Passion Without Boundaries
At the ripe age of 20, Susquehanna junior Ariana Stowe has already experienced firsthand the secret to a fulfilling life: Identify your passion and find a way to incorporate it into your life every chance you can. As a member of the women’s basketball team, it would appear she’s done just that by pursuing an education while also playing the sport she loves.
Stowe recently found a way to explore new passions by going beyond the Susquehanna campus. A unique opportunity crossed her plate early in her sophomore year and started the ball rolling on what she regards as one of the most fulfilling experiences she’s had. It also fit perfectly with the nearly two-year-old Central Curriculum requirement that every student complete a cross-cultural experience through the GO (Global Opportunities) Program.
“[Susquehanna] Coach [Jim] Reed forwarded an email he had received from Josh Erickson, who is the program director for Beyond Study Abroad,” Stowe explained. “Maybe five years ago, Josh went to Costa Rica for his own cross-cultural experience and realized there was an opportunity to connect sports to the kids in Costa Rica by creating youth sport camps. He also recognized it was something college student-athletes could get involved in and benefit from.”
Stowe worked to make the trip happen and was soon spending six weeks in Costa Rica with other student-athletes from across the country.
The program combined college courses, athletics training and the opportunity to work with and teach underprivileged Costa Rican children in a variety of sports.
Erickson trained Stowe specifically in basketball. She was also able to participate in speed, agility, footwork and conditioning drills. And while Coach Reed was glad to hear she was training in the offseason, Stowe benefited in much larger ways.
In addition to honing her basketball skills, Stowe took an intermediate Spanish course and worked with youth sport camps facilitated by an organization called FundaVida.
While Stowe completed her cross-cultural requirement with flying colors, it’s evident that balancing academics, athletics and a study-abroad experience can be challenging. For that reason, some student-athletes choose to pursue a shorter-term study-away experience, either in the United States or abroad. Either way, Stowe says it should never feel like a sacrifice.
“If your sport is your passion, then find a way to make it work,” she says. “Don’t stop looking for a way to incorporate everything you love to do with everything you’re required to do, because there is a way to do both. Teaching people something you love to do and seeing them love it as well, that’s what makes the difference.”
Contributing writers to the Scoreboard section are Katie Meier, director of athletics communications; Ryan Novitsky, assistant director of athletics communications; and Lauren Gilbert ’13, a communications major from Mechanicsburg, Pa.