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May 17, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Big Ten Conference office announced its inaugural postgraduate scholarships winners on Thursday with softball infielder Lauren Yao and men's gymnast Scott Rosenthal named the recipients from Penn State.
One male and one female student-athlete from each of the 12 Big Ten institutions who plan to continue their education at a graduate degree program were awarded a $7,500 scholarship, primarily based on academic achievements.
Yao contributed to the Penn State softball squad from the moment she first stepped on the diamond after arriving in Central Pa. all the way from Los Angeles, Calif. Not only did she leave her mark at second base for the Nittany Lions, starting more than 160 games over her four-year career, Yao helped continue the team's high standard in the academic setting as she earned Academic All-Big Ten achievements in 2011 and 2012. After helping the Blue and White reach and host an NCAA Regional event as a sophomore in 2011, she batted a career-best .254 with 20 RBI on the way to being named the squad's Most Valuable Player. As a senior this season, Yao exhibited her leadership as she served as a team captain.
An asset to the Penn State community, Yao served as an example for fellow student-athletes with service to multiple organizations in the area. She assisted the Special Olympics program at various events, including the 2012 Special Olympics and Summer Games. Yao also volunteered her time with the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON), organizing home run derbies alongside her Nittany Lion softball teammates as well as gathering donations at public events through canning.
A four-year letterwinner of the Nittany Lion men's gymnastics squad, Rosenthal is a leader in the classroom and on the competition floor. A three-time All-America performer on the still rings, he was the Big Ten still rings champion in 2012 and earned the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award at the conclusion of the 2012 and 2013 championships.
An All-Big Ten selection in 2010 and 2011, Rosenthal is the school record holder on the still rings and, after battling a shoulder injury for most of his senior season, was able to place third at the NCAA Championships and earn his third All-America distinction. He earned the College Gymnastics Association All-America Scholar-Athlete merit all four years he has been on campus and is also a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree.
Along with his academic success, Rosenthal has been a role model for Penn State student-athletes with his dedication to community service, as well. He is an active member in the community, volunteering with the Special Olympics during the summers of 2010, 2011 and 2012, including his participation as a judge during the gymnastics competition last summer. Along with his contributions in THON as an athlete hour participant and fundraiser, he also volunteers with Relay for Life.
This year's 24 recipients span 15 different sports, including four softball standouts, three student-athletes from football, women's soccer and women's swimming and diving teams, two men's gymnasts, and one recipient each from baseball, women's cross country, fencing, field hockey, men's golf, men's rowing, men's soccer, men's swimming and diving and men's and women's track and field.
Each Big Ten institution developed its own on-campus selection process when awarding the scholarship. Student-athletes must have been in their final season of NCAA eligibility, 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.
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 complete list of 2012-13 Big Ten Postgraduate Scholarship recipients can be found by clicking here.