Class of 2023
Sasha Gorchanyuk’s journey is a story of resilience, determination and finding one’s identity outside of playing sports.
Through engaged learning experiences at UofL, Gorchanyuk discovered another aspect of herself – a newfound passion for marketing, fundraising and sponsorships that is guiding her down a path to make an impact on students who carry the same curiosity and drive she does.
“I believe internships are crucial to professional development; you get the chance to apply what you learn in the classroom to the real world,” she said. “You have opportunity to gain those hands-on experience, network and see what you like and want to continue doing on your career path.”
As a first-generation student from Ukraine, Gorchanyuk is determined to tackle any obstacles to set herself up for a successful future. A member of UofL’s tennis team, she discovered early on that the fire and determination she had while playing would exceed the scope of the court.
A little prodigy, she and her family moved from her native Ukraine to Canada when she was eight years old primarily for the pursuit of tennis. She followed a home school education to fully focus on her talent and started to travel overseas and play professionally.
As it tends to do to best-laid plans, life intervened. Gorchanyuk quit tennis for a year to take care of some personal issues her family faced. “After it, tennis was never the same” she said.
Her talent for the sport helped her persevere through the challenges. Her dedication and hard work opened the door to D1 tennis programs in the U.S. Coming to study at UofL was not only a chance to continue playing, but an eye-opening opportunity to develop her career aspirations beyond tennis, she said.
“I want to find my identity outside of being a student athlete and seek out every opportunity possible,” she said.
Pursuing communication studies, Gorchanyuk found out quickly that she was able to align her background in athletics with her broader interests to work for the sport industry. She takes advantage of all the resources the university and city of Louisville has to offer, attending career fairs, mock interviews, resume building workshops. With her sense of motivation and the mentorship of Susan Hildebrand, a recruitment and career strategist at UofL, Gorchanyuk found the tools to master her professional development, business and networking skills.
“I’m so grateful for her.” Gorchanyuk said, of Hildebrand. “Her belief in me and my abilities gave me the confidence to pursue my goals and push beyond my comfort zone. “
UofL’s other resources, like internships, allowed her to flourish, not only as a successful athlete but also as a student. Through her internship experiences, she learned about the behind the scenes of athletic events like corporate partnerships, ticket sales, promotions, broadcasting, marketing and her latest pursuit – development.
Gorchanyuk would have not been able to pursue her American dream without the help of multiple donors and the Cardinal Athletic Fund, she said. Fascinated about the whole procedure of helping students, she wanted to know more about the business of fundraising, leading her to pursue yet another internship. She currently works with the Cardinal Athletic Fund offices under the leadership of Matt Thorne, assistant director of development, where she has the opportunity to explore the full scope of development in a successful D1 program.
“I am so grateful for having access to a scholarship,” she said. “There are tons of people who are donating and making this happen for me and all the other athletes.”
Gorchanyuk’s next step is graduate school, where she aspires to be a graduate assistant in development. Her goal is to help future student athletes have access to scholarships and opportunities that she got while part of the Cardinal family.
“I wholeheartedly believe that victories, are not accomplished alone,” she said. “I just want to be a big impact in every organization, every athletic department that I will work for.”
This story originally appeared in Here and Beyond