Eric Stradley ′11
Hailing from Burleson, TX, Eric is a senior and co-captain of the Rhodes soccer team, where he’s made some of his best friends. Although soccer is demanding, he still has time to focus on academics—in fact, his coach encourages it. As a math and economics double major, Eric describes his classes as challenging but rewarding and entertaining, thanks to down-to-earth professors. Eric also serves as president of Kappa Sigma fraternity, so he’s involved with philanthropic events like the annual All-Sing, featuring performances by Greek and student organizations. Eric says Rhodes has shaped him as a person, and he′s looking forward to "getting out in the real world" after graduation to see how his Rhodes experience will help him succeed.
Coming to Rhodes provided you the chance to play college soccer, but what else drew you to the campus?
Academics was a strong factor. It was nice to find a school where soccer and academics could kind of play off one another, and I could get a good education while I pursued that interest. But I guess more than anything, I just visited the campus and really liked it. Liked all the people, liked the atmosphere, and the school was beautiful.
How did that juggle of soccer and academics work to make these four years a success for you?
Soccer is just fun. It’s what I love to do. But it also taught me how to balance things well and manage my time so I can remain wholly committed to my work—which has been a great experience to have in terms of personal and academic development.
And what has the academic side of college life been like for you as a Math-Econ major?
I took calculus as a freshman at Rhodes. I enjoyed it, so I pursued it. It’s all about problem solving. You get to take something little and use it to prove something big. Math lets you stretch the boundaries of what you think you know using what you already know, which is just fascinating to me. When I took Econ 101 as a foundation, I saw it was a great place to apply that math. Econ let me see math from all around. Any sort of econ problem is at its basis math, and to be able to connect those two has been pretty fulfilling.
What about your Math-Econ classes did you most like?
I felt invested in class because the professors took an interest in the students. Once a professor shows that commitment to their students’ learning, it makes you want to work harder and learn more. Their passion about the subject rubs off on you. They push you to your limits, and you find yourself going beyond what you thought you could do.
What’s your next step after graduation?
No idea [laughs]. But I think no matter what I end up doing, Rhodes has set me up well to accomplish what I want to accomplish.