The Right Match: Playing, Learning and Growing

By Tiffany King

Eva Rubio came to the United States from Madrid, Spain to enjoy the quintessential college experience while playing the game she loves—tennis. Not only did she get to play and learn, she came to appreciate what it means to work as a team.

“I always wanted to come to the U.S. to play tennis and go to college at the same time,” she said. “In Europe, this is not possible. The U.S. is the only place you can do both.”

Rubio spent her freshmen year at Bluefield State College in West Virginia, but wanted something different. She checked her options and learned about what the College had to offer.

“I really liked this school. It was near the beach, I liked the coach, and the business program as well,” Rubio said. “I talked to a few people at the business school and they liked it here, so I decided to come here.”

Rubio made a successful transition to the College and is graduating this May with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration, with a concentration in finance and marketing, and a minor in data science. She’ll also be leaving the College as the No. 1 women’s tennis player for the school.

New Experiences

Coming to America was a big change for Rubio. Everything was bigger here and she encountered many people who were willing to help her. She shared that in Spain she stayed with the same social circle, but when she came to the U.S. she embraced its diversity.

“When I came here, I saw all the diversity—with different people and different cultures. I was surprised at how I liked everything, because I had never seen certain things before. I learned a lot about different cultures and being open-minded,” she said.

Rubio shared her own culture through her interaction with her peers and has helped others the same way she was helped. She became a tutor for the ATTIC (Academic Tutoring and Instruction Center), a STEM Collaborate mentor, was a Student Government Association senator for Lakeside residence hall, and serves on the Student Athlete Leadership Team (SALT) as a representative for the Women’s Tennis Team. Rubio encourages students to get involved on campus as a way to meet new people, make friends, and take advantage of available resources.

Rubio is also enjoying her time as a marketing intern for King & Prince Seafood. Her duties are different from day-to-day, which can include putting packages together, helping with photo and video shoots, social media, and helping with events.

Working as a Team

Rubio got to experience what its like playing on a tennis team and loved the camaraderie she felt among her teammates. One of her favorite moments was when the Mariners beat Ave Maria University, the No. 15 ranked team in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics in a third set tiebreaker. She recalled that when her teammate won the match, she and the other players ran over cheering and hugging.

“We couldn’t believe it. It was the best feeling ever,” she said. “I was shaking outside of the court watching and I lost my voice.”

In Spain, she played for herself, but at the College she plays for her team.

“I like this version of tennis as a team because I fight for myself and for my teammates. If I had to choose, I would prefer to play in the U.S. than in Spain. I like the team spirit and enjoy going in to fight, and getting the win for the team,” Rubio said.

Another memory she’ll cherish is going kayaking on Jekyll Island with the Surf Club. Rubio went with some of her teammates and gazed up at the moon at night while on the water. When asked what she’ll miss from her time at the College, Rubio answered “everything.”

“The players, the people, my teammates, this weather, and the activities at the school. If there’s an event, I like to go and meet new people. I like that the beach is nearby as well,” she said. “Also, all the professors are nice and helpful. They have a lot of knowledge to share and they want the best for you all the time. I’m very grateful for every professor I’ve had.”

The Next Chapter

In the audience at graduation will be Rubio’s family from Spain. They’ve watched her play via video streams of the games and will be able to celebrate this new milestone with her in-person. As expected, they are very proud of her.

“I’m here today because of them,” she said.

The next step for Rubio is graduate school. She has been accepted into the University of Illinois Springfield to pursue an MBA in data analytics and will continue to play tennis. Although she doesn’t know what exactly she wants to do as a career, Rubio is open to working in the marketing, finance, or data science fields.

“If I could do something related to tennis that would be even better,” she said.

Off the court, Rubio enjoys walking around Downtown Brunswick, shopping, outdoor activities, reading and travelling.

To watch Eva's favorite moment of the Mariners beating Ave Maria Gyrenes, click here