Santa Clara University senior volleyball player Tanya Schmidt was one of 29 female student-athletes awarded a prestigious one-time, nonrenewable $7,500 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship this week. Schmidt was named twice to the All-WCC team during her Bronco career, including first team in 2010. She was also named three times to the WCC All-Academic Team and twice to the Capital One Academic All-District All-American team. The team captain last fall, Schmidt was also named one of 30 finalists for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award this past fall.
Schmidt joins Stephen Hobbs as back-to-back NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship winners at Santa Clara as Hobbs received one last spring as an All-American member of the men's water polo team. Hobbs will attend Cal in the fall of 2012 and study journalism in graduate school.
The NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships are awarded to student-athletes who excel academically and athletically, and who are in their final year of intercollegiate athletics competition. The awards are given to 29 men and 29 women for each of the fall, winter and spring seasons, totaling 174 postgraduate scholarships each year.
Schmidt, who carries a 3.965 grade point average into her final quarter, is finishing an undergraduate degree in English with a Classical Studies minor. Schmidt has applied to various English graduate programs and is expecting to hear back in the next couple months.
"This is a really big deal," said Bronco volleyball coach Jon Wallace. "We are really proud of Tanya Schmidt and her representation of Santa Clara University and our athletic department. We are excited for her. I am looking forward to following Tanya in her through life. She will have an incredible impact not only on her community, but she has the potential to make a global contribution as well."
"My initial thought: thank you!! It is a huge comfort to know that I have at least some financial aid for graduate school," said Schmidt. "I am grateful that my participation in NCAA athletics at Santa Clara has qualified me for this scholarship, which will help enable me to begin and develop my professional career."
Specifically Schmidt has applied to various graduate school programs in English for entrance in Fall 2012. Some are terminal Master's of Arts programs, and others are continuous Master's/Ph.D. programs. She would like to specialize in Renaissance/ Early Modern Literature.
"I am currently writing a senior Honors thesis on gender justice in one of Shakespeare's late plays, The Winter's Tale. I am excited to continue reading, researching, writing, and learning in graduate school," added Schmidt.
Wallace was asked if he looks for someone like Tanya Schmidt every time he goes out to recruit. "First, it's really hard to find someone like Tanya Schmidt," said Wallace with a big smile.
"To elaborate on that, to find someone with a high standard in academics, athletics and social justice like Tanya, she has to be one of the top collegiate student-athletes across the nation. She is the poster child for what a true student-athlete should be at the collegiate level. Tanya approaches every day as a challenge to get better, whether it's academics or athletics or her personal life. She wants to get better every day. Academics are very important in our volleyball culture at Santa Clara. We work to recruit student-athletes who see their education as a means to a brighter future. Thus, they approach their daily studies with the same attitude they bring to the court with high standards and commitment."
Schmidt also wished to give a special thanks to Assistant Athletic Director Jeff Mitchell for coordinating the official submission of her nomination for this scholarship. Thanks were also due to those who wrote recommendation letters on her behalf – Bronco head coach Jon Wallace, Associate Athletic Director Staci Gustafson and Dr. Simone Billings.
In addition Schmidt was mindful of pointing out she will have a big hug for Chickie Langholff Morrisey and her family on Saturday's annual Bronco Bench Endowment Dinner for their generosity in providing her with a Bronco Bench athletic scholarship. The BBF Dinner is a chance for Bronco scholarship student-athletes to thank the sponsors who make their Santa Clara student-athlete experience possible
"I have learned so much in the past four years at Santa Clara, and I feel incredibly blessed," said Schmidt. "As Kathy Kale in the Alumni Office said to some seniors recently, "You may be getting ready to leave Santa Clara, but Santa Clara will never leave you."
The NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship was created in 1964 to promote and encourage postgraduate education by rewarding the Association's most accomplished student-athletes through their participation in NCAA championship and/or emerging sports. Athletics and academic achievements, as well as campus involvement, community service, volunteer activities and demonstrated leadership, are evaluated.
An equitable approach is employed in reviewing each applicant's nomination form to provide opportunity to all student-athlete nominees to receive the postgraduate award, regardless of sport, division, gender or race. In maintaining the highest broad-based standards in the selection process, the program aims to reward those individuals whose dedication and effort are reflective of those characteristics necessary to succeed and thrive through postgraduate study in an accredited graduate degree program.