Subscribe to Gonzaga University's News Service RSS Feed
Gonzaga University News Feature
|Zag Hassett Drives in School, on the Court|
Gonzaga University student Maria Hassett of Beaverton, Ore., a forward on the women’s basketball team, pursues knowledge and her academic goals with as much drive and determination as she exhibits on the court. A straight-A student at Aloha High School and an honor student at Gonzaga, Hassett’s self-discipline continues to pay dividends this summer as she focuses on her passion for politics through an internship for Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., in Washington, D.C.
Hassett has made her mark the past two seasons for the Zags as a low-post power. She played in all 34 games for GU in 2007, averaging 10 minutes, 2.7 points and 1.8 rebounds per game. Coach Kelly Graves expects great things from Hassett. Hassett also has continued to excel in the classroom and last spring made the President’s List of students whose grade-point averages fall between 3.7 and a perfect 4.0.
“Maria has continued to improve over her two seasons with us,” said Graves. “After playing behind veteran Stephanie Hawk (who graduated) this may be her season to shine.”
It was more than coincidence that led Hassett to seek the internship with Smith. For one, Hassett is excited to work with a politician from her own state. She is becoming familiar with the major issues in Oregon.
Hassett said she feels Smith is a good role model for her.
“I really like Senator Smith,” she said. “He’s good about listening to his constituents.” Hassett said Smith, a Republican, is an independent thinker who advocates for affordable health care and better treatment of the environment. “He doesn’t just vote on the party line, and that takes a lot of courage,” Hassett said.
The internship is Hassett’s first office job, and she could not be more enthusiastic. While a big part of her job includes answering phone calls and letters, she also is getting opportunities to visit Smith’s constituents. The part of her job that Hassett likes best, however, is the opportunity to talk with Sen. Smith and observe him interacting with others, which she welcomes as great learning experiences.
“I really like to learn. I want to know how the world works,” Hassett said, explaining that her desire to learn about the world is the reason she chose to study economics and political science. At Gonzaga, she takes in as many events and lectures as possible, satisfying her thirst for knowledge.
Hassett also enjoys attending Gonzaga University Theater Sports, popularly known as GUTS, and Thirst, a non-denominational praise and worship group. In addition, Hassett will sing at the 8:30 p.m. Masses this coming school year.
Where does she get the time?
As might be expected, her basketball experience has kept her sharp physically and mentally. Hassett said basketball has taught her to manage her time better, boosted her self-confidence, and inspired lessons in humility.
“It’s like having a part-time job,” Hassett said of the long hours she logs on the court. With so little free time, self-discipline and setting one’s priorities is crucial.
“I force myself to sit in the library and get assignments done,” said Hassett, adding that basketball has taught her to receive constructive criticism and believe in herself. Although she has much to be proud of, Hassett is not one to boast. Instead, she quickly points out other students’ accomplishments and expresses gratitude for Coach Kelly Graves, who encouraged her to accept the internship with Sen. Smith.
“There are people out there doing bigger and better things,” she said. “I’m just doing what I can. You can’t always be a star,” she said in reference to waiting her turn on the bench during basketball season and answering the phones for Sen. Smith.
Passion, discipline, humility and thirst for knowledge all coalesce in Maria Hassett, who shines bright on the basketball court, in the classroom and with everyone she meets.
|Click here for more info|