International student-athlete tells incredible path to Fresno State graduation

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Fresno State honored its international students at a graduation ceremony, including Annemarie Schwartz who came to the US from Germany knowing very little English. (KFSN)

Adjusting to college isn't easy.

But imagine how much more challenging the transition is if you were going to school in a different country.

Fresno State honored its international students at a graduation ceremony, including Annemarie Schwanz who came to the US from Germany knowing very little English.

Four years later, she's shattered half a dozen school records and has a degree few women have pursued.

"I feel like there's always one or two people who do so much more and then there's me," she said.

Her high GPA and numerous record breakers in cross-country events made her an obvious choice for the Distinguished International Student award.

But as with any success story, there were struggles at the start.

"Not only the climate," Annemarie said. "The culture and the people were different, it was hard with the language in the beginning."

Schwartz was recruited for to run straight out of her high school in Germany, and she came with no friends and no family.

But four years later, she can't step away from all the pictures.

Her coaches say they knew she was good, but not this good.

"Really talented student, great work ethic, demeanor," coach Sean McManus said " She is, in my experience, a once-in-a-career type female athlete."

Off the track field, she chose to major in civil engineering. It's a choice, professors say, few women take on.

"About 15 percent of our students are female engineering majors," Lyles School of Engineering dean Ram Nunna said. "It's very rare to see an athlete and an engineering major, and a female at the same time."

As much as the school has provided her, her coaches and professors say she has returned so much more.

Luckily for her, and them, she'll be here at least another year to continue inspiring and break records.

"Probably get better, that's all I can do really," Annemarie said.
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