UND alum’s work published in undergraduate journal


Amy Halvorson

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date


Campus Unit

College of Arts & Sciences


Alexandra Ciaccio's play on breaking stereotypes in regard to women in sport stemmed from senior capstone project

Recent University of North Dakota graduate and former student athlete Alexandra Ciaccio already is a published author.

Ciaccio, a native of Minnetonka, Minn., had her original play published in latest edition of Skyline-The Big Sky Undergraduate Journal. The entry is titled "Entering the World Stage".

Ciaccio graduated from UND with a French Language bachelor's degree in May and had written the play as part of her language capstone final project.

"With a little help and encouragement from my advisor, Amanda Hajdu, and professors Dr. Mellissa Gjellstad and Dr. Colleen Berry, my project took off," said Ciaccio.

"I was excited for Alex when she sent me the news of her play being published," Hajdu said. I remember having a brain-storming session with her about her final project, and her face lighting up a little more as the discussion started leaning toward this option. I'm so happy she went for it!"

The play takes place in 1970's France, focusing on a time when women in sports were trying to make a break through. It looks at what is happening worldwide as events unfold within France. The play highlights various themes, such as creating a "norm" away from men in sports and breaking stereotypes of lesbianism.

"I struggled to develop a topic at first," said Ciaccio. "But after deciding to research what was happening globally for women in soccer, I came to the decision of focusing on the 1970's as this was a major time for women worldwide."

Ciaccio submitted the play to Skyline under the encouragement of professor Gjellstad.

Encountering research on gender and sports was a pivotal moment for Alex in the capstone course, according to Gjellstad.

"It fueled her independent investigation of women and soccer, enhanced her own understanding of personal past experiences, and inspired her creative synthesis of that information," Gjellstad said. "It was a pleasure to work with Alex as she wove these threads into a play for her final project, and the publication is an admirable achievement at the culmination of her undergraduate career."

"I am very honored that it made it to publication," said Ciaccio. "As of right now, I do not know if I will continue to write more plays, but there is always a possibility."

Ciaccio currently is an assistant soccer coach at Finlandia University in Michigan. She was a goal keeper for UND's soccer team from 2010-2012, garnering conference player of the week honors her sophomore year. In high school, Ciaccio was a four-year letter winner and received all-conference honors. She also led her team to an Under-17 Premier League championship, before enrolling at UND.

About 'Skyline-The Big Sky Undergraduate Journal Skyline':

Skyline is dedicated to providing a forum for undergraduate students to develop and share research and writing in any discipline. Its goals are to provide a connection between athletics and academics and showcase the academic prowess of undergraduates in the Big Sky Conference, one of the major athletic conferences in which UND athletes compete. It also provides a forum for students to publicly share their research and creates an opportunity for students to expose their work to potential graduate programs.