Rising Stars: Graciela Sandoval

Texas State graduate student finds ways to channel energy, stay engaged

Graciela Sandoval at the Student Recreation Center.

By David King

Not long after she adopted a dog for companionship, Graciela Sandoval came home to a shocking sight in her San Marcos apartment.

Naya — a cross between a chow and a golden retriever, essentially a four-legged ball of fluff — had shredded the couch and started chewing the wall-to-wall carpet.

Even for the easygoing Sandoval, who is working on her master’s in interdisciplinary studies, her dog’s adventures were a bit much. A visit to the veterinarian confirmed that Naya didn’t have an appetite for polyurethane foam. She just needed to burn off energy.

“So I decided, ‘Maybe I need to start running with her,’” says Sandoval, who wasn’t a runner at the time.

As with many things in her life, the graduate assistant in the Department of Campus Recreation didn’t go at it halfway. Less than a month after she and Naya started running together, they competed in a 5K race.

“I had never run one, and she hadn’t run with a person,” Sandoval says with a laugh. “She was chasing squirrels, and she kept cutting in front of me and tripping me. People were passing us the whole time, and it was a big mess. But I’m proud to say we finished.”

And they’ve been at it ever since. Just about every morning, Sandoval and Naya take a run from her apartment to the banks of the San Marcos River and back.

Naya, some of her enormous puppy energy expended, has quit chewing the furniture. Her master, meanwhile, has found a wide range of ways to expend her energy.

Read more at the Texas State Rising Stars Archive and see more photos of Sandoval – and Naya – on the Texas State Flickr page.

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