Monique DeGrandis is a senior at Madonna University studying accounting with a certification in forensic accounting. Growing up in the small town of Leamington, Ontario, Monique was laser focused on success with two themes: excelling academically and playing high-level soccer.
At the young age of eight years old, Monique discovered the drive she had for soccer success. Soon, she was playing with the boys and running circles around them. Her parents realized she could out-dribble and outscore everyone on the playground, so they enrolled her in a boys competitive travel league. Monique quickly advanced through regional levels of competitive play, landing on Canada’s development team. With the success she achieved playing for her high school, St. Thomas of Villanova Catholic Secondary School and for the Michigan Hawks, Monique set her eyes on one goal: playing collegiate soccer on scholarship.
Enter Madonna University. Monique is now a starting defender for the Madonna Crusaders women’s soccer team. At 4'9" in height, she is the smallest NAIA soccer player. “Many people looked at my height and weight as a disadvantage in soccer; but for me, it’s the flame that lights my motivation to succeed both on and off the field,” Monique says. And it’s working. Last year, she was recognized as a NAIA Daktronics Women’s Soccer Scholar-Athlete and was named to the Academic All-WHAC team.
Off the field, Monique serves as a Student Ambassador in the undergraduate admissions department, working with incoming freshman and transfer athletes. Last year, she created a new orientation program for prospects to meet other student-athletes, get to know coaches and learn tips for juggling class and practice and game schedules.
For her work as a Student Ambassador, Monique received the Heart and Soul award from the Michigan Campus Compact. She also has received the School of Business high achievement award for two consecutive years. Now, Monique is working with three of her classmates to create Madonna’s first business club.
My friends and family motivate me to always do more and achieve more. I truly believe my mom is a super hero for never missing any game or practice in my entire career, having a full time job, putting her family first at all times, and pushing my sister and I to get college degrees.
I’m also motivated by my competition. When I see someone else succeed, it pushes me to be better and work harder.
My latest accomplishments
My latest accomplishment is being selected as a nominee for the "Bernie Holowicki 3-7-12" award at Madonna's Blue and Gold awards. This was an award granted to the hardest working female athlete throughout the Madonna athletic department. Being recognized as one of five female athletes in contention for this award is my latest and one of the most prestigious accomplishments in my career. I realized that the athletic community saw the work and commitment I give every day. It inspires me to keep going down the path I'm on, but to add some improvements along the way.
Next big goal
My next big goal is to keep maintaining a high GPA and to be inducted into Delta Mu Delta, the honor society for Madonna's School of Business. This would be a huge accomplishment at the end of my undergraduate career because it will show the hard work and dedication I have put into my college education. It also will show future employers the dedication I have towards my accounting degree and the seriousness of my goal to become a successful CPA.
Why is choosing your own path important?
Choosing your own path is important because it demonstrates the confidence you have towards something you want to accomplish. I realized in my junior year of high school that I wanted to be an accountant. I knew it was a difficult degree to obtain, but that encouraged me to achieve good grades and ask for help when I needed it. Embrace a challenge because it’s more rewarding when you succeed.
Favorite place on campus
By our main church on campus, there is an Our Lady of Fatima (Virgin Mary) statue with three children. This place hits home for me because I grew up with the Our Lady of Fatima story in my Portuguese culture and it gives me a place of true serenity.
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