AASP Spotlight

AASP Scholar Graduate Honor Roll

The Accelerating Academic Success Program is introducing our inaugural AASP Honor Roll Class. The Honor Roll is designed to recognize student-athlete academic excellence.  Academics is at the heart of the NCAA’s mission.  The AASP Honor Roll showcases those student-athletes who go above and beyond in the classroom during the tenure of their intercollegiate athletic and academic careers.  The AASP Scholar Graduate Honor Roll highlights the academic success of our student-athletes and the institutional commitment to academic excellence. 

To be eligible for this honor, a student-athlete must: 

  • Have graduated from an AASP eligible institution in Spring of the 2018-19 academic year
  • Have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or above 

 We salute and congratulate the 2019 inaugural class of the AASP Honor Roll.

* Click on the headings below to sort the table.

Name* School* Sport*
Colin Devin St. Francis College Men's Golf
David Tottori St. Francis College Men's Golf
Sami Gliguem St. Francis College Men’s Soccer
Ali Tounkara St. Francis College Men's Soccer
Jonas Veazey St. Francis College Men's Swimming and Diving
Pablo Blasco St. Francis College Men's Tennis
Alejandro Ridruejo St. Francis College Men's Tennis
Ognjen Antanaskovic St. Francis College Men's Water Polo
Nikita Prokhin St. Francis College Men's Water Polo
Dana Direnzo St. Francis College Women's Basketball
Amy O'Neill St. Francis College Women's Basketball
Maria Palarino St. Francis College Women's Basketball
Victoria Wagner St. Francis College Women's Basketball
Mary Anderson St. Francis College Women's Swimming and Diving
Nicole Herrick St. Francis College Women's Swimming and Diving
Gabriella Nobrega St. Francis College Women's Volleyball
Nina Tiedt St. Francis College Women's Volleyball
De'Kayta Alex Southeastern Louisiana University Women's Track and Field
Jared Biddy Southeastern Louisiana University Men's Baseball
Ashailee Brailey Southeastern Louisiana University Women's Basketball
Payton Colson Southeastern Louisiana University Women's Soccer
Joris Etlin Southeastern Louisiana University Men's Golf
Corey Gaconi Southeastern Louisiana University Men's Baseball
Mason Knopp Southeastern Louisiana University Men's Baseball
Sofia Olsson Southeastern Louisiana University Women's Soccer
Nathan Pilutti Southeastern Louisiana University Men's Baseball
Scott Sanders Southeastern Louisiana University Men's Baseball
Kyle Schimpf Southeastern Louisiana University Men's Baseball
Clarissa Smith Southeastern Louisiana University Women's Cross Country
Bryce Tassin Southeastern Louisiana University Men's Baseball
Alexandra Torres Southeastern Louisiana University Women's Volleyball
Cole Berry Eastern Illinois University Men's Baseball
Tyler Tesmond Eastern Illinois University Men's Baseball
Joseph Carter Eastern Illinois University Men's Cross Country
Charles Adare Eastern Illinois University Men's Golf
Daphne Chang Eastern Illinois University Women's Golf
Katlyn Hasprey Eastern Illinois University Women's Golf
Elisabeth Held Eastern Illinois University Women's Soccer
Kate Olson Eastern Illinois University Women's Soccer
Kayla Stolfa Eastern Illinois University Women's Soccer
Nicholas Harkins Eastern Illinois University Men's Swimming and Diving
Martee Grainger Eastern Illinois University Women's Swimming and Diving
Caro Lamarque Eastern Illinois University Women's Swimming and Diving
Abigail Carpenter Eastern Illinois University Women's Tennis
Srishti Slaria Eastern Illinois University Women's Tennis
Ashton Wilson Eastern Illinois University Men's Track and Field
Kaitlyn Ebert Eastern Illinois University Women's Track and Field
Gina Furlin Eastern Illinois University Women's Volleyball
Ashley Bartlett Eastern Illinois University Women's Softball
Mady Poulter Eastern Illinois University Women's Softball
Timerik Cook Tennessee State University  Men's Football
Shakur Jackson Tennessee State University  Men's Football
Rosario Falzone Tennessee State University  Men's Golf
Drew Owens Tennessee State University  Men's Golf
Maddison Clark Tennessee State University  Women's Softball
Emma Colegrove Tennessee State University  Women's Softball
Megan Huppee Tennessee State University  Women's Softball
Kierra Ware Tennessee State University  Women's Softball
Pragati Natraj Tennessee State University  Women's Tennis
