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Forty-Five Nittany Lions Named Big Ten Distinguished Scholars

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Pete Massaro

July 14, 2011

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Big Ten Conference has recognized a total of 534 student-athletes who have been selected as recipients of the Big Ten Distinguished Scholar Award. In its third year, the award honors student-athletes who have earned a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.7 or higher during the most recent academic year.

A total of 45 Penn State student-athletes were selected for the 2010-11 Big Ten Distinguished Scholar Award. Twenty-one sports were represented by Nittany Lions honorees, led by women's swimming and diving and softball (6), field hockey (4), men's gymnastics, women's tennis and women's track and field (3), men's cross country, football, women's lacrosse, women's soccer and men's track and field (2).

Four of Penn State Distinguished Scholar Award recipients earned a perfect 4.0 grade point average during the 2010-11 academic year: Miguel Pineda (men's gymnastics, biology, Galloway, Ohio), Katherine Pulos (women's swimming and diving, elementary education, Rosemont, Pa.), Rebecca Snyder (women's swimming and diving, elementary education, Harmony, Pa.) and Erin Thomas (women's swimming and diving, meteorology, Bangor, Maine).

Pete Massaro (Newtown Square, Pa.) was one of two football student-athletes to make the list. He was named a First Team CoSIDA Academic All-American last fall. Pineda was also named a First Team Academic All-American, one of five Penn State selections this past year. Pineda and teammate Scott Rosenthal (Clearfield, Pa.) earned All-America honors at the 2011 NCAA Championships. In addition, field hockey player Kelsey Amy (Sweet Valley, Pa.) picked up Second Team All-America laurels during the Fall.

Also among Penn State's Distinguished Scholars are three members of the women's soccer team, which won its 13th straight Big Ten Championship, and a member of the women's volleyball team, which made history winning its fourth consecutive NCAA Championship. Six members of the women's softball team, which made its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2007, are also among the award winners.

In February of 2008, Big Ten Faculty Representatives established a conference academic recognition to supplement the Academic All-Big Ten program. Similar to the Academic All-Big Ten honor, Distinguished Scholar Award recipients must be letterwinners in at least their second academic year at their institution. However, the Distinguished Scholar Award encompasses only student-athletes with a minimum GPA of 3.7 or higher for the previous academic year, excluding summer school. The Academic All-Big Ten threshold is a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher for a student-athlete's academic career.

A complete list of Penn State's 2010-11 Big Ten Distinguished Scholar Award winners is available here.


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