Power combines academics, athletics while working part time at UPEI

Jason Malloy
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UPEI Panthers' Laura Power hits the books after practice.

Laura Power is making the most of her time at UPEI.

She is balancing a part-time job while being a full-time student and playing for the UPEI Panthers women’s basketball team.

“The day is very packed. There’s not much down time,” said the 22-year-old St. John’s, N.L., native.

Power is doing a double major in kinesiology and nutrition while working towards getting into grad school and becoming an occupational therapist.

Power started taking kinesiology at Memorial University in her hometown. She redshirted with the basketball team the first year, but didn’t rejoin the team the next year.

“At first I thought that’s what I wanted,” Power said. “I tried to explore different hobbies and then realized that basketball was something I really did want to do.”

After her second year at Memorial, Power transferred to UPEI.

Her career path has changed a couple of times since high school, but Power — now in her third year in Charlottetown — is happy with the direction she is going.

“It was probably more of an adventure that I will look back on probably in 10 years and laugh about,” she said. “I joke with the girls now that I am taking the six-year undergrad program. . .

“Trying to find out what I really wanted to do took a little bit longer than usual, but I am happy where I am now.”

After this year’s first semester Power was on track to becoming an academic all-Canadian, an average of 80 or higher.

She said having the support of the coaching staff, including assistant coach and academic advisor Bob Gray, has been crucial to keeping her grades up.

“From your first year to the day you walk across the stage, he’s behind you the whole way,” Power said of Gray. “There’s a lot of support here as an athlete and as a student.”

Head coach Greg Gould said Power was one of eight members of the women’s basketball team on track to being academic all-Canadians following the first semester. A couple more team members were real close.

“When we recruit, one of the things we talk about is the complete package,” he said. “We’ve been very fortunate to have recruited . . . what I would call an excellent group of young citizens. They’re much more than basketball players.”

Gould said he is amazed at how the women balance their academic, athletic, work, volunteer and social lives.

“Laura is one of those individuals that has been able to combine all of those things,” he said.

Gould said the first goal for the student-athletes is to get an education to help them find employment and contribute to society.

“Bob Gray has been instrumental in terms of taking charge of the academic side of our program,” Gould said. “We’re doing everything we can to make sure that the girls are successful.”

The coach said the players are taking demanding programs, while some have part-time jobs and volunteer with minor basketball teams, school lunch programs or at hospitals.

“They’re the complete package and we are proud of what they do.”

That means a lot, Power said. She noted Gould saw some of the girls studying last weekend for an exam and decided to take them for ice cream as a study break.

“The little things like that, knowing that your coach supports the effort that you’re putting in both on and off the court is really important,” she said.

The Panthers have four games remaining before hosting the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) championships from March 7 to 9. It will be the first AUS playoff game for most of the Panthers.

“I can’t wait to playoffs,” Power said. “I think everybody is really excited. The energy is starting to build around campus.”

UPEI had an all-time high 73 academic all-Canadians during the 2012-13 season. It represented 40 per cent of its 185 student-athletes.




Meet Laura Power

u Team – UPEI Panthers women’s basketball.

u Hometown – St. John’s, N.L.

Age – 22.

u Studying – Doing a double major in kinesiology and nutrition.

u Getting started – Power took an afternoon dribbling program while in Grade 3 and played on club, school and provincial basketball teams growing up.

u 2013-14 season averages -

GP       Points     Rebounds   Assists

16           6.6    3.1    1.1


Typical day

A look at UPEI basketball player Laura Power’s schedule on Wednesday:

Her day began by working at the fitness centre from 6 to 9 a.m. She worked on her shooting with assistant coach Jay Mingrone before an exam and class that ran until 12:30 p.m. Power had a lab from 1 to 4:30 p.m., had supper, practised from 6 to 8 p.m. and then hit the books.

Today for UPEI:


UPEI Panthers competing at AUS Swimming Championships, Memorial University, Feb. 7 to 9.

Zachery Laustsen, Suzanne Nicholson, Emma MacKay, Katherine VanLeeuwen, Leif Wilm, Rosa Wagemakers, Joseph Sulaiman, Zachery Martin, Rebekah Nitschmann and Joel Legault.

Men's hockey

7 p.m. – UPEI at Moncton

Women's hockey

7 p.m. – St. Thomas at UPEI

Senior recognition night – Ferran Brown, Christina Kelly, Lyndsay Oakes, Keirsten Visser and Anja Weisser.

International Night

Lobby performers:

Guitar: Jacob (Yang) Liu from China, who is first-year business student.

Chinese bamboo flute: Hester (Xiaojing) Zhuo from Chinam who is an exchange student from Hainan University majoring in English.

Official puck drop and national anthem singer – Danny (Xiang) Guan from China, a fourth-year business student.

First intermission:

Dance team – Bella Irakoze from Burundi and Emelyne Umutoni from Rwanda-Burundi. Both are a first-year computer science students.

Second Intermission:

Traditional costume fashion show – Irakoze, Umutoni, Freya Qi from China, a fifth-year education student; Olayinka Toluwani Oluwo from Nigeria, a third-year biology student; Nancy (Akanksha Drotch) from India, a first-year science student; Pasan Jayasinghe from Sri Lanka, a second-year computer science student; Minuri Jayara from Sri Lanka, a second-year business student.

Organizations: Atlantic University Sport, Hainan University

Geographic location: Charlottetown, China, Sri Lanka St. Thomas Burundi Nigeria India

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