Courtesy of University of the Sciences Communications Department
Hailing from Delaware County, PA, Jonathan McGill PHB'17 didn't travel far to attend USciences. But for graduate school, McGill couldn't pass up the opportunity to travel across the Atlantic to continue his education and basketball career at Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT) in Ireland.
McGill follows in the footsteps of T-John Casiello PHB'16, who attended LYIT last year, and Patrick Connaghan PHB'14, who went to Ireland in 2014 to attend Institute of Technology in Carlow. Both Casiello and Connaghan were selected as recipients of the Victory Scholarship through the Sports Changes Life Foundation.
"It is a nice relationship that we have built to connect abroad through basketball and education," said Dave Pauley, USciences Head Basketball Coach.
McGill will play on LYIT's basketball team while pursuing a Master's in Marketing Practice.
"T-John had told me a lot about his experience, and I knew it was a place where I would fit in and thrive," said McGill.
McGill is also coaching youth in the community. In Ireland, sports are often used to help unify communities long divided on religious lines between Protestants and Catholics.
"This is an opportunity I knew I had to take advantage of," said McGill. "Basketball has taken me to many places and provided me with a great opportunity, so it feels good to finally be able to give back through this sport."
Pauley traveled to Ireland last year to see Casiello and coach some of the youth teams himself.
"Sports are important in communities that are so divided like in Ireland," he said.
For McGill, the highlight thus far has been in exploring Ireland's beautiful countryside.
"I've been around Ireland and learned a new culture. This trip is something that is new to me and outside of my comfort-zone, but I am really enjoying it," McGill said. "I've already met so many incredible people. I can tell the relationships I'm building here are going to be life-long. "
All in all, Pauley said he is proud to have built a relationship with LYIT and to see so many of his players involved in this experience.
"I love to see my guys giving back," said Pauley. "Their goal is to keep playing, but my goal is for them is to get their master's degree and get involved in the community."