Francis, Morelli Awarded Big Ten Post-Graduate Scholarships
June 5, 2017
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.– A pair of Penn State student-athletes -- women’s swimmer Casey Francis (East Meadow, N.Y.) and wrestler Geno Morelli (DuBois, Pa.) -- have been awarded 2017 Big Ten Conference Post-Graduate Scholarships.
Francis, a three-time Collegiate Swimming Coaches Association of America Scholar All-American, graduated in May with a degree in kinesiology. Additional academic accolades include Big Ten Distinguished Scholar recognition and multiple selections to the Big Ten All-Academic team. Francis was a team captain this past season, a member of the 2016 Homecoming Court and received the team’s “1855 Award,” which is presented to the student-athletes’ whose improvement, transformation and personal growth mirrors that of Penn State since its founding.
In the pool, Francis qualified for and participated in the NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships three times as well as the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials. She held the school’s mile record for over a year and currently holds the McCoy Natatorium record in the event. Last week, Francis represented Penn State at the NCAA Career in Sports Forum in Indianapolis.
Morelli, who transferred to Penn State after two years at Pitt, made the most of his two years in Happy Valley. He was a two-time first-team NWCA Academic All-American and two-time first team Academic All-Big Ten selection as a Nittany Lion. A 2016 NCAA qualifier, Morelli graduated with a degree in energy business and finance. He helped Penn State earn two NCAA Championships and was ranked as high as No. 10 nationally in his respective weight class this year.
Morelli was 10-1 this past season, including three pins, and ended his collegiate career with a 66-37 career record and eight pins. Morelli was awarded the prestigious Wayne Duke Post-Graduate Award from the Big Ten in March, becoming the third Penn State wrestler to win the Duke honor since its inception in 2008.
The Big Ten Conference selected two students competing in intercollegiate athletics from each of the 14 Big Ten institutions who plan to continue their education at a graduate degree program were each awarded a $7,500 scholarship, based on primarily academic achievements. Students must have maintained at least a 3.2 grade-point-average, demonstrated leadership qualities, served as an excellent role model and intended to continue their academic work beyond their baccalaureate degree at a graduate degree program.
This year’s recipients span 17 different sports and will continue their education in a variety of different disciplines, including aerospace engineering, agricultural economics, architectural studies, art history, biomedical engineering, business, chemical engineering, criminal justice, economics, environmental sciences, finance, history, kinesiology, neuroscience, operations management, physiology, public relations, psychology and statistics. All of this year’s recipients have been named Academic All-Conference during their careers.
The scholarship will be used to pay expenses of the student’s postgraduate education to include such related activities as research and teaching, as well as other expenses such as tuition, fees, room and board, required course-related supplies and books. In order to retain the scholarship, the recipient must be accepted into a full-time graduate degree program within three years from the fall semester after selection.
The Big Ten Post-Graduate Scholarships are just the latest in a long list of academic laurels hauled in by Penn State student-athletes this year: