Tag: Sports and Fitness Management

Sydney Skalski ’19 (BS Sports and Fitness Management)

I didn’t plan on transforming an ambulance into a tiny home, but I love living in it. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done and I’m proud of it. The idea began when I made friends with a few “van-lifers,” who had gone to Tech and I became intrigued by the lifestyle. I liked the sustainability, minimalism, and frugality of it and especially the freedom that accompanied having a home on wheels.

I originally wanted a van for the project and looked at a variety in online market places. I came across an ambulance for sale and immediately thought, “Wow! This is luxurious. I could stand up in that, and it’s in my budget.” I looked at it the next day, took it for a test drive and soon made the decision that it was going to be my home. My goal was to be as self-sufficient as I could. That included building it pretty much by myself.

It took me all summer to complete, finishing the Sunday before the start of the fall semester. I had never built anything in my life before and I wanted everything to be just the way I wanted. My aim was to prove to myself and to those who thought I was crazy that I could make a beautiful home for myself and that I could live well in a non-traditional setting.

Google became my best friend throughout the process. I did almost everything myself, except for the foam insulation. My boyfriend taught me how to do the electrical wiring.  I learned so many useful skills like plumbing, setting up a solar system and how to use power tools.

I’ll admit that living in a portable home may not be as simple or as glamorous as people portray it to be. I heat with a woodstove so when I’m not home everything freezes, including my food. Not having a bathroom can be a little tricky at times but I have a sink and a travel toilet so I’m not fully without. I shower at the SDC and it works perfectly. Michigan Tech has been amazing and so supportive of my lifestyle. I could not have picked a better place to start my adventure.

Soon I’ll be moving to Rhinelander, Wisconsin (where I built my tiny home) and work at my summer job providing in-home care for the elderly and people with disabilities, before pursuing a graduate degree in Dietetics. I love the freedom of going wherever I get a job without question. I can be my own boss and won’t have to deal with landlords.

Without question, the coolest thing about living in an ambulance is the people I meet and their reactions to learning that I built it. To be honest, I really enjoy the shock factor. I only wish I had done it sooner.


Jake Lucchini

Jake Lucchini stands on the ice in hockey gear

To be nominated for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award is a huge honor. I saw teammates go through it; it was very cool to see them up there. But being in that category is something I never thought would happen for me. I don’t think too much into it, but it is crazy to see the support of the University, and it is such an amazing feeling.

Being on the hockey team, we are given a lot of resources to help us juggle hockey and school. Whenever we need a tutor or help with anything it is always there for us. Coming into college at 20 years old was very different because I wasn’t in school for three years. I had three tutors during my first semester to make sure I was succeeding in my classes. After my first semester, it got a lot easier for me because I was able to juggle school and hockey. During my first semester at Michigan Tech, I was undecided [on a major]. I talked with a lot of people and decided the best major for me would be sports and fitness management. I have zero regrets. I love my major; studying something that interests me makes school so much more enjoyable. I want to play hockey as long as I can after I graduate. If that does not work out, I plan to become a hockey coach. I am getting a minor in coaching.

There isn’t anything to dislike about Michigan Tech. The entire experience has been unbelievable. In my opinion, we have the best fans in the country. The John MacInnes Student Ice Arena is honestly the best experience in all of college hockey. The one class that really took me by surprise was Exercise Assessment. I talked with people who took the class before and they mentioned how it was one of the harder classes in this major. My GPA is right above a 3.0, so my mindset going into the class was to work as hard as I could and hopefully get a B. I ended up getting an A and didn’t get below a 92 percent on any of the exams. The class was so interesting and I think I got an A because I enjoyed it so much.

#mtuhumans #crazysmart #FollowTheHuskies


Ronald Praet, Jr.

I’m a fourth-year sports and fitness management major who realized the value of a college education while growing up in a low-income family. The first in my family to pursue a four-year college degree, I’ve experienced many financial and academic challenges. Because of my upbringing, my college journey has been more on the non-traditional side. I was enrolled in public education until seventh grade, when my parents pulled me out to be home-schooled. It was also my responsibility to help take care of my two siblings, father, and the family home, while my mother took care of elderly members of our family.

It wasn’t until I was in my late teens that I was able to go to L’Anse Creuse Adult Education School to get my high school diploma. I received a partial scholarship from the school to attend Macomb Community College where I took courses for a few years, while continuing to help my family at home. I completed my associate degree in computer electronics engineering at ITT Technical Institute. Later, I attended Wayne State University to pursue a career that I would love. But I found it difficult to stay focused on school while the demands of home were ever present.

Now I’m enrolled at Michigan Tech. I felt at home here from the minute I stepped on campus. I knew right away that this was where I would be able to focus and make my dream of getting a four-year degree come true. My career goal—working my way up to one day becoming a coach in the National Hockey League—was finally within reach.

At age 32 I joined the National Guard, even though I would have to take a year off to fulfill my military obligations. My Tech spirit and work ethic allowed me to push harder when I found adversity. I made the Dean’s List that semester, and I graduated boot camp with highest honors. I have three semesters left before I get to walk across the stage to receive my diploma.

While attending one of my first hockey games here at Tech, I met a woman named Allison. That was almost three-and-a-half years ago. We’ve been together ever since. I wanted to begin the new chapter in our lives where it all began.

#mtuhumans #shesaidyes