Abhilasha Vishwanath Tennessee State University  Women's Tennis
Samantha Anderson University of Central Arkansas Women's Volleyball
Camille Bassett University of Central Arkansas Women's Soccer
Antonija Bozic University of Central Arkansas Women's Basketball
Christian Brasher University of Central Arkansas Men's Baseball
Brett D'Amico University of Central Arkansas Men's Baseball
Morgan Felts University of Central Arkansas Women's Softball
Sally Fridstrom University of Central Arkansas Women's Golf
William Hancock University of Central Arkansas Men's Baseball
Christopher Holmes University of Central Arkansas Men's Soccer
Kylee Kirk University of Central Arkansas Women's Track and Field
Dango Kumwenda University of Central Arkansas Men's Soccer
Abbie Linna University of Central Arkansas Women's Track and Field
Rada Manataweewat University of Central Arkansas Women's Tennis
Brianna Mullins University of Central Arkansas Women's Basketball
Hannah Noble University of Central Arkansas Women's Track and Field
Luis Obiols Hohn University of Central Arkansas Men's Golf
Curtis Parker University of Central Arkansas Men's Football
Kelsey Quick University of Central Arkansas Women's Soccer
Markus Schweikert University of Central Arkansas Men's Track & Field
Oakley Sisemore University of Central Arkansas Women's Softball
Ian Smith University of Central Arkansas Men's Track and Field 
Mason Smith University of Central Arkansas Men's Baseball
Emma Svensson University of Central Arkansas Women's Golf
Jessica Taylor University of Central Arkansas Women's Softball
Briana Whisenhunt University of Central Arkansas Women's Softball
Cassidy Barrios Nicholls State University Women's Basketball
Madison Slavens Nicholls State University Women's Soccer
Maegen Ellis Nicholls State University Women's Softball
Stephanie Barnett Nicholls State University Women's Tennis
Alexa Perry Nicholls State University Women's Volleyball
Jade Piper Nicholls State University Women's Volleyball
Alayah Byers California State University, Fullerton Women's Track and Field
Cady Francis California State University, Fullerton Women's Volleyball
Gretchen Hom California State University, Fullerton Women's Softball
Summer Kerins California State University, Fullerton Women's Volleyball 
Alysse McMillen California State University, Fullerton Women's Track and Field 
Felicia Medalla California State University, Fullerton Women's Golf
Ryan Polakiewicz California State University, Fullerton Men's Track and Field 
Pauline Welker California State University, Fullerton Women's Golf
Alexandra Whitman California State University, Fullerton Women's Cross Country and Track and Field
Ariana Williams California State University, Fullerton Women's Softball 
Colby Koontz Northwestern State University Men's Basketball
Leah Barnes Northwestern State University Women's Basketball
Samantha Thomas Northwestern State University Women's Basketball
Corban James Northwestern State University Men's Football
Ryan Reed Northwestern State University Men's Football
Ysmina Smith  Northwestern State University Women's Soccer
April Trowbridge Northwestern State University Women's Soccer
Polina Mutel  Northwestern State University Women's Tennis
Tyra Duma Northwestern State University Women's Track and Field
Jasmyn Hunter Northwestern State University Women's Track and Field
Sarah Lewis  Northwestern State University Women's Track and Field
Madeline Drake Northwestern State University Women's Volleyball
Victoria Harris  Northwestern State University Women's Volleyball
Reagan Rogers Northwestern State University Women's Volleyball
Zach Glotta  Austin Peay State University Men's Basketball
Sam Lopez Austin Peay State University Men's Golf
Ashton Goodley Austin Peay State University Women's Golf
Taylor Goodley Austin Peay State University Women's Golf
Kacy Acree Austin Peay State University Women's Softball
Savannah Amato Austin Peay State University Women's Track and Field
Nia Gibbs-Francis  Austin Peay State University Women's Track and Field
Dascha Hix Austin Peay State University Women's Track and Field
Gretchen Rosch Austin Peay State University Women's Track and Field
Chad Woodham Austin Peay State University Men's Tennis
Helena Kuppig Austin Peay State University Women's Tennis
Claudia Yanes Garcia Austin Peay State University Women's Tennis
Lidia Yanes Garcia Austin Peay State University Women's Tennis
Jarrett Giacchino Austin Peay State University Men's Football
