UConn’s student-athletes are often lauded for their on-field achievements, but there’s an equally important – often unseen – dimension to the student-athlete. UConn Today is publishing a series of profiles to highlight the academic prowess of these student-athletes. Follow along as we profile two athletes each month, and provide an inside look at the academic pursuits of these high-achieving student-athletes.
Folorunso ‘Foley’ Fatukasi ’17 (CLAS)
Hometown and high school: Far Rockaway, New York; Beach Channel High School
Sport: Football, Defensive Lineman
Area of study: Communication; Sociology
Anticipated graduation: December 2017 (Communication degree completed in May 2017)
What attracted you to the communications program at UConn?
I was stuck in what to do with my future in terms of a career. So while I was trying to find a solid major, I came across communications. I learned that this major can lead into essentially any career that I could think of. I also learned that I could take my degree in communications and pair with it with any master’s program.
Cotton Bowl Hall of Famer Lou Holtz said, ‘Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.’ How does this statement apply to your success?
I am confident in my abilities to get things done, and fortunately I have a lot of positive-minded people around me. Having people around you that are positive keeps you motivated and keeps your morale up. So in terms of my success, I would say the people around me have a lot to do with it. I believe that a person can be highly motivated on their own, but if they have really good people around them, it would only be magnified.
What are some of your academic achievements at UConn?
I was on the athletics academic honor roll twice. I also will be receiving a dual degree in both communication and sociology.
In football, defensive linemen are the first line of defense but oftentimes are not in the spotlight; however, you’ve managed to emerge as a standout player. Do you consider yourself to be a leader?
My teammates would say I am leader. I would say I am too, but there are many things that I can improve on. I feel like I am a person that can help my teammates get going. Or if someone needs advice or reinforced positivity, I believe I’m a great candidate for that as well. I feel like I am good at keeping someone’s morale up and helping them believe. There are times that my morale isn’t so high, but my teammates are there to help me get going. So I guess we all lead each other.
You’re a member of Collective Uplift, a holistic development group for African-American and minority groups. What type of events and/or activities are you involved in with this organization?
Collective Uplift has been a solid group for me when talking about holistic development. We have done several panels on topics like what it truly means to be a student-athlete; race; sport and activism; differences between African-Americans in sport and out of sports, etc. We’ve also held some community events, like a spoken word competition partnered with Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, and a back-to-school BBQ for the students on campus that was also partnered with the West Indian Student Organization and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. Also, we have collected clothing for people that are less fortunate than we are. And there’s much more that we have done and plan to do.
What does it mean to you to be a Husky?
At UConn, I have come across a number of people who are underdogs – people who were overlooked in some part of their life and rose to the top. To me, being a Husky represents a conquering mindset to overcome any obstacle we face.