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Southern Conference announces graduate scholars
Courtesy: Southern Conference
Release: 05/17/2019
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Courtesy: Southern Conference

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Southern Conference announced its 10 postgraduate scholarship recipients for the 2018-19 academic year Friday. The 10 student-athletes will be honored for their accomplishments at the Southern Conference Honors Dinner in Hilton Head Island, S.C., on Wednesday, May 29.

This year’s honorees include: Dave Hart Scholarship recipient Matt Mattis (UNC Greensboro); Dorothy Hicks Scholarship recipient Malloree Schurr (ETSU); Insurance Office of America Scholarship recipient Leigh Haynes (Samford); David Knight Scholarship recipient Mark Britt (Chattanooga); Bob McCloskey Insurance Scholarship recipients Logan Miller (The Citadel) and Amanda Thompson (Mercer); William V. Moore Scholarship presented by McMillan Pazdan Smith recipient Krista Boesing (Samford); Southern Conference Presidential Scholarship recipients Savannah Taranto (Western Carolina) and Cassidy Hicks (Wofford); and Sports Medicine Institute Scholarship presented by Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System recipient Gabrielle Charles (UNC Greensboro).

The recipients are nominated by their schools and selected by the Southern Conference Graduate Scholar Committee. The scholarships, worth $2,000 each, are awarded to student-athletes about to receive their undergraduate degrees who intend to pursue advanced degrees in graduate or professional school. The student-athletes are evaluated on academics, athletics and community service.

Matt Mattis, UNC Greensboro – Dave Hart Scholarship
UNC Greensboro’s Matt Mattis is the 2019 recipient of the Dave Hart Scholarship. A forward on the Spartans’ men’s soccer team, Mattis was a second-team All-SoCon performer in 2017 and a preseason all-conference pick as a senior in 2018, appearing in all 17 games. In his freshman campaign of 2015, Mattis appeared in all 21 games, helping the Spartans to a regular-season title. He helped UNCG to consecutive appearances in the SoCon Men’s Soccer Championship title game in 2017 and 2018. A four-time SoCon Academic Honor Roll and three-time Academic All-Conference performer, Mattis was on the UNCG Dean’s List all four years of his academic career and earned a spot on the Chancellor’s List in 2018. The Little Stoke, England, native also earned inclusion in Beta Gamma Sigma, the international business honor society, in 2018. Mattis, who has served as a youth soccer coach and spoken to local youth about his experiences as a soccer player, traveled to the eastern part of North Carolina to assist with cleanup and provide a soccer clinic to kids were affected by a hurricane that hit the state. An economics major with a 3.76 GPA, Mattis intends to pursue a postgraduate degree in economics with a long-term goal of becoming a health economist.

Malloree Schurr, ETSU – Dorothy Hicks Scholarship
ETSU dual-sport student-athlete Malloree Schurr is the recipient of the 2019 Dorothy Hicks Scholarship. A basketball forward and softball outfielder, Schurr played in 119 games on the hardwood for the Bucs, starting 69, and took the field in 117 softball games with 103 starts, serving as a team captain for both squads. The 2017-18 winner of the Ann Lashley Inspiration Award as voted by the league’s women’s basketball coaches, the Montgomery, Texas, native helped ETSU’s women’s basketball team to SoCon regular-season and tournament runner-up finishes and WNIT appearances as a freshman in 2014-15 and a senior in 2017-18 and the softball team to a SoCon tournament title and NCAA appearance as a junior in 2017. This year, as a redshirt senior on the softball team, Schurr played in a career-best 46 games, starting each one. A SAAC representative for the basketball team, Schurr logged countless hours of community service during her career, including volunteering with her high school basketball and softball camps, the Special Olympics, a local Lunch Buddies Program, and area churches and elementary schools. Schurr, who graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in sports and leisure management in May 2018, is currently working toward a master’s degree in digital marketing. She aspires to be college coach and eventually an athletic administrator.

Leigh Haynes, Samford – Insurance Office of America Scholarship
Samford’s Leigh Haynes is the recipient of the 2019 Insurance Office of America Scholarship. A midfielder for the women’s soccer team, Haynes played in 17 games and helped the Bulldogs to 12-6-1 mark on the year and an 8-0-1 record in conference play as Samford extended its regular-season conference win streak to 25 games and won its fifth straight regular-season title. The team captain, who spent two years at Samford after transferring from Wake Forest, has been named to the Samford Dean’s List each semester and received the Southern Conference Commissioner’s Medal, given to student-athletes with a 3.8 GPA or higher, in 2017-18. Haynes, a native of Birmingham, Alabama, serves on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and has spent countless hours volunteering, most frequently on a research project that looks into the effect of different activity levels on cognitive function while multitasking on a treadmill desk. Haynes, a sports medicine major, boasts a 3.897 GPA and plans to enroll in dental school this summer.

