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Ethnic Minority and Women’s Enhancement Scholarship recipients announced

The NCAA is awarding 26 scholarships worth $6,000 apiece to 13 ethnic minority and 13 female recipients as part of its annual Ethnic Minority and Women’s Enhancement Scholarship program. Developed to increase opportunities for qualified minority and female candidates, the scholarships are a one-time, non-renewable award given to college graduates who will be entering their initial year of postgraduate studies.

To qualify, applicants must be seeking admission or have been accepted into a sports administration or similar academic program. The applicant’s academic interests should prepare him or her for a career in intercollegiate athletics, providing a service to the NCAA membership.

The awards will be formally presented in June at the Career in Sports Forum. This year’s recipients include:

Radiance Basden

Undergraduate Institution: South Carolina

Graduate Major: Sport and Entertainment Management

Quote from application: “The NCAA Ethnic Minority and Women’s Enhancement Programs’ Postgraduate Scholarship for Careers in Athletics will allow me to further my education and jump-start my career in the athletic industry.”

Jessica Bivins

Undergraduate Institution: Georgia Southwestern State

Graduate Major: Doctor of Physical Therapy

Quote from application: “As a black woman and the first person in my immediate family to attend a four-year university, there’s naturally pressure on me to succeed. Graduating with my Exercise Science undergraduate degree will be a great accomplishment and a profound achievement, but in three years, graduating with a doctorate in physical therapy will be an even greater accomplishment. This will signify that I can do anything I put my mind to regardless (of) the struggle and obstacles I have endured.”

Kelly Curtis

Undergraduate Institution: Springfield

Graduate Major: Sports Industry Management

Quote from application: “My plan for a career in athletics began, in a way, when I was born. My father was an athletic director for over 20 years in the public school system of Newark, NJ and Princeton, NJ. Ultimately I plan on becoming an athletics director of an NCAA institution.”

Lynette Fitts

Undergraduate Institution: North Carolina

Graduate Major: Graduate Education Athletic Training Program

Quote from application: “Having personally struggled with hamstring strains and other related injuries as a former collegiate track and field athlete, my research interests will focus on proper prevention and diagnosis of injuries.”

Sierra Gant

Institution: Missouri

Graduate Major: Doctor of Physical Therapy

Quote from application: “I consistently represent my profession and the NCAA in a positive way, and I plan to continue developing my skills and reaching high levels of excellence in my life.”

Ashley Hamada

Undergraduate Institution: Texas Tech

Graduate Major: Exercise Sports Science; Strength and Conditioning

Quote from application: “Ultimately, I want to be a strength and conditioning coach at a Division I university, training any women’s sports team.”

Chantel Jefferson

Undergraduate Institution: Texas Southern

Graduate Major: Athletic Training

Quote from application: “My career plans are to initially find work in this career field with an athletic program on the high school and/or collegiate level.”

Katherine Lee

Undergraduate Institution: Akron

Graduate Major: Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise

Quote from application: “I am a very ‘purpose-driven’ person and feel passionately about the importance of helping people. There is nothing more fundamental than taking care of the body we have been given to carry us through this life.”

Nicole Okolo

Undergraduate Institution: Western Carolina

Graduate Major: Sport Business Management

Quote from application: “I am delighted that the NCAA has acknowledged the importance of diversity in sports and created a scholarship that recognizes the role of minorities and women. Both groups have made extensive strides in the sports field and other careers. I am personally elated that I have the opportunity to apply for a scholarship that pertains to me in both aspects.”

Amanda Rodriquez

Undergraduate Institution: Oregon State

Graduate Major: Sport and Exercise Psychology

Quote from application: “With an undergraduate degree in exercise and sports science and a master’s in sport and exercise psychology, I will be well equipped with the tools necessary in assisting athletes to maximize their abilities and opportunities in sport, the classroom, and the community. With the help of the NCAA Ethnic Minority and Women’s Enhancement Programs’ Postgraduate Scholarship, my vision to attain a master’s degree can become a reality.”

Elizabeth Simonin

Undergraduate Institution: Memphis

Graduate Major: Psychology

Quote from application: “I can use the NCAA Ethnic Minority and Women’s Enhancement Programs’ Postgraduate Scholarship for my opportunity to start my coaching career at the collegiate level.”