Michael Hoover Austin Peay State University Men's Football
Ryan Rockenseuss Austin Peay State University Men's Football
Hunter Schmeisser Austin Peay State University Men's Football
Ethan Self Austin Peay State University Men's Football
Logan Carger Austin Peay State University Women's Volleyball
Cecily Gable Austin Peay State University Women's Volleyball
Kristen Stucker Austin Peay State University Women's Volleyball
Kaylee Taff Austin Peay State University Women's Volleyball
Garrett Kueber Austin Peay State University Men's Baseball
David Martinez Austin Peay State University Men's Baseball
Josh Rye Austin Peay State University Men's Baseball
Brandon Vial Austin Peay State University Men's Baseball
Ross Walker Austin Peay State University Men's Baseball
Brice Bement Austin Peay State University Women's Soccer
McKenzie Dixon Austin Peay State University Women's Soccer
Pamela Penaloza Austin Peay State University Women's Soccer
Jennifer Smith Austin Peay State University Women's Soccer
Kanisha Tharpe Alabama A&M University Women's Basketball
Paul San Alabama A&M University Men's Golf
Zachary Collins Prairie View A&M University Men's Football
Naharika Rama Prairie View A&M University Women’s Tennis
Vannessa Castro Prairie View A&M University Women's Softball
Kiara Ross Prairie View A&M University Women's Softball
Nicholas Kreutzer University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Men's Basketball
Ryan Mallison University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Men's Basketball
Austin Toth University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Men's Basketball
Marteveus Favors University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Men's Football
Travis Bibbs University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Men's Track and Field 
Kuhtso Ledwaba University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Men's Tennis
Ashlee Daniel University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Women's Basketball
Malaik Muhammad University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Women's Basketball
Cierra Fenwick University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Women's Soccer
Karissa Fenwick University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Women's Soccer
Rebecca Holmes University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Women's Soccer
Kameron Graham University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Women's Softball
Karia Hall University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Women's Softball
Alexandria Taylor University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Women's Softball
Ajani Bethea-Nurse University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Women's Track and Field
Christ-Shamma Metalbert University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Women's Track and Field
Lisa Casimie University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Women's Volleyball
Brittney Sahlmann University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Women's Volleyball
Jenna Wuzinski University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Women's Volleyball
Kori Kutsch Alabama State University Women’s Volleyball
Lea Krajcovicoa Alabama State University Women’s Tennis
Gabriela Lackova Alabama State University Women’s Tennis
Britanee Harris Alabama State University Women’s Soccer
Tiarra Wilkins Alabama State University Women's Bowling
Fausto Pichardo Alabama State University Men’s Basketball
Jeremiah Bozeman Jackson State University Men's Basketball 
Nickolas C. Davis Jackson State University Men's Football
Laura Funk Jackson State University Women's Volleyball
Nadia Hernandez Jackson State University Women's Soccer
Javauny K. Hyde Jackson State University Men's Track and Field 
Lucia Isabel Solis Jackson State University Women's Tennis
Alyssa Quixley University of New Orleans Women's Basketball
Michael Sotile University of New Orleans Men's Golf
Nicolas Kramer University of New Orleans Men's Tennis
Trang Dao University of New Orleans Women's Tennis
Mark Golay University of New Orleans Men's Cross Country and Track and Field
Jordan Courtois University of New Orleans Women's Track and Field
Madison Miller University of New Orleans Women's Beach Volleyball
Nicolas Bianco Sacramento State University Men's Football
Estel Boix Noguer Sacramento State University Women's Rowing
