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Xavier Magazine | September 23, 2017

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Profile: Marcia Rusche Soule

Profile: Marcia Rusche Soule
By Julie Irwin Zimmerman

MARCIA RUSCHE SOULE
Bachelor of Science in psychology, 1974
Policy Analyst,  Innovations Insitute at the University of Maryland
School of Medicine
Ocean City, Md.

Basketball Beginnings | Soulé was on Xavier’s first women’s basketball team, formed just three years after women started at the University. In 1971 she and a few classmates went to Dean of Women Mary Louise Faeth and asked if they could launch volleyball and basketball teams. At her suggestion, they circulated petitions and met with University officials. “Faeth called intramural director Tony Brueneman and said, ‘We’ve got some girls here who want to form intercollegiate athletic teams,’ and he said, ‘Send them over.’ He did everything. He opened his arms to us.”

Humble Start | The University supplied shirts but the women wore their own shorts, and Soulé’s mother sewed numbers on the uniforms. “We were so grateful to get on the court, to have some organization. You didn’t have to make the team back then—we’d drag our friends to play, tell them, ‘Really, you’re good enough.’ ” Soulé was the leading scorer all three years she played and the leading rebounder two years. The team went 1-6 its first year, 3-3 its second and had its first winning season, 7-6, during Soulé’s senior year. “Everything we did was a first. We started the basketball team and our friends were the first women on the swimming team. Everything was new, so it was a very fun time.”

A Fan Now | Soulé watched with satisfaction as the Xavier women’s basketball team reached the Elite Eight this year. “We didn’t do it with the intention of starting something grand; we just wanted to play. But to see what we left, it’s very gratifying. When I see it now—the equipment, the access, the fact that they were in the NCAA Tournament. And the conditioning—we ran up and down the stairs at the Armory.”

Chosen Field | Soulé graduated with a degree in psychology and earned a master’s degree in counseling from Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore. Her first job was screening prospective foster-care parents and counseling children in foster care. She’s been involved in the field of children’s mental health ever since, and has seen great progress. “A lot of the stigma is gone; more families are willing to say, ‘We’ve got a problem that we need to address.’ There are a lot more resources available, and families are a lot more involved in treatment plans.”

Technical Assistance | Soulé now works for the Innovations Institute, which is affiliated with the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry. As a policy analyst, she helps various agencies with their strategic planning and helps implement and evaluate programs for children with emotional and behavioral issues. She’s now working to introduce coordinated networks of community-based services for foster kids with emotional problems in rural Maryland. Soulé finds that she prefers administrative work to delivering direct care. “I’m a big-picture person, and I like to help people do their specific activities to achieve outcomes. It’s fun to put all the pieces together.”

Family Matters | Soulé’s athletic activities now include golf and cycling. She’s been married for 32 years to Steve Soulé, and they have two children: Brian, a golf pro on the faculty of the Professional Golf Management Program at Penn State University; and Katie, a presidential management fellow with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

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