall, she will continue at Oregon State in a civil engineering graduate program.
Fischer may have traded a social life for golf and engineering, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I’ve been really blessed that Oregon State has had all these opportunities for me,” she said. “I’ve been able to be a competitive athlete. I’ve been able to stretch my brain. And I’ve been able to give back a little bit. I hope to continue with each of these areas in my adult life and during my time as a graduate student.”
--Abby P. Metzger