The Athlete Scholar of the Year (ASOY) award provided several opportunities for me. I was fortunate enough to receive the award six times. Two important opportunities the award provided are: (1) Allowing me to focus more time on academic and athletic goals during college and (2) Completing my Bachelors and Masters degrees with minimal student debt.
The funds from the ASOY award allowed me to focus more time on academic and athletic goals during college instead of spending additional time working to pay for school. While attending college at Boise State University, I had an academic goal to graduate with Honors. I was able to achieve this goal for both my Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering and Masters in Business Administration. Remaining focused on this academic goal allowed me to maintain a high GPA and receive additional scholarships. An athletic goal was qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Games in Judo. While attending school, I was training and competing at international judo events. Both training and competing require large amounts of time and money. Receiving scholarships like ASOY allowed additional time and money to be put toward my athletic goals. I was able to achieve my goal when I qualified for the 2012 Olympic Games at 73kg.
The ASOY award helped me to complete both of my degrees with minimal student debt. Many graduates from college finish with a large amount of student debt, which can make it difficult financially after college is complete. The money received from ASOY reduced my overall college expense and as discussed earlier, allowed me to maintain a high GPA, which led to receiving additional scholarships. Finishing my college career with minimal student debt created an easy transition to my professional and personal life.
I believe the athlete scholar of the year award is appropriately named since it awards prior athletic and academic accomplishments and allows recipients to pursue future goals in both areas. The award allowed me to pursue my goals, which shaped me into the person I am today. I would like to thank the United States Judo Federation (USJF) for awarding scholarships. I have great appreciation for USJF’s continued support of their members through activities like the ASOY award.