Student Athlete Shines as National Leader

Published on 26 October 2020

When P2 student Nicole Gasparovic isn’t playing midfield for the University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis Eutectics, she is making moves off the field. As a three-year captain of the women’s soccer team, Gasparovic is demonstrating her talents at a local and national level.

Currently entering the second-year of her term as the American Midwest Conference (AMC) representative on the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Association of Student-Athletes (NAIA-ASA), Gasparovic is helping to advocate for legislation and policy changes that enhance the college experience for more than 65,000 NAIA student-athletes from 16 colleges across the nation.

“This role allows me to step out of my comfort zone, be a liaison for student-athletes and learn more about other conferences,” Gasparovic said. “We also partner with the Special Olympics, so it’s nice to be part of an organization that is making a positive impact in the community.”

As a representative on the NAIA-ASA, Gasparovic has helped create the student-athlete well-being mission statement which promotes mental and physical health and encourages leading with character both on and off the field. She also provided feedback on legislation that was recently passed allowing student athletes to be compensated for name, image and likeness licensing.

Gasparovic’s commitment to giving back is also evident throughout her involvement in the Community Service Scholars Program. Three years ago, she met with Dan Stiffler, director of financial aid, to establish the program, which provides students with opportunities to make a difference in the community while also receiving scholarship support.

Since the program’s inception, Gasparovic has played an integral role by recruiting faculty and staff to serve as program advisors and continuing to support her peers by serving as a mentor, discussion leader and service event coordinator.

“Nicole demonstrates a calm, unwavering maturity that allows her to function at a high level and she does it so authentically and selflessly that others naturally follow her lead,” Stiffler said. “Nicole is an incredibly well-rounded person which serves her well as a leader.”

Last year, Gasparovic became the first program lead for the Community Service Scholars program. In this role, which represents the highest-ranking leadership position in the program, she is responsible for communicating with the scholars and addressing their questions, concerns and goals with program advisors.

“I have been extremely fortunate, and I realize that many people have not had the same opportunities in life,” Gasparovic said. “I lost my mom when I was younger and a nonprofit organization came to my high school and helped me during that difficult time. I want to be able to give that same type of support to people who are struggling in different ways.”

Gasparovic was recently named president-elect of the Missouri Pharmacy Association at the University and is a member of the American Pharmacists Association, Industry Pharmacists Organization and Kappa Epsilon.

“Getting involved is a great way to make friends, learn and grow,” Gasparovic said. “I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to help establish the Community Service Scholars Program during my first year of school because it set the tone for my involvement over the years. I am now much more comfortable stepping out of my comfort zone.”

Between balancing academics, soccer and her extracurricular activities, Gasparovic also is working as a pharmacy intern at Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, where she is gaining experience in IV infusion pharmacy, retail pharmacy and investigational drug study pharmacy. Gasparovic also lends her talents as a pharmacy technician at Ladue Pharmacy and Millbrook Pharmacy.

“I enjoy interacting with people,” she said. “I love to learn and being able to help patients at work is rewarding.”

For her exceptional performance on and off the field, Gasparovic has earned numerous accolades including the Student Government Association Leadership Award. She was also named the Undergraduate Student of the Year in 2019, and was awarded the 2018-19 Fall Sport All-Conference Athletics Award and 2018-19 Women’s Soccer Leadership Award.

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