Life, it seems, is one big balancing act for Tanya Hunt. Just this semester, the junior biochemistry major is juggling the demands of classes in physics, physical chemistry, biology and biochemistry. Three of those courses, she laments, require lab work each week, too.
Outside of class, she’s frequently balancing her body atop a one-inch line suspended a foot or so off the ground, tied between tree trunks. This activity, called slacklining, often draws attention to her and her nylon strap–walking friends who practice the sport in public parks. This past summer, the spectacle made Hunt and her boyfriend, senior philosophy major Jack Weaver, a new friend in Spain, where they were traveling for three months. They invited the Spaniard back to their lodging, cooked him curry and discussed everything from Buddhist philosophy to the death penalty. The unusual introduction and meal was even stranger for the fact that Hunt’s summer home for six weeks of the trip was a compact car, with the back seat serving as pantry and kitchen. The couple and their guest all shared one bowl.
“It was really tiny, and I’m really tall,” Hunt says of her mobile home. “It was an experience.”
That collegiate experience and many others in Charleston and Spain (where Hunt had studied the year before as part of the College’s study abroad program in Trujillo) might not have happened if not for the generosity of the Gorski family of Duncan, S.C. In May 1996, Michelle Gorski graduated from the College with a marketing degree and began work at a dental supply company in Charleston. Seven months later, she passed away from complications of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Seeking to honor her memory, Paul and Nancy Gorski endowed a scholarship in 1997 in their deceased daughter’s name, aiming to help College students with financial needs.
Michelle Gorski was a bubbly woman who never complained about her cancer, despite regular chemotherapy, a bone marrow transplant as a teenager and other invasive medical treatments. At the College, she was a member of Zeta Tau Alpha, picked up a long-term boyfriend during tennis lessons, kept a pet cat named Mr. B and enjoyed Charleston’s shopping and restaurant scenes. She rarely missed class, despite her cancer repeatedly going into remission and returning, and was never too busy to share thoughtful notes or baked goods with loved ones.
“She just fought like you wouldn’t believe,” says Paul Gorski. “She never thought she wouldn’t beat the thing.”
This semester, Hunt was awarded the Michelle Gorski Endowed Memorial Scholarship, and she credits the award for helping provide freedom in her undergraduate pursuits and enabling her to find balance between academic responsibilities at school and a desire to explore. Hunt, who is from Fort Mill, S.C., also works as a chemistry tutor at the College and is a radio deejay. Upon graduation, she’s keen about joining the Peace Corps, looking to travel and help people at the same time.
All these activities and ideas, she says, couldn’t happen without the financial support she receives, including the scholarship endowed by the Gorski family.
“It’s given me the freedom to focus …learning about what I want to do, learning about different cultures in the world,” says Hunt. “It’s kept me coming back to school. I really appreciate my scholarships.”