After graduation, Gretchen Gaskin knew she wanted to continue playing the sport she loved—basketball. So, the 2011 marketing and supply chain management graduate looked into numerous overseas and scholarship programs that would help her stay in the game.
With help from former IUPUI teammates and coaches, Gaskin received the Victory Scholarship, which gave her an opportunity to keep playing basketball, to continue her education and to help young people. The scholarship program, developed by Sport Changes Life, places recent college graduates in Ireland, where they raise the level of basketball by coaching and working with at-risk children in the community, as well as competing in national and professional levels of basketball.
“The opportunity to continue playing the sport I love, to continue my studies and to coach local youth, all while experiencing a new culture, was a no brainer for me,” said Gaskin, who studied in a master’s program at the National University of Ireland (NUIG). “It was the perfect package.”
Gaskin was one of seven Victory Scholars in 2012-2013 and the first female scholar in Galway, Ireland. Drawing on her time at IUPUI, Gaskin managed her class, basketball and meeting schedules by keeping a planner handy and displaying a large calendar in her room to visualize her entire week.
“I was required to do this at IUPUI by my coaches and academic advisors. This approach is very helpful, and I’ve made it a habit for everything I do,” said the former Jaguar guard who was named to The Summit League List of Academic Excellence her senior year.
Playing for two basketball teams, NUIG and the Galway Mystics, Gaskin learned the differences between U.S.A. basketball and basketball abroad. Master’s students are allowed to compete in varsity games, meaning eligibility doesn’t end after four years of collegiate play. Also, there are numerous teams and leagues to accommodate skill levels beyond university play.
After gaining new experiences by traveling abroad, Gaskin hopes to eventually work for an international company developing new products and business plans. She is currently playing club basketball for the U.S. Colomiers Basket on a 10-month contract in Toulouse, France. Although it is purely a basketball contract, she has chosen to coach and study French on the side.
“Before heading over to Ireland, my motivation was to prove to everyone, including myself, that I can do it,” said Gaskin. “To be 100 percent honest, once I arrived, my motivation changed. It wasn’t just proving something to myself or those at home anymore. It was about the kids that I coached and my teammates I played with who inspired me to do everything possible to help them be successful.”
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