When you walk into the Garth Pleasant Arena, you will notice a series of plaques celebrating our alumni who have excelled not only in athletics, but in the world outside of Rochester University.
Juretta Bailey-Grajewski is one of those alumni.
As a member of the women’s volleyball team that won the NSCAA championship in 1998, Grajewski remembers getting a call from Coach Pleasant congratulating her and the team.
“We didn’t think it was possible,” she said. “We had played some of the teams before, sometimes we succeeded, sometimes we didn’t. I never imagined that I would be a part of a team that won a championship together.”
In 1999, the women’s volleyball team also won the national title, making them back-to-back champions.
“During the time we won the national title, women’s sports wasn’t as celebrated as it is today and we were really trailblazers for the women in sports at RU today,” Grajewski said.
Grajewski grew up in Detroit, and her parents drove her and her siblings every day to Dearborn Heights, where she attended a private Christian school. She said her parents believed strongly in a Christian education for their children.
During her school days, Grajewski fell in love with playing volleyball and wanted to pursue playing at the collegiate level. After sending a VHS tape with her volleyball highlights to Coach Barry Wheeler and attending a tryout practice, Grajewski accepted the recruiting offer to play at RU.
“I had to grow up pretty quickly during my first semester at Rochester. Volleyball was during the first part of the year and I had to quickly learn how to juggle college classes with practice times and a game schedule.”
Grajewski had a rough first semester prioritizing her workload with her volleyball schedule, but the connections she had made with professors, coaches and fellow students helped her adjust into college life.
“The connections were invaluable. Still to this day, I always recommend fellow RU alumni to the students I work with now,” Grajewski said.
Grajewski graduated with a degree in business and then earned her MBA from the University of Phoenix, and she now works across town at Oakland University as a career consultant, helping students in OU’s business school with their career readiness. She assists students with finding internships, resume help and their classwork. She also works alongside the Dean of the School of Business, where she helps coordinate career fairs and professional development events.
Still passionate about volleyball, Grajewski is also the head freshman volleyball coach at North Farmington High School.”
“Attending RU helped me find who I am. It led me to pursuing a sport I love as well as finding my career path in business,” she said.
Grajewski has been married for 18 years to her husband, Eric. They have a daughter who is 15, who like her mom is passionate about playing volleyball as she competes on a national travel volleyball team.
“All three of our favorite things to do as a family are traveling, volleyball and spending time together, so even though we are busy with volleyball, we still get to do our favorite things,” she said.