Savanna Corr Sacramento State University Women's Softball
Sofia Gulnova Sacramento State University Women's Tennis
Mikus Losbergs Sacramento State University Men's Tennis
Ericka Magana Sacramento State University Women's Basketball
Nolan Merker Sacramento State University Men's Football
Abigail Morgan Sacramento State University Women's Rowing
Carly Pratt Sacramento State University Women's Gymnastics
Bernardo Moraes Sacramento State University Men's Tennis
Raegen Rohn Sacramento State University Women's Basketball
Lauren Schmeiss Sacramento State University Women's Gymnastics
Matthew Smith Sacramento State University Men's Baseball
Frederick Wagner Sacramento State University Men's Track and Field
Sofia Wicker Velez Sacramento State University Women's Tennis
Ricky Williams Sacramento State University Men's Football
Lucas Krusinski Morgan State University Men's Tennis
Arjun Ramakrishnan Morgan State University Men's Tennis
Kiersten Bateman Morgan State University Women's Bowling
Katherine Clouse Morgan State University Women's Bowling
Devin Hill-Bartlett Morgan State University Women's Bowling
Rachel Baurer Morgan State University Women's Cross Country
Giselle Alvarez Morgan State University Women's Softball
Gabrielle Gorosave Morgan State University Women's Softball
Sarah Clark Morgan State University Women's Softball
Damali Young Morgan State University Women's Softball
Stormy Zyzyk Morgan State University Women's Softball
Peggy Rooke Morgan State University Women's Tennis
Oriane Yehouenou Morgan State University Women's Tennis
Kevena Jones Morgan State University Women's Track and Field
Kheanna Landrum Morgan State University Women's Volleyball
Peyton Cain                         University of Tennessee, Martin Men's Baseball
Brooke Gyori                       University of Tennessee, Martin Women's Volleyball
Bianca McFarland              University of Tennessee, Martin Women's Soccer
Amy McGivern                   University of Tennessee, Martin Women's Soccer
Alli Fulcher                           University of Tennessee, Martin Women's Softball
Jessie Douglas                     University of Tennessee, Martin Women's Softball
Danae Kaldaridou              University of Tennessee, Martin Women's Soccer
Sara Ketis                             University of Tennessee, Martin Women's Soccer
Maggie Burkett                  University of Tennessee, Martin Women's Soccer
Jemima Potter                    University of Tennessee, Martin Women's Tennis
Zach Denney                       University of Tennessee, Martin Men's Baseball
Cherie Wilson                     University of Tennessee, Martin Women's Cross Country and Track and Field
Chantal Wilson                   University of Tennessee, Martin Women's Cross Country and Track and Field
Andrea Plantada                University of Tennessee, Martin Women's Tennis
Sammie Felts                      University of Tennessee, Martin Women's Equestrian
Andre Delcalzo                   University of Tennessee, Martin Women's Rifle
Jonah Brody                        University of Tennessee, Martin Men's Baseball
Akeia Joyner University of Arkansas at Little Rock Women's Track and Field
Anna Kharlamova University of Arkansas at Little Rock Women's Swimming
Arola Aparicio Gili University of Arkansas at Little Rock Women's Soccer
Bailey Fithian University of Arkansas at Little Rock Women's Soccer
Chase Coker University of Arkansas at Little Rock Men's Baseball
Christina Nickerson University of Arkansas at Little Rock Women's Track and Field
Claire Palmer University of Arkansas at Little Rock Women's Soccer
Emilie Blennow University of Arkansas at Little Rock Women's Golf
Garrett Scott University of Arkansas at Little Rock Men's Baseball
Jaclyn Purvine University of Arkansas at Little Rock Women's Soccer
Josephine Verslues University of Arkansas at Little Rock Women's Soccer
Justin Warren University of Arkansas at Little Rock Men's Golf
Laura Ruiz Astorga University of Arkansas at Little Rock Women's Swimming
Logan Strange University of Arkansas at Little Rock Women's Soccer
Nora Hellmers University of Arkansas at Little Rock Women's Soccer
Pablo Ortiz University of Arkansas at Little Rock Men's Baseball
Siarra Tucker University of Arkansas at Little Rock Women's Soccer
Sydnee Martin University of Arkansas at Little Rock Women's Volleyball
Vasiliki Falaina University of Arkansas at Little Rock Women's Swimming
