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SAAC Spotlight: Alaska Anchorage's Tony Naciuk
Tony Naciuk begins his fourth season with the Seawolves, previously finishing in the top 20 seven times last season.
Tony Naciuk begins his fourth season with the Seawolves, previously finishing in the top 20 seven times last season.
Tony Naciuk
Tony Naciuk

Friday, October 19, 2018

Part of a regular series.

Throughout the year, GNACsports.com uses this space to profile conference student-athletes who are members of their respective institutions' Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). In addition to providing feedback on the student-athlete experience, conference and institutional SAAC members also offer input on the rules, regulations and policies that affect student-athletes' lives on NCAA member institution campuses. Click here for more information on the function of SAAC at the NCAA level.

Name: Tony Naciuk
Sport: Skiing
School: Alaska Anchorage
Year: Senior
Major: Business Finance & Supply Chain Management
Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta

Extracurricular Activities: Backcountry skiing, mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking, volunteering, investing.

Why Did You Choose To Attend Alaska Anchorage: Apart from having the opportunity to be on a Division I skiing team, what attracted me the most to UAA was how Anchorage is on the doorstep of one of the biggest playgrounds in North America. Within 20 minutes of my house, I can be in mountains which have WORLD CLASS backcountry skiing, mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing, hunting and you-name-it terrain! It also helps that the majority of the campus infrastructure has been built or renovated within the last 10 years. Everything is beautiful! I have everything I need to succeed here in school, my hobbies and career.

What Is Your Favorite Class You Have Taken In College And Why? The most engaging class I've taken thus far has been Foundations of Supply Chain Management. The professor, Dr. Darren Prokop, arranged for nearly 10 local business leaders to come to our lectures throughout the year and speak on their field of expertise. No other teacher has made it so obvious that they care about their students learning. I've also enjoyed Advanced Financial Management. For years, I have practiced investing my summer income to try to augment my savings for the school year. Advanced Financial Management has us delving fairly deeply into corporate financial structure and how to choose investments such as stocks and bonds, so this will benefit me a lot in my hobby and potential career.

Who Is Your Favorite Professor You've Had In College And What Did You Enjoy About Learning From Him Or Her?  My favorite professor has been Dr. Darren Prokop. Darren is the driving force behind the Global Logistics and Supply Chain Management degree program at UAA and his passion for the subject really shines through in his teaching. He is very animated, breaks down complex information into simple concepts, and tries more than any other professor I've had.  He ensures that his lectures are engaging. He also brings in about 10 guest speakers who are local business leaders and experts in their respective fields. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed his classes, considering I chose to double major in global logistics and SCM because it was easy...I only needed seven extra classes. These classes turned out to be the most interesting and engaging out of any other class I've taken at UAA. Thanks Darren!

Years Involved In SAAC: Three years.

The Reason I Chose To Get Involved In SAAC: At first, I joined SAAC to boost my resume. But after being involved for a few years, I really see the benefit that an engaged SAAC can bring to the community at the athletic and local levels. I hope to be able to graduate knowing that I left UAA and Anchorage a little better via the impact SAAC can provide.

Most Memorable SAAC Activity: The 2018 GNAC SAAC retreat in Fairbanks, Alaska! This was a great experience where I grew professionally and as a person. I got to know some amazing people in my presidential GNAC SAAC counterparts. And we got up to some really fun activities such as visiting the Chena Hot Springs and a UAF hockey game.

If You Could Change One NCAA Rule, What Would It Be: Probably something to do with sponsorships and prize money. Skiing is an expensive sport and top-level racers that qualify for an NCAA ski team often have equipment sponsors before joining a team. The fact that we are not allowed to retain our sponsors while at school makes it that much harder to compete when you are forced to pay for expensive equipment. But this is a complicated issue, considering the story would be very different for NCAA sports such as football and basketball.

Current Mentor(s): Anyone with more experience than me in anything. I love to listen to people's stories and believe that if you just open your ears and eyes, you can learn a lot. I don't have one, a couple or a handful of people I learn from. I learn from my peers, professors, coaches, friends, family...everyone.

Future Goals After School: My first goal is to be my absolute best in the classroom and extracurricular activities so that I may be a competitive job applicant. I don't want to pigeon-hole myself to any industry in particular. I want to be able to work where I can play, so anywhere with mountains! I will do my best to get a job in Alaska, British Columbia, or the Pacific Northwest.

Biggest Obstacle Overcome During Collegiate Career: A horrendous freshman year. I had terrible results in my first collegiate year of competition. But I persevered, stayed hungry, kept positive and had a huge comeback season my sophomore year. I was lucky to win team MVP in both my sophomore and junior years.

Best Advice I’d Give To An Incoming Freshman: If you have any doubts as to what your major should be, think about where you want to settle down and what kind of lifestyle you want to have. I wish I had realized sooner where I wanted to live and may have chosen my major differently. Freshmen should look at online job boards where they want to live, in the salary range they want, and use that to inform their decision.

If I Could Spend The Day With One Person (Past Or Present), Who Would It Be (And Why)? My team because I love them and we have a lot of fun together.

Favorite Sports Team: UAA Ski Team, Canadian Alpine Ski Team, Edmonton Oilers.

Most Memorable Sports-Related Moment: Finishing sixth place at the 2017 Utah Invitational Slalom race. I was a major underdog, and I had a great rest of the season following that.

One Thing That People Don't Know About Me Is: I lived in Ghana for six months with my parents.  My dad was working as an exploration geologist.

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