Cornell Sneed

Undergraduate Institution: East Tennessee State

Graduate Major: Social Work

Quote from application: “By receiving the education and information that the master’s of social work is going to give me, I believe I will be able to improve the quality of life by helping the student-athletes deal with problems from adjusting to their collegiate curriculum or sport, to helping them feel at ease about being hundreds, sometimes even thousands of miles away from home.”

Curtis Walker

Undergraduate Institution: Virginia State

Graduate Major: Sports Business Management

Quote from application: “I feel that it is essential to build the identity of athletes at an early age by community engagement, professional development opportunities and showing them the importance of maturing and having a great sense of humility. It is imperative that athletes understand the many directions sports can take them through educational advancement; but, it is up to us as leaders in sport to provide them with that opportunity.”

Amy Clapper

Undergraduate Institution: North Carolina-Greensboro

Graduate Major: Master of Business Administration

Quote from application: “Sports have had such an impact on my life that I would like to see women’s collegiate athletics grow and improve in the coming generation and I believe this scholarship would allow me to get on the right path to help make that happen.”

Kayla Conrad

Undergraduate Institution: North Florida

Graduate Major: Athletic Administration

Quote from application: “After receiving my master’s in athletic administration, I hope to work within a university athletic department and aspire to be a compliance director. Receiving this scholarship would put me another step closer to this goal.”

Brooke Finley

Undergraduate Institution: UCLA

Graduate Major: Sports Law

Quote from application: “My goal is to work for a professional baseball team as an executive dealing with contracts, negotiations and overseeing club operations.”

Amanda Gifford

Undergraduate Institution: Husson

Graduate Major: Higher Education

Quote from application: “Your scholarship would serve to support my dream to eventually coach and mentor student-athletes, teaching them how to succeed on the court, in the classroom, and most importantly, in life.”

Kelee Grimes

Undergraduate Institution: Northwestern State

Graduate Major: Health and Human Performance

Quote from application: “I have been privileged to serve on athletic committees that have exposed me to the opportunities available to women in the administration side of sports. The experience I have gain through my work with the department staff and women that work in our academic center has inspired me to work with student-athletes.”

Lindsay Makowicki

Undergraduate Institution: Hartford

Graduate Major: Sports Business

Quote from application: “It is my belief that once I have obtained my masters in sports business, then I will be in a better position to pursue my career goal of working for a professional sports team or a major Division I school.”

Jamie Mera

Undergraduate Institution: Missouri

Graduate Major: Sports Law

Quote from application: “As president of our Student-athlete Advisory Committee, I have felt first-hand what it is like to watch my ideas evolve into realities, and I have a unique opportunity to make a difference not only in my athletic department, but also in the community. I want to continue being an advocate for change the rest of my life.”

Lana Mims

Undergraduate Institution: Missouri

Graduate Major: Exercise Physiology

Quote from application: “I plan to pursue graduate studies in exercise physiology. I want to learn about the body on a cellular and functional level and further understand how things like fat and carbohydrates are necessary in not only being a great athlete, but also in becoming healthy individuals.”

Jaime Pisani

Undergraduate Institution: Arkansas

Graduate Major: Kinesiology

Quote from application: “I have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to be involved in athletics my entire life. Due to this intense background in sports performance and the fundamental knowledge of how the body responds to physical activity, I am confident I am prepared for these future endeavors.”

Danica Saxon

Undergraduate Institution: East Texas Baptist

Graduate Major: Doctorate of Physical Therapy

Quote from application: “This scholarship will allow my education to be both affordable and achievable. My career in physical therapy will give me the opportunity to help athletes like myself.”

Aiyana Welsh

Undergraduate Institution: Long Beach State

Graduate Major: Sports Management

Quote from application: “Through my experiences on campus as well as my professional sports internships, I know that my goal is to work in sports.”

Sarah  Willey

Undergraduate Institution: North Texas

Graduate Major: Sports Management

Quote from application: “As a student-athlete, I have been able to see the behind the scenes working of a college athletic department. This has inspired me to pursue a career in sports administration.”

Hanna Wilfong

Undergraduate Institution: Kansas State

Graduate Major: Sports Administration

Quote from application: “No member of my family has ever graduated from college. No member of my family has ever even considered graduate school. In Fall 2012, I will be entering uncharted territory….”