Veronica Marin University of Arkansas at Little Rock Women's Volleyball
Zach Ours University of Arkansas at Little Rock Men's Baseball
Jared Quintero Saint Peter's University  Men's Baseball
Jose Cardona Saint Peter's University  Men's Golf
Nicholas Marna Saint Peter's University  Men's Soccer
Steven Parry Saint Peter's University  Men's Soccer
Arthur Bertrand Saint Peter's University  Men's Swimming and Diving
Douglas Nover Saint Peter's University  Men's Track and Field
Schieler Collins Saint Peter's University  Women's Softball
Harlequin Connors Saint Peter's University  Women's Softball
Tiffani Lambert Saint Peter's University  Women's Softball
Barbara Verrastro Saint Peter's University  Women's Softball
Kali Viles Saint Peter's University  Women's Volleyball
Brianni Thomas Saint Peter's University  Women's Swimming and Diving
Jodi Collymore Saint Peter's University  Women's Track and Field
Shelby Deschamps  Norfolk State University Women's Softball
Antenah Girma  Norfolk State University Men's Cross Country and Track and Field
Joseph Wanene  Norfolk State University Men's Cross Country and Track and Field
Johnathan Mahoney  Norfolk State University Men's Baseball
Shane Triplett  California State University, Bakersfield Men's Swim and Dive
Kiana Dorris  California State University, Bakersfield Women's Swim and Dive
Matt Penyacsek California State University, Bakersfield Men's Wrestling
Mark Penyacsek California State University, Bakersfield Men's Wrestling
Jake Ortega California State University, Bakersfield Men's Baseball
Dylan Dombi Youngstown State University Men's Track and Field
James Nedrich Youngstown State University Men's Track and Field
Rachel Hart Youngstown State University Women's Track and Field
Jennifer Muhlenkamp Youngstown State University Women's Track and Field
Noe Anabir Youngstown State University Men’s Basketball
Kyle Hegedus Youngstown State University Men's Football
Danielle Dadig Youngstown State University Women's Softball
Zsani Csado Youngstown State University Women’s Swimming
Aleah Hughes Youngstown State University Women’s Volleyball
Brittany Hoskins Youngstown State University Women’s Soccer
Melinda Trimmer Youngstown State University Women’s Basketball
Megan Creager Youngstown State University Women’s Golf
Evan Standohar Youngstown State University Men’s Golf
Jannon Otto University of California, Riverside Women's Basketball
Malou Thiebaut De Kergret University of California, Riverside Women's Basketball 
Andrew Spilman University of California, Riverside Men's Golf 
Jakeishya Le University of California, Riverside Women's Golf 
Kaiulani Ahuna University of California, Riverside Women's Volleyball 
Aayushi Chouhan   Delaware State University Women's Tennis
Cassius Hamm California State University, Northridge Men's Baseball
Theron Kay California State University, Northridge Men's Baseball
Tyree Harriott California State University, Northridge Men's Track and Field
Claudia Ramos California State University, Northridge Women's Basketball
Taylor Troost California State University, Northridge Women's Softball
Katelyn Vonmeter California State University, Northridge Women's Soccer
Lindsay Kutscher California State University, Northridge Women's Soccer
Kirsten Vonmeter California State University, Northridge Women's Soccer
Elena Lopez California State University, Northridge Women's Track and Field
Kimberly Newton California State University, Northridge Women's Track and Field
Kelsi Dunne California State University, Northridge Women's Track and Field
Cassidy Rosso California State University, Northridge Women's Volleyball
Daci Hughes California State University, Northridge Women's Water Polo
Vivian Talmage California State University, Northridge Women's Water Polo
Colin Devin St. Francis College Men's Golf
David Tottori St. Francis College Men's Golf
Sami Gliguem St. Francis College Men’s Soccer
Ali Tounkara St. Francis College Men's Soccer
Jonas Veazey St. Francis College Men's Swimming and Diving
Pablo Blasco St. Francis College Men's Tennis
Alejandro Ridruejo St. Francis College Men's Tennis
Ognjen Antanaskovic St. Francis College Men's Water Polo
Jalen Alexander Heath Grambling State University Men's Baseball
De'Arius Christmas Grambling State University Men's Football
Jessica Miller Grambling State University Women's Soccer
Kiawna Mounts Grambling State University Women's Soccer
Idah Longwe Grambling State University Women's Tennis

