International Student Athletes

December 5th, 2013 by Tim

What does Plymouth State University’s internationalization mission and Division III non-scholarship athletics have in common?  One common link is PSU international alumnus Claes Joakim Frisk, executive director of Bluechip – Study USA in Goteborg, Sweden. Since Joakim’s graduation and return to Sweden in 1986, he has sent numerous exceptional international students to his beloved alma mater.

This year, 25 international students — 53 percent of our undergraduate international enrollment — proudly wear Panther green.  They represent seven countries: Canada, Denmark, Finland, Japan, Norway, Peru, and Sweden, and they are wonderful ambassadors of PSU.

Overall, our international student athletes excel in the classroom, in their sports, and as leaders in our community.  Half of PSU international student athletes are honor students, , 70% are at 3.0 GPA and above, and 100% are in good academic standing.

Their predominant sports are hockey, skiing, and soccer.  While they are stars on the ice, slopes, and turf, many are also stars in the classroom and on campus as community assistants, global ambassadors, lab assistants, office assistants, student senators, tutors, volunteers, student employees, and more.

Much credit must be given our Athletic Department administration and coaches for their “student first, athlete second” philosophy and for their higher GPA standards for athletic participation.

Joakim Frisk is one of the prides of PSU Athletics. Joakim made his mark at Plymouth State as a student, mid-fielder soccer player, and community ambassador, and continues to make his mark on PSU through the high-caliber students who come to us through his personal counseling. Following are two recent graduates, among scores of Bluechip examples, who exemplify all that the University hopes for in internationalizing our community.

Martina Ryberg, from Stockholm, Sweden; a member of the class of 2013; a graduate of the  communication and media studies program; earned President’s List designation; served as an international fellow in our Center for Global Engagement; a member of the PSU ski team; was a USCSA National Giant Slalom Champion; and led PSU to first ever women’s national title.  Coach Andrew Gannon refers to Martina as a true global citizen who excels in all facets of life and continues to represent the University with distinction.

Jack Astedt, from Angelholm, Sweden; a member of the class of 2013; a graduate of the marketing program; was a goal for the men’s ice hockey team; was a two-time MASCAC All Academic Team recipient; earned the 2013 Paul E. Arold Male Athlete of the Year; played on the 2013 Division II/III All-New England Team; is a PSU record holder for wins, goals against average, and shutouts; and led PSU to its second straight MASCAC regular season title; signed a professional tryout agreement with the Peoria Rivermen in October. Coach Craig Russell ’03 says, “Jack was a rock for us on the ice, but especially off, in the classroom, and in the citizenship example he set for others on campus.”

Thanks to our growing number of quality connections abroad, the future of PSU’s internationalization goal is looking bright, and in no small part due to our sports offerings and sound athletic philosophy.