Inspiring grads: Kayla Pociejewski
Kayla Pociejewski will never forget the first time she stepped on the field.
Then a 7-year-old, she remembers endless summer tournaments and traveling with her team. She remembers being happy all the time because she was enjoying her time outside, playing the sport she loved with her friends from her hometown of Des Plaines.
Thinking about the young girl who loved the game for what it is, Pociejewski is reminded to relax and enjoy everything in life, even when it gets difficult.
Pociejewski has turned out to be an impressive athlete, becoming an inspiration on and off the field for the UIC softball team. But being on the sidelines this season with two significant knee injuries has been a hard pill to swallow. However, not being able to play this season has helped her push others to become a better version of themselves and hold the team to a high standard when things get rough.
“My current role on the team is to help others on my team grow as individuals in the game setting as well as helping them expand their character traits,” she said.
She also has been able to overcome the added pressure of athletics and physical therapy to be on track to graduate this May with an engineering degree.
After high school, Pociejewski headed to Arizona State University and took a hiatus from softball. She transferred to UIC after her freshman year after realizing how much she missed competitive sports. Both of her parents attended UIC.
She worked extremely hard and it paid off. In her junior year, she earned a starting position. Last season, the week athletics shut down because of COVID-19, she was honored as the National Player of the Week.
She is currently the president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and has played a huge role in revitalizing SAAC at UIC. Additionally, she sits on the Horizon League Competition Committee.
As a senior, it’s been a year of reflection for Pociejewski. Ultimately, she believes her ability to work with many different types of personalities and how to work through challenging situations will translate well in the job market. She plans to keep looking for job opportunities within the biomedical field and is currently interested in companies looking more into COVID-19 protocols.
Looking forward, the Maine West High School product is pushing toward continuing her involvement with athletics in some form after college, whether it involves working with any age group coaching and mentoring in her free time, as well as staying involved in recreational sports.
“I would like to leave my college softball legacy with UIC softball and I will continue to show them my support after my undergrad degree through the athletic alumni program,” Pociejewski said.
And she will certainly be watching the UIC Flames and cheering from the sidelines.