Demanding academic, athletic commitments led to success for URI student

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Waterford, Conn., native to graduate May 23

KINGSTON, R.I. – May 10, 2010 — Some students wouldn’t persevere after hearing doubts expressed by professors and advisors about their course load at the University of Rhode Island. But Maura Zaneski isn’t the average student.

A double major in textile marketing and accounting with a blossoming swimming career, Zaneski was used to hearing concerns about her rigorous academic load. While taking in advice from advisors, she found that family and a tremendous work ethic were the keys to her success.

“My mom was always there to push me forward,” said Zaneski, a native of Waterford, Conn. “She would offer advice during my meltdowns and encourage me to prioritize. She was always a support for my siblings and me, although we all had different focuses.”

To Zaneski, the concept of family isn’t just relatives; it is those who take the time to support and encourage her through various endeavors. Her swimming teammates were able to sympathize with her time commitment struggles, while professors and coaches were able to offer advice.

Edmund Boyle, associate professor of accounting in the College of Business Administration, was a key figure in Zaneski’s stay at URI. As her professor, Boyle became an unofficial advisor, listening to her troubles with both school and swimming and offering guidance through difficult times.

“The two main things I’ve learned at URI is that family, whether by blood or through close friends, will always be there for me, and most importantly, not to give up on myself,” said Zaneski.

Some students would have struggled to complete two majors and more than 140 credits in four years, but Zaneski used her time management skills and will graduate May 23 with a 3.54 grade point average.

“Time management is vital to my academic and athletic career. I wouldn’t have been able to succeed without proper planning and being time oriented,” said Zaneski. “You’re always going to make time for the things you want, but sometimes you have to make that choice between what’s fun and important.”

Being at URI and on the swim team has not only helped her expand critical life skills, but her personal skills as well. Among those achievements that enhanced Zaneski’s personal development were breaking four varsity relay records in the Atlantic 10 Championship meet, becoming a tri-captain of the swim team her senior year, and committing to participate in the Student Athlete Advisory Committee for three years.

“Swimming has helped me realize that I need to accept other people for who they are. Not everyone has the same work ethic or outlook so I learned to stay positive and open,” said Zaneski. “I’m now able to more clearly represent myself. I’m also a much more confident and determined person.”

While she completes demanding college experience, she aims high for the future, looking to land a job in New York City working in the accounting department of a major retail corporation.

She expects to continue swimming as well, and she is even considering becoming a coach.

“Swimming is a good life sport and I will continue with it for a while,” she said. “There’s always the potential for growth.”

URI Department of Communications & Marketing photo by Michael Salerno Photography.

This release was written by Alicia Blain, an intern in URI’s Department of Communications and Marketing and a public relations major.