The Class of 2023 has officially graduated and is ready to use their UIndy education for service to their communities. Meet international graduate Zinhle Bekker, who recently received his Bachelor of Science in Sport Management with minors in psychology and business administration and management!
Why did you choose to study sport management?
As an athlete myself, I wanted to be able to change the way the sporting industry is viewed back home in Botswana and all over Africa, as it was very political and not focused on the well-being of athletes. I also wanted to use the knowledge to build and expand High Performance Centers all over the continent of Africa as there is only one facility where athletes are able to train at a facility of high standards compared to Europe or the United States.
Why did you choose to study at UIndy?
UIndy is at the epicenter of sports in America. Most of the organizations I wanted to network with are all located 15 minutes from campus. Not only does UIndy provide extremely competitive academics, but as an athlete, I wanted to swim for one of the best college teams in the country.
Are you a part of any extracurriculars (either on or off campus)? If so, what are they and what is your role?
I was on the UIndy Men’s Swim & Dive team from 2019-2022. I helped establish the UIndy International Student Association and served as the Public Relations Officer where I was in charge of all media, setting up events throughout the year, and expanding UIndy students’ network with organizations around Indiana. I was the Sports Coordinator at the Irsay Family YMCA. During my internship at Indiana Sports Corp I organized and ran the NCAA DII Swimming & Diving Championships, NCAA DI Women’s Golf Regionals, NCAA DII Women’s Lacrosse Championships, Indiana Sports Corp Corporate Challenge, etc.
Are there any faculty or staff members who have significantly impacted your time at UIndy? If so, who are they and how did they influence you?
Dr. Jennifer VanSickle and Dr. Isabell Mills are the two professors who had the biggest impact on my time at UIndy as they both always pushed me and demanded the very best from myself which continues to motivates everyday. As an international student I had no connections with anyone in Indiana so they both went above and beyond to provide me the resources to set myself up for the future.
What is one of your favorite memories from your time at UIndy?
The most memorable moment from my time at UIndy was when the Men’s Swim & Dive team made history and became the first team to win an NCAA Championship and I was the one who organized that championship during my internship.
What are your plans after graduation?
To go home after four years away, then to come back to America either pursue my master’s in Sport Management or Sports Psychology and get a job in event management.
How did the sport management program prepare you for your next steps?
The experiences and opportunity I have been provided during my time at UIndy has set me apart from others students. The program allowed me to become independent with organizing, planning and executing events as a student whilst being able to feel comfortable with making mistakes. These experiences allowed me to feel confident in myself and my capabilities and because of that, I was able to plan, organize and execute four major NCAA Championships and not many people can say they’ve done that.
What advice would you give to incoming freshmen?
It’s okay to be nervous in the beginning! Take every opportunity to attend events, volunteer with different organizations (that is how you will get an internship), openly communicate with your professors because they are there to help you, and lastly, make sure you are having fun!