June 2, 2010
Like most bio-chemistry majors at UCSB, Jessica Ziegler spends hours upon hours in the classroom and in labs each week, and about the same amount of time studying on her own. Oh yeah, and she is able to squeeze in enough time to lead the Division I softball team in hitting.
It's difficult to decide whether her academic success or athletic excellence is more impressive, but it's clear that her ability to excel at both is incredible.
You could say that she sets an example for her teammates like a big sister would. In fact, her younger sister, Amanda, is a sophomore on the softball team.
The Ziegler family is very familiar with UCSB by now. In addition to Jessica and Amanda, both of their parents are former Gauchos.
Ziegler has earned several awards acknowledging her success on and off the field. She is a two-time Golden Eagle Award winner, which is given to one student-athlete on each team for a combination of athletic and academic achievement.
She is also a two-time Academic All-Big West winner and has twice received All-Big West Honorable Mention. At this year's softball banquet, she won two awards that were voted on by her teammates.
She was named Go-To Gaucho of the Year, which is awarded to the team member who consistently found a way to perform, by way of grit and play, throughout the season.
Her peers also chose her as Gaucho of the Year, which is given to the person who contributed the most to the team through her influence, play, commitment, and character.
In addition to school and softball, Ziegler also serves as the secretary on the Student Athlete Advisory Board, where she represents her teammates and other student-athletes. She is also on the softball leadership team.
She characterizes her responsibilities as a student-athlete "like having two jobs." She added, "Time management has been a key, and sleep has had to come second."
As a graduating senior, her presence will surely be missed. Despite losing a player who has finished in the top ten in batting in the Big West back-to-back seasons, the team will also be losing a leader.
"Her work ethic and attitude have always been there, and she's done a great job as a role player and a starter," explained head coach Brie Galicinao. "We'll miss her consistency and the example she sets for others."
Ziegler recently took the time to answer some questions about herself.
1. What are your favorite things to do when you're not playing softball?
"My favorite things to do when I am not playing softball are hiking, going to the beach, taking pictures, and hanging out with friends."
2. If you were on a deserted island and could only bring three things what would they be?
"I would definitely bring my camera (I love to take pictures of everything), socks (I hate when my feet are cold), and I guess something practical like a knife or a flint or something like that."
3. What is your favorite class you've taken at UCSB? Favorite Professor?
"The favorite class that I have taken at UCSB would have to be bacterial pathogenesis. I loved learning about all the different types of diseases and different ways to treat them. My favorite professor was Dr. Hooker my general chemistry professor for 3 quarters. He made me realize that I loved chemistry."
4. Do you have any role models?
"I have lots of role models, some of the most important being my parents. A softball role model I had was Christine Ramos, I loved the way she played and she taught me a lot about slapping and hitting left handed."
5. What is the best part about waking up in Santa Barbara every day?
"The smell of the ocean when I walk out of my house."
6. What is your favorite TV show?
"That is tough, I love House. Two close seconds are Criminal Minds and Bones."
7. What will you miss the most about life at UCSB after you graduate?
"I will miss living so close to my friends. It is nice to be walking/biking distance from everyone's house. I will miss playing softball with my sister, and just being close to her in general."
8. What actress would play you in a movie about your life?
"Haha, no idea but some people have said Fergie."
9. What is your favorite professional sports team.
"I do not really have favorites of anything. I like going to baseball games. I am a San Diego fan because that is where I grew up, but I also like the San Francisco Giants as well."
10. What is your favorite thing to do on an off day?
"I love being outside, walks on the beach are a definite go-to."
11. What is your favorite movie?
"Once again I do not really have favorites, but I love movies that make me think or laugh. A movie that I love is Catch Me if You Can. A movie that I found pretty funny was The Proposal. I also enjoy most all Adam Sandler movies."
12. Do you have any pre-game rituals?
"My sister would always tie my blue and yellow ribbons in my hair. If we were at home she would tie them in the dugout, and when we were away she would tie them on the bus ride over to the opposing field."
13. What is your favorite place to eat in Isla Vista?
"My favorite places to eat in Isla Vista are Javan's and Silvergreens. I love the food that they have at both places."
14. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
"If I could live anywhere in the world it would be somewhere that is close to the ocean, but that is surrounded by trees. I have always loved nature and the beach. But, it cannot be too far from family, I am a very big family person."
15. How do you plan on celebrating graduation?
"My family is coming up for graduation and we are going to go to this restaurant called Playa Azul that my parents used to go to when they were students here. During the summer we are planning on going on a family vacation, because of softball I have not really had free summers so I am really looking forward to it."
16. What is your favorite sport to watch other than softball?
"I like to watch football and baseball."
17. Who is your favorite author? Favorite books?
"I love to read pretty much anything. I do not have a favorite author but I enjoy reading mysteries. I am also definitely one to choose to read a book because of the way the cover looks too!"
18. What is one thing about you that most people do not know?
"This question is hard, I feel like most people know a lot about me, especially my teammates. I guess that some people might not know that I permanently damaged my vocal cords when I was in high school. I thought that it sounded cool when people lost their voices so I lost my voice on purpose. Little did I know that I would still to this day have a sore voice box when I talk or laugh too much, haha."
19. Is there a motto that you live by?
"I do not really live by any motto. I guess I always go back to what my dad told me when I was a little girl. `No matter what happens to you today, the sun will always come up in the morning."
20. In one word, how would you describe UCSB softball?