There have been two constants in Jessie Tomazic’s life: a connection to Germany and a love of soccer. Tomazic, who will earn a bachelor’s degree in German with minors in biological sciences and public health from the Wayne State University Irvin D. Reid Honors College, incorporated both into his college experience.
“As a freshman, I thought I knew exactly what my plan was,” Tomazic said. “I learned, though, that this was the time to really lean into the process of creating and learning about myself.”
Tomazic, whose family is from Germany, visits often to stay in touch with relatives still living there. He wanted to keep up with German language and culture while living in America, and attended weekly German school for a decade. After declaring a major in German, Tomazic pursued opportunities to further immerse himself in the culture. He participated in the Junior Year in Munich Program, the longest-running study abroad offering within the Office of International Programs.
“In Germany, I got to live within the culture — it’s a totally different experience learning in-person, especially with language,” Tomazic said. “I met a ton of great people from across the country who shared my love of Germany.”
While abroad, Tomazic spent a spring/summer semester focused on a thesis project, exploring pathways for youth sport participation, considering the global influence of competitive athletics, in which athletes take to the pitch to represent their country on a national stage.
“I love soccer, so the project idea came naturally to me,” Tomazic said. “There are implications within sports and national pride for potentially addressing the public health crisis of obesity.”
Before it evolved into a thesis topic, soccer played a significant role in Tomazic’s experience on campus. “When I was choosing a university, one of my first questions was always ‘does this school have a soccer team’,” he said.
Wayne State’s newly formed Men’s Club Soccer program was a good fit for Tomazic, who wanted to balance his academic and professional goals with extracurricular athletics. He served as a co-captain of the team, which qualified for the 2022 Midwest Alliance Cup in its inaugural season in the league.
“This is truly a great group of guys, and we’ve had a ton of growth in the last few years,” Tomazic said. “When we showed up to regionals, they didn’t know who Wayne State was. They definitely know now.”
Between his own studies and time on the pitch, Tomazic also serves as a Warrior 360 success partner, mentoring five incoming first-year students.
“We talk about everything — school, finding friends on campus, life in general. It’s a lot of fun and really rewarding,” he said. “I would have loved to have something like this as a freshman getting settled in at college.”
He credits his parents and girlfriend for their support as he navigated that journey.
“They’ve supported me in more ways than I can count,” Tomazic said. “Simply put, I wouldn’t be here without them.”
In speaking with the first-year students, Tomazic said he tries to share some of the lessons he’s learned about himself through college.
“I changed my major twice, I didn’t end up sticking with my initial plan. I took myself too seriously. And I learned that it was okay to change along the way,” Tomazic said. “I encourage everyone to be open to the opportunities here and let things balance themselves out. Make sure you find time for some fun, too, though.”