Jovana Subasic saw an opportunity.
Subasic, a Carson College of Business student and Washington State University women’s basketball player from Serbia, knew firsthand how tough the transition can be for international student-athletes coming to America.
She was thinking of ways she could help that transition.
“If I knew then what I know today, I would do a lot of things differently,” she said.
When she arrived at WSU, Subasic knew very little English. She overcame that by constantly reading and receiving help from professors and fellow students.
Well aware of the challenges incoming international student-athletes can face, Subasic, then a redshirt sophomore, spearheaded a welcoming dinner for WSU international student-athletes as part of the Athletic Department’s Week of Welcome events in August 2018.
“I wanted to bring them together,” Subasic said, explaining the dinner’s purpose. “If I am a freshman and come to the dinner, chances are I am going to meet somebody from another team who is from my country. Maybe that person can help me manage everyday things.”
Bring them together she did.
“I expected 30 to 40 people to show up,” she said, laughing. “We had 80 people attend. There were not enough chairs in the room.”
The feedback Subasic received has been overwhelmingly positive.
“People texted me saying they met somebody they didn’t know,” she said. “It’s been a lot of fun.”
Love of being a student-athlete
The International Welcome Dinner is just one of many opportunities Subasic has embraced as a WSU student-athlete, and she is committed to take advantage of future opportunities presented to her.
“I do a lot,” she said. “I am a curious person.”
“The thing that screams out of every pore of Jovana is that she is completely and totally invested in what she does,” said Kamie Ethridge, WSU women’s basketball coach. “She loves this university. She loves being a student-athlete. She appreciates the opportunity of being a student-athlete at this level and being a Coug.”
In addition to being a member of the women’s basketball team, Subasic, who carries a 3.97 GPA, is the vice president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). She has worked for the WSU International Center during the summer and is double majoring in international business and finance at the College Carson of Business, as well as pursuing a minor in political science.
“I took finance as a second major because I really want to understand how corporations and companies work, especially in the U.S., because it’s one of the major countries for business in the world,” Subasic said. “I want to learn international business so I can apply the finances I learn in other countries as well.”
“Globalization is real, and it’s not going to stop,” Subasic added. “Being an international business major helps me understand it better.”
“International business graduates increasingly benefit from having a global perspective on business,” said Chip Hunter, Carson College of Business dean. “It makes good sense to couple an international business degree with another one because it increases employment opportunities. Whereas there are accountants or financial consultants, ‘international business person’ is not a job title.”
Dining with Deans
Hunter, who describes himself as a huge fan of Subasic, first met her at the Dining with Deans lunch last September.
The lunches, held at the Gray W Jack Thompson Legends Lounge inside the Cougar Football Complex, bring together student-athletes and the dean of the college from their chosen major.
“It was a cool experience,” Subasic said of the lunch, “because we could hear what the dean of the school thinks about the program and where the program is going in the future. It helped me as a student and an athlete because they are concerned about our time management and whether they can do anything to help us study and still perform successfully in sports. It was a big point made at the meeting.”
And there was another point Subasic took away from the meeting with Hunter.
“He comes to our games, which is amazing,” she said. “I really appreciate it.”
Hunter was immediately impressed with Subasic.
“She’s focused,” Hunter said. “She has a great perspective on academics, athletics and life after college. She was asking great questions about what comes next. She has the qualities that will make her successful well beyond WSU.”
Taking her shot
Subasic is an admirer of numbers, in sports and business.
“I follow everything,” Subasic said, “regardless if it is the New York Stock Exchange ticker or the basketball scoreboard. I like to check both.”
Subasic, who started playing basketball at the age of seven, said the competitive drive she has in her academic pursuits carries over to the court.
“I’m a competitive person in everything,” she said. “What I love about basketball is the excitement of a win.”
“She loves to shoot the ball,” Ethridge says of Subasic. “It’s her favorite part of the game. I bring her off the bench, and that is a perfect place for her. She understands the game, studies the game and has good basketball IQ.”
“I do love Jovana’s game,” Hunter said. “I love the fact that when she has room to pull the trigger, she doesn’t hesitate. She’s a good shooter, so it’s pretty cool to watch. When I think about her game, she definitely takes the opportunity.”
Hunter not only loves Subasic’s game on the court, but the opportunities she takes off the court, as well.
“When you see an opportunity take it,” said Hunter. “I think that is a fantastic way of going about it, and Cougs are pretty good at that.”
“Our mission statement for the Carson College of Business includes that we create opportunity, but you still have to be able to take the opportunity,” added Hunter, who said the job placement rate for Carson College graduates is over 90 percent.
Subasic has cherished every opportunity as a student-athlete at WSU.
“I love the feel of family we have here,” she said. “People are willing to help me overcome the challenges I had as a freshman and as an international student. Makes me proud to be a Coug.”