Mark Britt, Chattanooga – David Knight Scholarship
Chattanooga cross country runner Mark Britt is the 2019 recipient of the David Knight Scholarship. In his final collegiate cross country race in November, Britt was the Mocs’ top finisher at the NCAA South Regional, capping a senior season in which he set a personal record in an 8K race at the Greater Louisville Classic and turned in his best collegiate finish, seventh, at the Berry College Invitational. A three-time scorer for Chattanooga at the SoCon Cross Country Championships, Britt, who boasts a 3.917 GPA in exercise science, helped the Mocs post top-10 team GPA finishes in the nation in each of his four seasons, including leading the nation in 2015. The Lebanon, Tennessee, native has logged hundreds of volunteer hours in the community, volunteering at an inpatient rehab facility, serving on UTC’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, collecting data for NFL concussion research, volunteering at the Chattanooga Ironman and the Half Ironman World Championships and serving as an assistant coach for Girls on the Run, an after-school program for elementary girls. Britt also served as a leadership member for Team Impact, a program through which the Mocs “drafted” a young boy with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy who has participated in team events and cheered the Mocs while inspiring the team and helping Britt realize the positive influence he could provide for children with disabilities as a physical therapist. A member of UTC’s prestigious and selective Brock Scholars Program, Britt has been accepted into Chattanooga’s Doctorate of Physical Therapy program and will begin in the fall as he embarks upon a career in physical therapy.

Logan Miller, The Citadel – Bob McCloskey Insurance Scholarship
The Citadel’s Logan Miller is one of two recipients of a Bob McCloskey Insurance Scholarship. Primarily a hurdler for the Bulldogs, Miller participated in the SoCon Indoor Track and Field Championships twice in his career, setting his personal record in the 60-meter hurdles at the 2017 meet. The Kannapolis, North Carolina, native has earned numerous academic awards and scholarships throughout his collegiate career, including earning Gold Star recognition from The Citadel, the Citadel Spanish Award, the Outstanding Exercise Science Junior award, a Star of the West Study Abroad Scholarship and a School of Humanities Study Abroad Scholarship. Miller served in a variety of leadership roles, including as a staff corporal and later as staff sergeant for his squad; as the Human Affairs President of the Health Careers Society; as a Regimental Public Affairs Officer and Executive Officer; and as a cadet student leader. A member of The Citadel Honors Program, Miller double-majored in exercise science and Spanish with a 3.75 GPA and earned membership in Omicron Delta Kappa, a national leadership honor society, and Sigma Delta Pi, the national collegiate Hispanic honor society. Miller, who volunteered with Miracle League and the Halloween Buddy Dance, both benefiting individuals with disabilities, annually attended the Greater Issues Convention and the Principled Leadership Symposium. He undertook several internships in the medical field, including at Klaipeda University Hospital in Lithuania; at Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, the Medical University of South Carolina and Barrier Island Medical Clinic in the Charleston, South Carolina, area; and at OrthoCarolina in Concord, North Carolina. Miller will begin his postgraduate career in MUSC’s Physician Assistant Program.

Amanda Thompson, Mercer – Bob McCloskey Insurance Scholarship
Mercer’s Amanda Thompson is one of two recipients of a Bob McCloskey Insurance Scholarship. A first-team All-SoCon forward and the coaches’ player of the year, Thompson led the league in rebounding and averaged a double-double as Mercer went 25-8 and a perfect 14-0 in Southern Conference play en route to winning its second straight SoCon tournament title. She was the Southern Conference Player of the Week four times and the SoCon Player of the Month three times, all in her senior season. Each of the last two years, Thompson was the recipient of the Pinnacle Award, given to the student-athlete with the highest GPA on the championship-winning team. The native of Hayesville, North Carolina, was named to Mercers’ President’s List five times and the Dean’s List twice and was the SoCon Student-Athlete of the Week four times. The electrical engineering major with a 3.984 GPA was named Google Cloud CoSIDA Academic-All District in 2018 and honored as a Google Cloud CoSIDA Academic All-American in 2019. During her four years, Thompson has spent nearly 300 hours volunteering, spending the majority of her time with Mercer on Mission, where she spent time in Ecuador and Peru working with artisanal and small-scale gold miners to develop a mercury capture system to make their gold refining process safer, and GoBabyGo!, a program that uses engineering skills to adapt electrically powered cars for children with disabilities. After a four-year career that has been filled with basketball and classwork, Thompson plans to take a year working at a Christian Wilderness Camp and pursuing other interests before joining a graduate program with a focus on alternative or renewable energy systems.

