SAAC Spotlight: Alaska Anchorage's Michael Soetaert
Michael Soetaert finished 26th in the giant slalom at the NCAA Championships as a junior in 2019-20.
Michael Soetaert finished 26th in the giant slalom at the NCAA Championships as a junior in 2019-20.
Michael Soetaert
Michael Soetaert

Friday, March 19, 2021

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: Michael Soetaert
Alpine Skiing
University of Alaska Anchorage
Health Sciences
Edmonton, Alberta

Why Did You Choose To Attend Alaska Anchorage?: Alaska Anchorage had everything I was looking for in a school and a place to live.

What Is Your Favorite Class You Have Taken And Why?: My favorite class was anatomy and physiology. The human body is very complex and interesting. My professors made the learning experience enjoyable. It left a good early impression of what learning in college is like.

Who Is Your Favorite Professor And What Did You Enjoy About Learning From Him Or Her?: My favorite professor is Dr. Choron Ryan. She is incredibly enthusiastic and is able to relay a lot of information to a young college crowd in a way that allows us to easily grasp the concepts. She is very accommodating of athletics and helped me make up classes and exams.

Years Involved In SAAC: Two years.

The Reason You Chose To Get Involved In SAAC: It was a big step toward building leadership skills. I saw it as an opportunity to work with other student-athletes from different teams to make a difference on campus and in the community.

Most Memorable SAAC Activity To Date: During my freshman year, our SAAC organized a dodgeball tournament that went extremely well. It gave student-athletes from all sports an opportunity to engage with each other.

How Do You Feel Participating In SAAC Will Help You In Life After You Graduate?: Participating in SAAC will help me to step into the shoes of other people. Gathering information from different student-athletes helps me to see issues from different perspectives. This will be a valuable skill for my future.

What Does It Mean To You To Be A Division II Student-Athlete?: Being a Division II student-athlete means that I am willing to put in work and manage my time well so I can succeed.

What Is The Most Important Thing You’ve Learned About Balancing Athletics And Academics?: I learned that on some days, you don’t feel like doing either, but it makes me feel accomplished when I persevere.

Biggest Obstacle Overcome During Your Collegiate Career: The biggest obstacle has been training in a bubble and completing all of my classes online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most Memorable Sports-Related Moment: Qualifying for the NCAA Championships during my junior season.

If You Could Change One NCAA Rule, It Would Be: I would change the rules regarding academic requirements for eligibility so student-athletes don’t feel rushed to begin their college careers. It would allow for more athletic development.

Current Mentor(s): Dr. Rachael Hannah, Alex Wells and my father.

Best Advice You’d Give To An Incoming Freshman: The first week of college makes it feel like it's going to be hard. Just push through, get organized and enjoy the ride.

If You Could Spend The Day With One Person (Past Or Present), Who Would It Be (And Why)?: I would spend a day with my grandpa. He passed away when I was 6 years old and I never had a chance to get to know him properly. Over the years, I have formed meaningful connections with my other grandparents and have found these relationships to be quite comforting. I often wonder what my other grandpa would have been like.

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

Future Goals After Graduation: My goal is to go to medical school.

Favorite Sports Team: Edmonton Oilers.

Favorite Athlete: Connor McDavid.

One Thing People Don’t Know About You Is: I eat at Buffalo Wild Wings a lot.