For Jacob Gomes '13, playing rugby in his sophomore year was the turning point that changed his life. He went from traveling home every weekend to spending all of his time at school. Now the community health student wishes his college education wasn't ending.  
“Once I joined the rugby team, I began to love UMass Lowell because I felt very involved,” says Gomes, who will graduate in May 2013. “I've had a great experience, made a lot of friends and received an excellent education. I really wish it wasn't ending.” 
Over the years, Gomes had played different sports like soccer and swimming and had practiced martial arts, but for him, rugby was different. 
He says: “I quickly realized that rugby was the perfect sport for me—it was the only one where I could let loose at full intensity on the field.”
He brought that same intensity to his schoolwork, especially in his internships.  Summer 2012, he worked at the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH) with the Teens Lead at Work Program, conducting research, developing a survey, and helping to prepare teenagers for college. This semester, he is working for The New England Consortium helping to deliver the occupational health and safety training sessions and sharpening his public speaking skills.
“The experiences from my internships are helping me realize what I enjoy doing, what I dislike doing and what I am good at,” he says. “I've realized that I cannot work behind a desk or in a cubicle. I have to have a more involved, hands-on role – which is why community health is a good career choice for me.”
Gomes is also a talented vocalist and hopes to perform in a post-hardcore band.