2019 Career Development Award Winners

Aayushi Chouhan

Chouhan’s career goal is to someday work for the International Olympic Committee. To help make this dream come true, she is interning in the compliance office at Delaware State.

In January, Chouhan was on the winning team in the first Business Case Study Competition at the NFL Careers in Football Forum. The winning presentation focused on how the Carolina Panthers could market to fans to increase attendance.

Chouhan hopes to earn a full-time internship with the NFL team after graduation. She is currently competing in her senior season for Delaware State, where she is a two-year letter winner.

Hometown: Raipur, India

School: Delaware State

Major: Sports management

Sport: Women’s tennis

 

Javen Morrison

Morrison’s long-term career goal is to attend law school and eventually become a sports attorney. He is a junior defensive back on the Alcorn State football team and was named first-team all-Southwestern Athletic Conference last season.

Morrison has integrated himself on campus and is a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity. He said being a member of the organization has helped him recognize the importance of community service and helping others. Before law school, Morrison hopes to have an opportunity to earn a spot on an NFL roster. Morrison has 10 career interceptions, including four during the 2018 season.

Hometown: Corinth, Mississippi

School: Alcorn State

Major: Sports management

Sport: Football

2018 AASP Career Development Award recipients named

To support student-athletes’ career aspirations once they graduate from lower-resourced schools, the NCAA Accelerating Academic Success Program selected the second pair of recipients of the AASP Career Development Award

NCCU’S Preparing to Soar Program

Currently in its third year, the Preparing to Soar Program is an intensive academic enrichment program funded through the Accelerating Academic Success Program (AASP). The bridge program begins in the summer prior to freshmen enrollment and is designed to assist targeted student-athletes with transitioning to the college environment. The program enhances academic achievement, social support, and career awareness to provide these students with tools needed to successfully matriculate at North Carolina Central University (NCCU).

Participants can earn up to eight hours of degree applicable credits in English, Math and First-Year Experience courses, while participating in programs, activities, and cultural enhancement trips aimed to assist in the development of skills necessary to thrive academically and socially. In addition to gaining academic credit hours, students can begin earning a portion of the 120 community service hours that NCCU requires of all students prior to graduation. Service projects have included Habitat for Humanity, SEEDS Durham, and the Ronald McDonald House.

George Midgett, Director of Student-Athlete Leadership and Engagement at NCCU, explains that the program is focused on bridging the gap between high school and college by emphasizing academic preparedness. Midgett explains, “They are here on a team, our goal is to prepare them for what their next team might be.”

A total of 75 student-athletes (39 in-state and 36 out of state) across eight sports (football, men and women’s basketball, baseball, softball, men and women’s track and field, and volleyball) have participated in PSP over the course of three iterations. More than 50% of the summer bridge participants have been football student-athletes. After the first implementation of the program in the summer of 2015, the football team recorded the highest single-year APR and in 2016 their retention rates jumped to 976. The women’s volleyball team has had a perfect APR score of 1000 in the past two years. Across all participating sports, outcomes have shown that the program has had positive impacts on retention, eligibility, and graduation rates. Twenty-five PSP participants have been named as scholar student-athletes and 10 were named to the 2017 MEAC Commissioner’s All-Academic Team.

