Balancing act: Justin Hoskins rises to challenges of being a student-athlete
April 29, 2010
Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269
OUTSTANDING SENIOR PROFILE
MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — There’s no denying that being a full-time college student is a full-time job. For every hour spent in the classroom, another two or three (or more) is spent reading, writing and doing other homework. And the march of the sleep deprived as they move through April is a visual manifestation that college work is not a walk in the park.
But for student-athletes — those young adults who love to shoot, throw, run, hit, jump or kick — there’s additional work. The demands of practice, games and travel throw added pressure to an already busy life. It’s like having two full-time jobs and from the outside, it can seem overwhelming.
Justin Hoskins wouldn’t have had it any other way.
A 2005 graduate of Billings Senior High School, Hoskins experienced it all as he played soccer for MSU Billings for three years while pursuing his accounting degree through the College of Business. He will graduate this weekend magna cum laude (“with great honor” in Latin) with a 3.92 GPA and was selected as one of three recipients of the Outstanding Senior Award for 2009-2010 for MSU Billings.
“It was all a fantastic experience,” he said. “It was definitely the right decision to come here.”
Hoskins knew going into his career that balancing curriculum requirements and soccer demands would be work. What he didn’t know was how supportive the faculty would be.
“It’s a full-time job with the traveling and the time away,” he said. “All the professors here have been fantastic and they respond to the athletes very well. They’ve allotted time to get work done and in season I was in constant contact with e-mail.”
His dedication to his studies received attention not only locally, but nationally. Hoskins was selected as an alternate for the 2009 NCAA Postgraduate Fall Scholarship. Last fall, 29 student-athletes from all NCAA schools in the country (Division I, Division II and Division III) were selected for scholarships to be used past their senior year. Hoskins was No. 30 on the list.
“The prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship is an award given to a very small number of academically superior talented athletes throughout the country,” said Dr. Scott Harris, an economics professor at MSU Billings. “Justin was named an alternate for the award, placing him in the academic top 30-40 fall sport male student athletes nationwide.”
Quiet and reserved, Hoskins has let his work speak for itself, both in the classroom and in the community. When he wasn’t pulling top scores in difficult accounting classes and working on his soccer game, he was doing volunteer work. Over the past few years, Hoskins has worked as a volunteer with Eagle Mount (a non-profit organization that provides recreational opportunities for children and adults with disabilities), served as a reading buddy for schoolchildren and has been a volunteer soccer coach.
It’s clear he has a soft spot for kids.
In the summer of 2008 while playing with the Cascade Surge soccer team in a professional development league in Oregon, he did community service work with underprivileged children in Salem. Through the program, children who come from a background of broken homes, alcohol or addiction could experience a sense of “normalcy” with games and reading.
According to faculty at MSU Billings who found out about Hoskins’ work, the youngsters “looked forward to the help they received from him on their reading skills and that it was the highlight of their day to work on their reading” with Hoskins.
He also used his time in Oregon to do accounting internship work with a large retirement community, which cemented his decision to complete his accounting degree this year.
“It was good for me,” he said of the internship. “Youcan learn everything in the textbook, but with this I was able to apply it to reality. Until you do that then you don’t really grasp it.”
The month of May will bring new double challenges for Hoskins. He’ll be heading to Minnesota to play center-back for the Rochester Thunder soccer club in Minnesota and also study for the demanding Certified Public Accountant exam.
Oh yeah. He might also do some landscaping work just to keep busy and make a few dollars.
As usual, Hoskins wouldn’t have it any other way.
PHOTO ABOVE: Justin Hoskins, who will graduate magna cum laude this weekend, is one of three students to receive Outstanding Senior awards this year. The others are Jason Rodriguez and Codie Wahrman.