Razo and Siminski compete, complement each other
In her nine years as an academic counselor in UT Athletics' student services office, Dr. Tina Kien has enjoyed the opportunity to work with many wonderful Texas student-athletes, but a pair of senior swimmers -- Ashley Razo and Kristy Siminski -- has particularly caught her eye.
"They compete with each other in everything," said Kien, referring to the two female student-athletes of the month for January.
"They always are trying to better each other in the pool or in the classroom," Kien added. "It's ironic because they didn't even know each other before they got here. Now, they're both together. Overall, they both work really hard.
"They both are so awesome."
In keeping with what Kien said, Razo, a senior sports management major from Woodbridge, Va., and Siminski, an applied learning and development major from Portage, Ind., are both first team Academic All-Big 12 Conference and are both on the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll.
Oh, in 2004, they both qualified in the U.S. Olympic Team trials.
Ah, but Razo qualified in the 100-meter butterfly, while Siminski in the 100-meter freestyle.
Kien recalled that Razo, who was the recipient of the UT Women's Athletics William Wallace Woodside Endowed Scholarship in 2003-04, always wanted to be in sports management and arranged her schedule as such to ensure she took budget and finance courses.
"She wanted to make certain she had the foundation and was prepared to handle what came with sports management," Kien said.
Razo praised UT's support system, aka Dr. Randa Ryan, senior associate athletics director for student services, and Ryan's staff for her success.
"At Texas, you are expected to excel in the classroom," Razo said. "You learn that from the start. You learn how to set your priorities because your time is so limited. You learn to spend it wisely.
"For me, and I think for a lot of us, the change from high school is very dramatic. If you don't budget your time properly, you are going to be in trouble. You have to get it."
Razo has gotten it.
And when not in the pool or the classroom, Razo has helped tutor and coach at the Special Olympics.
" Texas also talks about how each of us needs to give back," she said. "It's important to always remember to give to others."
Siminski, who was the recipient of the Tobi and Tina Taub Endowed Scholarship in 2003-04, has just finished a semester of student teaching, working with kindergarten and pre-K classes.
"Normally the first semester of student teaching you just observe," she began. "But I got a chance to actually do a lot of teaching. I was making lesson plans and everything. It was a lot of work. But, you do what it takes."
Certainly, Siminski does.
The unexpected workload did not bother Siminski, who is the youngest of four sisters who she said all have been influences on her.
"Kristy was so excited about getting to student teach," Kien said. "Of course, she always is so excited. She has the perfect personality to be a teacher. She is the perfect person to be in elementary education."
In the spring, Siminski hopes to teach fourth-graders.
Like Razo, and much like all UT student-athletes, Siminski talked about the need for time management. She also noted the expectations that each student-athlete excel.
"I've enjoyed that," she said. "I'm from a working-class family and my parents instilled in me the importance of working hard, never doing anything half-way. That's the way it is here. They expect the balance of good work in your sport and in your classroom.
" Texas doesn't accept mediocrity."
Kien noted that Razo and Siminski's temperments are very much the same.
"They are both focused on what they want," Kien said. "And they achieve it."