“You get to do a whole semester, but in 6 weeks, I think that’s really going to help us when we start playing. It gets me adjusted to the school already rather than me having to wait to come in the fall and get adjusted to the workouts, the game, and to school.” –NCCU student-athlete

Utah Valley University’s Men’s Golf Team

Under the leadership of head coach Chris Curran, the Utah Valley’s men’s golf team has solidified a culture of academic and athletic excellence. During his tenure, Curran’s emphasis on academics first has taken the team from an 875 APR to four straight years of a perfect 1000 APR. The team has boasted an average GPA of over a 3.4 for three consecutive years. While excelling in the classroom, the golf team also won the Loyola Invitational in 2015 and the Pat Hicks Invitational in 2016.

About the Team

Head coach: Chris Curran (7th season)

Accolades: Team GPA above 3.4 for three consecutive years; 2 DI All-American Scholars (GPA ≥ 3.20); 6 straight seasons of GCAA All-Academic Team Honors (GPA ≥ 3.0)

“This team sets a high standard and represents the very core of what the Accelerating Academic Success Program (AASP) is about. They are a prime example of how important a head coach is to positively shifting the culture and raising expectations within an athletic program,” said Tiese Roxbury, NCAA assistant director of research, assessment and academic success.4

North Carolina A&T's Christopher Belcher

Belcher, a transfer student-athlete, earned his way into the spotlight as a standout sprinter in the 100 and 200-meter dashes and the 4x100 meter relay. His coach, Duane Ross, describes him as hardworking and competitive—traits that have impacted his academic progress as well.

Biography

Hometown: Sayville, New York
School: North Carolina A&T State University
Sport: Track and Field (Sprints)
Major: Liberal Studies
Accolades: First Team All-America honors; United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Southeast Region Track Athlete of the Year; 2017 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Outdoor Champion (team title); 2 consecutive MEAC individual titles in both the 100m and 200m; school records in the 200m and 4x100m relay

To maintain eligibility, Belcher put in countless study hall hours and was persistent in using the enhanced academic support services at NC A&T provided through the Accelerating Academic Success Program (AASP) grant.

Because of his dedication to excel on and off the track, he spent numerous hours with the institution’s learning specialist, Kimberly Burke, to ensure that he would succeed academically first. Through sheer hard work determination, Belcher led the Aggies to their first conference title in 21 years, competed at the USATF Outdoor Championships, and ultimately earned a spot to represent his country in the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London.

The nurturing and individualized attention Belcher received at NC A&T gave him the academic and athletic confidence he needed to propel him to becoming one of the best sprinters in the world. Despite signing a professional contract with Nike, he is currently enrolled to complete his degree.

Belcher on the impact of the Accelerating Academic Success Program on his success:

“The AASP initiatives absolutely contributed to my success. I wouldn’t be where I am without them. Our learning specialist helped me organize my schedule over a month in advance and I evolved from there to be able to balance classwork and complete assignments before I stepped on the track for competition.” 

2017 Career Development Award Winners

Gritt Broening

This Fairleigh Dickinson junior spent four weeks volunteering in Tanzania. During this time, she helped build a water tank, install solar panels, and educate village teachers with new teaching techniques. Her overarching goal is to help bring soccer to underdeveloped nations in Africa and believes that American colleges and universities could be a partner in accomplishing that goal.

Hometown: Seeheim-Jugenheim, Germany
School: Fairleigh Dickinson University
Major: Interdisciplinary Studies, concentration in Sports Administration
Sport: Women’s Soccer
GPA: 3.89

Samson Oyediran

A current redshirt sophomore at Tennessee State, Oyediran has a strong interest in human body mechanics and plans to work in a field helping to advance limb replacement. His goal is to operate his own health research center to work with others to produce schedules and training programs for rehabilitation.

Hometown: London, England
School: Tennessee State University
Major: Health Science
Sport: Men’s Basketball
GPA: 3.90

Jackson State University Head Baseball Coach Omar Johnson

Coach Omar Johnson was the key piece in shifting the academic culture and athletic success of Jackson State’s baseball team. His leadership and courage to change his recruiting philosophy paid off and has led to his student-athletes winning on the field and in the classroom.

