May 25, 2012
AUBURN, Ala. -- Former Auburn women's swimmer Erica Meissner has been awarded the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, the NCAA has announced.
Meissner graduated from Auburn in December 2011 with a degree in anthropology and a minor in sustainability, finishing her undergraduate career with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. She was selected as the graduation marshal for the 2011 College of Liberal Arts fall commencement, and she was the recipient of the 2011-12 Leah Rawls Atkins Award, which is the highest honor given to an Auburn female student-athlete.
"Winning the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship is a nice way to cap off my collegiate athletic career and this will help tremendously as I pursue new goals outside of the pool," Meissner said. "Receiving this scholarship, as well as other honors in the past year, is in large part due to the collaborative support I have had from the Auburn Athletic Department, Coach Brett Hawke, the Honors College, and numerous University professors. I have so much and so many to be thankful for as a graduate of Auburn."
She will attend Cambridge University in the fall where she will pursue a graduate degree in anthropology with a focus on global food sustainability.
"I am looking forward to heading to the United Kingdom this fall to pursue a Masters of Philosophy in Development Studies at Cambridge," she said. "It is sure to provide me with both intellectual challenge and opportunity for personal growth. I cannot wait to bring some Auburn spirit across the pond!"
A four-year letterwinner, Meissner was an All-American, the 2010-11 SEC H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete of the Year, an All-SEC selection, a two-time SEC Academic Honor Roll student, a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American and a Rhodes Scholarship finalist.
"Erica is a wonderful example of a young scholar-athlete who has challenged herself both in the pool and in the classroom," said Paul Harris, associate director of the Honors College. "Not content to take classes alone, Erica undertook a rigorous program in undergraduate research and field work, while at the same time pursuing a minor in sustainability."
She is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Chi Alpha Sigma, Omicron Delta Kappa and Alpha Lambda Delta Honors Fraternities and Auburn's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. The Ashburnham, Mass., native also competed nationally, swimming at the 2008 Olympic trials in four events.
"Erica Meissner epitomizes what it means to be a student-athlete, and receiving this prestigious scholarship is yet another accolade to add to her stellar academic career," Jay Jacobs, Auburn Director of Athletics said. "We are proud of Erica for her impressive academic accomplishments, for the outstanding person she is and for the first-class way she represents Auburn University."
The NCAA scholarship committee selects 29 women and 29 men each sports season (fall, winter, spring) for the $7,500 honor.
"I have had the privilege of coaching many great athletes, but Erica is one of the rare individuals who is as much scholar as an athlete," Auburn swimming and diving head coach Brett Hawke said. "In the pool Erica tirelessly worked on perfecting her swimming and assumed the same work ethic academically, given that she maintained a 4.0 grade point average. I am extremely proud when talking about Erica because she is a student-athlete that Auburn University and the SEC will always be proud to call one of their own."
Created in 1964, the NCAA postgraduate scholarships promote and encourage excellence in education by rewarding the NCAA's most accomplished student-athletes.