Record 68 PSU Student-Athletes Honored as Big Ten Distinguished Scholars

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Ariel Scott

Ariel Scott

July 17, 2013

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - A record total of 68 Penn State student-athletes have been selected for the Big Ten Distinguished Scholar Award for earning a grade-point average of 3.7 or higher during the 2012-13 academic year.

Penn State's 68 Distinguished Scholars are a significant increase from the 2011-12 total of 51 and were tied with Nebraska for second-highest in the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions' previous high was 62 honorees in 2008-09.

Twenty-six sports were represented among the Nittany Lions' honorees, led by women's cross country/track and field (10), women's swimming and diving (8), field hockey (6), men's golf (5) and women's volleyball (4).

Eight of Penn State's Distinguished Scholar Award recipients earned a perfect 4.0 grade point average during the 2012-13 academic year:

- Megan Boyer, Women's Track & Field, Jr., Human Development & Family Studies, Millersburg, Pa.; - Rachel Casciano, Women's Cross Country, So., Communications, Wyomissing, Pa.; - Kalyn Fisher, Women's Cross Country/Track & Field, Jr., Childhood & Early Adolescent Education, Lewisburg, Pa.; - Margaret Harding, Women's Volleyball, Jr., Food Science, State College, Pa.; - Kevin Montminy, Men's Basketball, So., Business Administration, Centre Hall, Pa.; - Kathleen Rodden, Women's Cross Country/Track & Field, So., Health & Human Development, Ardmore, Pa.; - John Urschel, Football, Sr., Mathematics, Williamsville, N.Y.; - Gabrielle Shishkoff, Women's Swimming & Diving, Jr., Psychology, Franklin, Mass.

Also among Penn State's Distinguished Scholars were members of Penn State's NCAA and Big Ten Champion wrestling team and conference champion women's basketball, women's outdoor track and field, women's lacrosse, field hockey, men's soccer, women's soccer and women's volleyball teams.

For a complete list of Penn State's 68 Big Ten Distinguished Scholars see below.

Tommy Olczyk


The Big Ten announced that 637 student-athletes were selected recipients of the Big Ten Distinguished Scholar Award. The list includes student-athletes from every institution and 38 different sports earned a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.7 or higher for the previous academic year. The 2012-13 class of Distinguished Scholar Award recipients includes 101 student-athletes who maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA during the previous academic term. A complete list of the 2012-13 Big Ten Distinguished Scholar Award winners is attached.

Penn State student-athletes, who won a school record 11 conference championships in 2012-13, including eight Big Ten titles, consistently have been among the nation's most successful in earning their degrees. Among some of the recent academic accomplishments are:

  • The NCAA's annual study of institutions nationwide in October, 2012 revealed that Penn State student-athletes at the University Park campus earned a Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 88 percent compared to an 80 percent average for all Division I institutions. The 88 percent figure was third-highest among Big Ten Conference institutions.
  • The NCAA four-year federal graduation rate average for University Park student-athletes was 78 percent, significantly higher than the national average of 64 percent, and second to Northwestern (88) among Big Ten institutions.
  • Among the 2005-06 entering freshman class, 80 percent of Penn State student-athletes earned degrees within six years, well above the 65 percent average for all Division I institutions, according to the NCAA.
  • A total of 109 current and former Penn State student-athletes graduated this past May.
  • A school record of 296 Nittany Lion student-athletes earned Academic All-Big Ten honors in 2012-13, shattering the previous record of 261.

    2012-13 Penn State Big Ten Distinguished Scholars

    Kevin Montminy, Men's Basketball
    Matthew Fischer, Men's Cross Country/Track & Field
    Thomas Luff, Men's Cross Country/Track & Field
    Leigha Anderson, Women's Cross Country/Track & Field
    Rachel Casciano, Women's Cross Country
    Kalyn Fisher, Women's Cross Country/Track & Field
    Emily Giannotti, Women's Cross Country/Track & Field
    Lindsey Graybill, Women's Cross Country/Track & Field
    Danielle Kocjancic, Women's Cross Country
    Kathleen Rodden, Women's Cross Country/Track & Field
    Colleen Shannon, Women's Cross Country/Track & Field
    . David Gomez Tanamachi, Men's Fencing
    Alex Schneller, Men's Fencing
    Hannah Allison, Field Hockey
    Kelsey Amy, Field Hockey
    Amanda Dinunzio, Field Hockey
    Laura Gebhart, Field Hockey
    Ayla Halus, Field Hockey/Women's Lacrosse
    Lauren Purvis, Field Hockey/Women's Lacrosse
    Benjamin Kline, Football
    John Urschel, Football
    Anthony Degol, Men's Golf
    Alexander McDonald-Smith, Men's Golf
    Shane Stewart, Men's Golf
    Jens Talbert, Men's Golf
    Jay Woodward, Men's Golf
    Ellen Ceresko, Women's Golf
    Erin Michel, Women's Golf
    Felix Aronovich, Men's Gymnastics
    Adrian Evans, Men's Gymnastics
    Scott Rosenthal, Men's Gymnastics
    Lindsay Musgrove, Women's Gymnastics
    Sharaya Musser, Women's Gymnastics
    Thomas Olczyk, Men's Ice Hockey
    Catherine Christoffersen, Women's Ice Hockey
    Lindsay Reihl, Women's Ice Hockey
    Timothy Golder, Men's Lacrosse
    Tatum Coffey, Women's Lacrosse
    Molly Fernandez, Women's Lacrosse
    Colleen Shea, Women's Lacrosse
    Julian Cardona, Men's Soccer
    Kyle Macdonald, Men's Soccer
    Daniel Sheerin, Men's Soccer
    Rachel Myers, Softball
    Elizabeth Presto, Softball
    Matthew Salig, Men's Swimming & Diving
    Meredith Harbison, Women's Swimming & Diving
    Merritt Krawczyk, Women's Swimming & Diving
    Isabelle Ninesling, Women's Swimming & Diving
    Allison Roberts, Women's Swimming & Diving
    Gabrielle Shishkoff, Women's Swimming & Diving
    Megan Siverling, Women's Swimming & Diving
    Sarah Somers, Women's Swimming & Diving
    Brynja Winnan, Women's Swimming & Diving
    Tomas Hanzlik, Men's Tennis
    Bryan Welnetz, Men's Tennis
    Marie-Frederique Bedard, Women's Tennis
    David Patzer, Men's Track & Field
    Megan Boyer, Women's Track & Field
    Olivia Mangan, Women's Track & Field
    Matthew Kapusta, Men's Volleyball
    Margaret Harding, Women's Volleyball
    Madison Martin, Women's Volleyball
    Ariel Scott, Women's Volleyball
    Kathleen Slay, Women's Volleyball
    Matthew Brown, Wrestling
    Kyle Moran, Wrestling
    Bryan Pearsall, Wrestling

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