Krista Boesing, Samford – William V. Moore Scholarship presented by McMillan Pazdan Smith
Samford volleyball player Krista Boesing is the 2019 recipient of the William V. Moore Scholarship presented by McMillan Pazdan Smith. A first-team All-SoCon performer in 2018, Boesing recorded 495 kills, second-most among league players, and helped lead Samford to the 2018 Southern Conference Championship title. She was named the SoCon Offensive Player of the Week four times and the Player of the Month for November 2018. Boesing, a communication sciences and disorders major with a 3.98 GPA, was also the recipient of the 2016 and 2018 Pinnacle Award, given to the student-athlete with the highest GPA on the SoCon championship-winning team. She’s been named to the Dean’s List seven times and was recognized in her freshman, sophomore and junior years for maintaining a GPA above 3.75. Additionally, the native of New Albany, Indiana, was named to the Google Cloud CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team in 2018. A member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and the Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society, Boesing received the SoCon Commissioner’s Medal in 2016 and has been named to the Southern Conference Academic Honor Roll twice and the Academic All-Southern Conference team three times. Boesing, who is pursuing a minor in Spanish, took a medical mission trip to the Dominican Republic, where she spent nearly 170 hours administering basic healthcare in a mobile clinic. She has also served as an interpreter for Cahaba Valley Health Care, participated as a Silent Tea organizer and speaker and spent time volunteering at volleyball clinics, among other volunteer opportunities. She’s an active member of the Communications Sciences and Disorders Advisory Board and served on the Samford University Athletic Director’s Council. Boesing plans to begin graduate school in the fall and work toward a career in speech-language pathology.

Savannah Taranto, Western Carolina – Southern Conference Presidential Scholarship
Western Carolina tennis player Savannah Taranto is one of two recipients of a 2019 Southern Conference Presidential Scholarship. The Raleigh, North Carolina, native recently wrapped her career with the most doubles wins (41) in program history, playing primarily from the No. 1 position the last three seasons. A SoCon all-freshman selection in 2016, Taranto was the only Catamount to appear in all 23 matches that season. After playing primarily at No. 4 singles that year, Taranto split time between Nos. 1 and 2 as a sophomore the following the season. A team captain and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee representative, Taranto volunteered with her teammates at area schools, meeting children before school started and walking and interacting with them. For four years, she was a volunteer tennis coach for pre-teens. Taranto compiled a 3.908 GPA with a pre-health biology major, earning Scholar-Athlete honors from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association from 2016-18 and meeting the qualifications to make it four straight seasons being honored when the 2019 awards are announced in June. She is also a member of the Western Carolina Honors College. Taranto, who became a licensed certified nursing assistant and worked in the memory care unit of a nursing home to complete clinical requirements, intends to become a physician assistant, a desire that was solidified when she lost two of her closest friends last year, one to cancer and one to complications from severe seizures. She will begin attending Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in June.

Cassidy Hicks, Wofford – Southern Conference Presidential Scholarship
Wofford women’s tennis player Cassidy Hicks is one of two recipients of a 2019 Southern Conference Presidential Scholarship. Hicks was named to the All-Southern Conference first team in doubles in each of the last two seasons and was an all-freshman selection in 2016. In her senior campaign, Hicks and her doubles teammate, Jenna Vroman, went 16-2 and 6-1 in SoCon play at the top spot. Hicks and Vroman took down the No. 40-ranked duo from Furman and garnered the program’s first ITA doubles ranking (52). Hicks’ senior class totaled 44 wins, tied for most wins by any class. The native of Hamilton, Ohio, helped the Terriers to the No. 3 seed in the 2019 SoCon Championship, the highest seed ever for the program. An accounting major with a minor in mathematics, Hicks posted a 3.86 GPA. She is a six-time Dean’s List honoree and has been named to the SoCon Academic Honor roll three times and named SoCon Academic All-Conference in 2017 and 2018. For the last four years, Hicks has served as a YoungLife Volunteer Leader, where she mentored high school students for up to 15 hours a week. During that span, she also volunteered with the Carolina Miracle League, an organization that helps children with special needs play baseball. In 2016 and 2017, Hicks served as a member of Wofford’s orientation staff and served as a leader to a group of 16 first-year students. This year, she has volunteered with Impact America and spent over 40 hours preparing free tax returns for people of low income. Hicks plans to pursue a Master of Accountancy degree.

Gabrielle Charles, UNC Greensboro – Sports Medicine Institute Scholarship presented by Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System
UNCG women’s soccer player Gabrielle Charles is the 2019 recipient of the Sports Medicine Institute Scholarship presented by Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System. A two-time team captain, Charles helped the Spartans to back-to-back conference championships in her junior and senior seasons. She was a SoCon all-freshman selection in 2015 and named to the preseason all-conference team in 2017. A kinesiology major with a 3.9 GPA, Charles has been honored on the Southern Conference All-Academic Team, named to the SoCon Academic Honor Roll and has received the Commissioner’s Medal. The native of Zionsville, Indiana, was inducted into the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society and the Golden Chain Honor Society and was awarded the Priscilla Mullen Gowen Scholarship Endowment Fund, given to an undergraduate student who demonstrates leadership skills and has been active with extracurricular activities on campus. She has been an active member in the community, spending her free time volunteering with many organizations, most of which center around teaching children soccer. Charles will begin physical therapy school at Western Michigan University in May.

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