Natacha Rangel-Ribeiro

Natacha Rangel-Ribeiro, undergraduate chemistry student and women's soccer player

Natacha Rangel-Ribeiro
Class of 2020, Bachelor of Science in Chemistry
Midlothian, Virginia

As an accomplished soccer player and star student throughout high school, Natacha Rangel-Ribeiro was searching for a university that would combine her love of soccer at a Division I institution with a rigorous STEM-focused education.

“The small classroom sizes, the excellent research opportunities and being able to have everything I wanted in a school, as well as getting to play soccer, were the reasons I chose Radford University,” explained Rangel-Ribeiro.

Since becoming a Radford University student last year, Rangel-Ribeiro has excelled, expertly balancing her soccer obligations with a stellar academic record and a core group of friends and peers. Not only is Rangel-Ribeiro an outside or center midfielder on the women’s soccer team, she is a student in the Honor’s College, but last year she was awarded outstanding freshman student of the year. That award is an exclusive achievement and only one student from each year receives such an honor. It has been Rangel-Ribeiro’s most memorable moment at Radford University so far and she was able to share the experience with her parents, friends and, of course, her trusted advisor, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry Sarah Kennedy, Ph.D.

While maintaining early morning practices and afterschool and weekend games with academics is a challenge, Rangel-Ribeiro knows it will pay off. “I know I am here to get an education that will help me become successful when I graduate and I need to work hard to prepare for that,” said Rangel-Ribeiro.

Rangel-Ribeiro credits the relationships she has built with her coaches and professors for her success on and off the field.

“I have created personal connections with my instructors due to the small class sizes. Everyone is so supportive and friendly. My chemistry professor, Dr. Kennedy, is my advisor and helped me realize a switch to a major in chemistry was the right choice for me. My coach emphasizes that school comes first, then soccer, then a social life.”

Although she is an outstanding athlete, Rangel-Ribeiro imagines a future within the medical field instead of on the soccer field. She plans on attending either pharmacy or medical school and ultimately having a successful career that allows her to help others. Her track record of success at Radford University is preparing her well for a bright future as a medical professional.