By Erin Alvarado
In August 2022, Anuar Akchurin ’22 won two gold medals and one silver medal in the USA Canoe Sprint Nationals. He went on to compete in the FISU World Championships, where he represented Florida Tech and placed seventh in the finals.
Originally from Kazakhstan, Akchurin discovered his love for canoeing 11 years ago after watching a competition in person with his father. Afterward, he enrolled in a free club that taught children about the sport. Not only did he love the challenge canoeing presented, but he also enjoyed spending more time in nature.
He dreams of one day competing in the Olympic Games, but already, Akchurin can thank canoeing for more than just medals.
In fact, canoeing is responsible, in part, for leading Akchurin to Florida Tech. He had noticed that his favorite professional canoers would post about traveling to Melbourne, Florida, for training in the Indian River Lagoon and was intrigued to learn more about the area.
“I had always dreamed of attending college in the United States,” Akchurin says. “So, when I realized I could continue training and receive a high-quality education at the same time, I was sold.”
While attending Florida Tech, Akchurin pursued his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and continued competing independently in sprint canoeing. One day, while on the water training, Akchurin crossed paths with professor Paul Cosentino and Florida Tech’s concrete canoe team. After striking up a conversation, Akchurin was brought on to assist the team as an expert in paddle sports.
While coaching the team, he taught the students proper paddling techniques and team-building exercises to improve overall communication.
“Cosentino has continued to be a close professional and personal mentor and friend of mine since I graduated from Florida Tech,” he says.
Currently, Akchurin is an engineer with Bansbach Easylift of North America Inc., which has manufactured gas springs for more than 50 years. He received this position after meeting the company’s CEO, Robert T. Rose, on the Indian River Lagoon while he was training.
The two connected over their love of watersports, and Akchurin is very grateful for Bansbach Easylift’s support of his canoeing career and for sponsoring him in competitions.
“In the future, I would love to start a canoeing team at Florida Tech and to give back to the university that helped prepare me for the future and the faculty who always stopped to help, no matter the circumstance.”
Florida Tech Connection: ’22 B.S. mechanical engineering
Day Job: Engineer with Bansbach Easylift of North America Inc.
Recent Honor: Won two gold medals and one silver medal in the USA Canoe Sprint Nationals, then placed seventh in the finals of the FISU World Championships.
Alternate Career: Astronaut
Favorite Florida Tech Memory: Traveling to the ASCE Regional Conference to support the Florida Tech concrete canoeing team on my birthday!
This piece was featured in the winter 2023 edition of Florida Tech Magazine