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Hoag and Lerner selected as 2012 McKay Postgraduate Scholars

The NCAA has selected Wake Forest football student-athlete Michael Hoag and Pennsylvania soccer student-athlete Adrienne Lerner as the 2012 recipients of the Jim McKay Postgraduate Scholarships.

 Established in 2008 to honor the contributions of pioneer sports journalist Jim McKay, the program annually awards $10,000 each to one female and one male student-athlete in recognition of their outstanding academic achievement and potential to contribute to the sports communication industry.

Hoag, a communications major with minors in entrepreneurship and social justice and journalism, plans to pursue a graduate degree in broadcast journalism. He graduated cum laude in December 2011 with a 3.54 GPA.

In his application essay, Hoag acknowledged the challenges facing the broadcast field: “The sports communication field is extremely competitive these days because many news stations are getting rid of sports reporters and shifting toward bloggers and freelance writers. The same is happening with newspapers, which are a dying breed in their own right as the Internet has become so accessible.

“Having a graduate degree in broadcast journalism will not only enhance my knowledge and experience in the field, but will in turn help my chances at succeeding in this competitive profession.”

Hoag was an intern at Wear to Win LLC, where he helped develop and implement social marketing campaigns, wrote press releases and provided competitor analyses. He was also a blogger for Fox Sports South, where he wrote a weekly blog on ACC football and was an intern at ISP sports. In that role, he organized, filmed, edited and produced interviews with Wake Forest student-athletes.

He was a member of Lambda Pi Eta Communication National Honor Society, the Academic All-ACC Football Team (2010) and the Capital One Academic All-District Football Team (2011). Hoag was also a semifinalist for the National Football Foundation’s William V. Campbell Trophy in 2011.

In recommending Hoag for the scholarship, Wake Forest Head football coach Jim Grobe wrote, “In over 35 years of coaching I have never known a finer young man than Mike Hoag. He has exemplary character and is loved and respected by players and coaches alike.”

Adrienne Lerner graduated from Pennsylvania in May with a 3.72 GPA and degree in classical studies with a minor in political science. She plans to pursue a master’s of business administration.

As an undergraduate, Lerner was captain of the soccer team and president of Pennsylvania’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. She worked at Penn Sports Network where she performed several duties, including running a camera, show runner and director. She also produced promotional videos for sporting events.

In her application essay Lerner wrote, “Like Mr. McKay, not only do I want to broadcast the sporting event itself, but also explore and present the human stories that are an essential part of the game.”

Lerner interned with NBC’s “Meet the Press” and for Half Yard Productions, producers of the History Channel’s “How the States Got Their Shapes” production – experiences she credits with developing a love for television production. “Its dynamic nature, team approach and necessary attention to detail fit my talents,” she wrote.  She will be working for NBC Sports during this summer’s Olympic Games.

In addition to her work experience, this year Lerner earned the honor of magna cum laude and was selected as the soccer team’s most valuable player and Goldklang award winner (an alumni award for devotion to her team). She was an Academic All-Ivy (2011) and was a Capital One Academic All-District (2011). She was elected as a member of the All-Time Penn Team, first team All-Ivy (2011), second team Eastern College Athletic Conference (2011) and the NSCAA All-Mid-Atlantic second team (2011).

In recommending her for the scholarship, the supervisor for her internship at NBC Sports wrote: “She has all the qualities you would hope for in a student-athlete: she’s inquisitive, self-motivated, hard-working, a team player, quietly self-confident. But Adrienne also showed an uncanny talent for learning the culture and subtleties of a sport in a way I have not encountered among the 70-plus interns I have overseen.”

After graduate school Lerner aspires to be a sports producer, managing a production team.

McKay Scholars demonstrate a unique aptitude and commitment to the sports communication industry. They exhibit the highest level of professional integrity, including the principles of truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness and public accountability with the element of compassion that was the hallmark of its namesake.

Applicants must have an undergraduate GPA of 3.5 or higher and have competed in intercollegiate athletics as a member of an NCAA varsity team. They must be currently enrolled in graduate study or be committed to enrolling in a degree program within five years of being awarded the scholarship.

The scholarship is open to student-athletes in all three NCAA divisions, participating in all sports. Click here for more information and application deadlines.