Johnson sees the impact of the AASP grant through the technological offerings now available to traveling student-athletes. “NetTutor and internet on the buses (is key) — we didn’t have study hall on the bus before. Now we can have study hall every time going and coming,” Johnson said.

Johnson also talks about how the Tigers have overhauled their program. “We had to change how we recruit. … We had to change the type of student-athletes that we recruited,” he said. “It takes the entire village. It takes everyone — from communication with the faculty, the academic counselors, academic coaches and administrators. We have a culture and now everyone is singing the same song.”

About the Team

Southwestern Athletic Conference titles: 2013 and 2014.
Proud academic achievement: 19 student-athletes with at least a 3.0 GPA.

Coppin State's Christina Epps

Christina Epps, a standout graduate of Morristown High School in New Jersey, attended Coppin State on a track scholarship from 2009 to 2014 and majored in psychology. During college, Epps suffered an ACL injury, but through sheer determination, she became the first athlete in Coppin State history to earn a spot on the United States Olympic team, competing in the triple jump in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. 

Biography

Christina Epps
Athletic academic advisor
Hometown: New Jersey
School: Coppin State University , 2014
Major: Psychology
Sport: Track and Field
Accolades: Coppin State University Student-Athlete Advisory Committee president 2013-14; 2014 Top 30 Woman of the Year honoree; Coppin State Female President’s Eagle Award Winner and Female Athlete of the Year; four-time all-Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference student-athlete; 2016 United States Olympic team (triple jump).

Christina Epps was able to attend summer school because of the AASP grant, which funded an initiative to increase summer and winter session opportunities to aid student-athletes in earning credits toward their degree. “I chose Coppin State because of the opportunities I felt I could gain from going to a small university that could cater to my personal needs and goals both on and off the track,” said Epps. “Prior to the AASP initiative we had one academic director who [worked with] all the student-athletes in the department. Once we started the AASP program, we hired more staff that immediately impacted my ability to communicate my needs. On top of that, [I was able to] attend summer school because of the grant, which helped me better manage an already hectic class and practice schedule during the semester.

During her time at Coppin State, Epps saw the full spectrum of the Accelerating Academic Success Program — as a student-athlete pre-AASP, as a student-athlete during AASP, and now as a graduate and staff member. After graduation, Epps was hired as an athletic academic advisor, a position funded by the grant. 

Norfolk State University Men’s Track and Field Team

In 2013-14, the Norfolk State University men’s track and field team was banned for the postseason. The school was awarded an AASP grant, and the academic enhancements made as part of the grant were instrumental in shifting the culture of the school — including that of the track and field team — and retaining the student-athletes throughout the ban. The student-athletes banded together to ensure that their academic efforts matched their athletic efforts to maintain a high standard in both areas.

About the Team

Head coach: Kenneth Giles
Athletics department mantra: “Academically strong, athletically superior.”
Accolades: Team graduated five student-athletes in spring 2016. Team GPA: 2.96 in 2015; 3.0 in fall 2016.

“After being placed on postseason ban as the result of low APR (Academic Progress Rate) scores, the members of the men’s track team met and decided not to leave the program, but to stay and correct the problem,” Athletics Director Marty Miller said. “This was significant because this team had won numerous championships, and many of them were being encouraged to transfer. Due to the grant, several initiatives were implemented that created an environment of academic success for them, as well as the entire athletics department.”

Once the ban was over and the team resumed competition, new equipment allowed student-athletes to work diligently on the road. According to one of the track and field athletes, “Our school provided us everything we needed to be productive and study on the road,” including computers, laptops, tablets, software and Wi-Fi hot spots.

Student-athlete and Student Government Association President Desmond Fogg said of the postseason ban, “It intensified our focus on academics, and we really had to have a major paradigm shift as far as where our competitive attributes were going. And it was shifted to exactly that — academics. I believe that it was a blessing in disguise.”

Miller added, “The AASP grant was instrumental in improving the overall academic performance of the student-athletes at Norfolk State University. I do not believe that the teams would have achieved their current APR scores if the school had not been awarded the grant by the NCAA.”

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