SAAC Spotlight: Alaska Anchorage's Yvonne Jeschke
Yvonne Jeschke competes in cross country, but she also won the GNAC in 400-meter hurdles as a freshman.
Yvonne Jeschke competes in cross country, but she also won the GNAC in 400-meter hurdles as a freshman.
Yvonne Jeschke
Yvonne Jeschke

Friday, September 20, 2019

Part of a regular series.

Throughout the year, 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.

Name: Yvonne Jeschke
Sport: Cross Country
School: Alaska Anchorage
Year: Fifth-Year Senior
Major: Physical Education
Hometown: Au am Rhein, Germany

Why Did You Choose To Attend Alaska Anchorage?: I love outdoor activities and the city of Anchorage provides all of that with its nearby parks, lakes and mountains. Alaska Anchorage has great programs and my professors go beyond their teaching responsibilities to let students grow and develop leadership skills as tools for our future careers. The track and field and cross country teams are known for their great success with the focus on quality rather than quantity. All of that seemed to be a perfect fit for me.

What Is Your Favorite Class You Have Taken And Why?: I enjoyed all of the classes in my department. My favorite class was Exercise Testing and Prescription. I have never learned so much in one semester and, at the same time, I got the opportunity to apply the material in the field by testing actual clients’ fitness levels. Beyond that, I also got to set up workouts and have one-on-one sessions, just like a personal trainer.

Who Is Your Favorite Professor And What Did You Enjoy About Learning From Him Or Her?: Maryann Hoke. She taught my favorite class, Exercise Testing and Prescription, as well as Cardiac Rehabilitation. I also got the opportunity to have Professor Hoke as a mentor for my internship in our human performance lab on campus. My job was to lead clients through various health and fitness tests. She is approachable and wants us students to succeed not only in class, but also in the field. She wants us to network with professionals and eventually find a job in the future.

Years Involved In SAAC: Two years.

The Reason You Chose To Get Involved In SAAC: I like the purpose of SAAC. It's a group of student-athletes who are the link between all student-athletes and our staff in the athletic department and beyond. We can discuss topics that relate to everyone, come up with community events and volunteering opportunities and give our input on rules and regulations. Besides that, SAAC is also an amazing opportunity to network with student-athletes from other universities and learn about their approaches and work.

How Do You Feel Participating In SAAC Will Help You In Life After You Graduate?: I believe SAAC teaches leadership, teamwork and responsibility. I can apply all of those skills for a job in the health and fitness field, helping individuals and groups work toward their goals.

What Does It Mean To Be A Division II Student-Athlete?: Division II gives me the opportunity to finish a bachelor’s degree while I pursue my passion of track and field and cross country. I get to compete against amazing athletes from all over the world at a high level and create friendships that will last for a long time.

Future Goals After Graduation: I want to apply for an OPT visa, which allows me, as a German citizen, to stay in the United States for another year and work in the health and fitness industry. I want to guide and lead motivated individuals toward their goals no matter what their skill levels are.

What Is The Most Important Thing You’ve Learned About Balancing Athletics And Academics?: You need to be organized. As a working student-athlete, I have all my practices, classes, assignments and work times set in my calendar so that I don’t feel stressed out or forget important dates. Time management is key.

Biggest Obstacle Overcome During Your Collegiate Career: Being patient after an injury.

Best Advice You’d Give To An Incoming Freshman: Set semester goals for yourself that are challenging but achievable. Focus on what you want to accomplish in class and in your sport, but also in your social life and free time. It is important to have a good balance among all of those factors and not feel too overwhelmed. Network with other students in your department and athletes from your university to share experiences and advice.

Favorite Thing About Competing In The GNAC: Being around student-athletes with the same passion.

Most Memorable Sports-Related Moment: Winning the GNAC as a freshman in the 400-meter hurdles. I was not expecting to even make it on the podium, and sharing the experience with an amazing and supporting team was unbelievable.

If You Could Spend The Day With One Person (Past Or Present), Who Would It Be (And Why)?: I would love to bring my parents, sister and friends from Germany to Alaska and show them what an amazing place I get to live, study and train in.

Favorite Sports Team: FC Bayern München.

Favorite Athlete: Ashton Eaton.