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Samantha Yates–NCAA Post-graduate Scholarship

Name: Samantha Yates

Class Year: 2019

Hometown: Birmingham, AL

Major(s): Biochemistry

Minors or Concentrations: Philosophy

Opportunity and Year: NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, 2019-20

Project Summary: The NCAA awards up to 126 postgraduate scholarships to students to excel both athletically and academically. The scholarship is intended for students who are pursuing graduate school opportunities. The scholarship was created in 1964 to promote and encourage graduate education by rewarding the NCAA’s most accomplished student-athletes through participation in championships and/or emerging sports.

How did W&L prepare you for this opportunity? The Washington and Lee atmosphere has always pushed me to be the best that I can be in whatever I do. Washington and Lee has helped me to realize my passions both on and off the track, in the classroom and in my extracurricular activities. Washington and Lee has shown me what it means to finish a race knowing that I put everything out there on the line, and be satisfied no matter how I end up placing. The mentality has broken into every other area of my life here at Washington and Lee, helping me to be the best student-athlete that I can be.

Why did you apply for this opportunity? I had never heard of this opportunity until I was nominated for the scholarship. I knew it would be a great opportunity to launch my graduate school career, and I was honored to have even been nominated. Encouragement from my coach and other mentors helped me to realize that I was qualified for the award, despite my own insecurities.

Post-graduation Plans: Next year, I will be attending the year-long Theology, Medicine, and Culture Fellowship at Duke Divinity School.  This fellowship is intended for students interested in going into the medical field. The one-year track teaches students how to integrate theological study, spiritual formation, and theological reflection into the life of a physician, while dealing with the heavier topics such as suffering and death, doctor-patient relationships and the overall physical and spiritual well-being of the patient. From there, I plan to attend either medical school or divinity school, where I will use the NCAA postgraduate scholarship to finance my education.

How will this opportunity help you achieve your goals? This opportunity will help to alleviate the initial fees that are attached with graduate school, allowing me to focus on my studies throughout my first year without having to worry extensively about payments.

Extracurricular Involvement:

The major extracurriculars that I have been involved with outside of cross-country and track and field are volunteering at the local Stonewall Jackson Hospital and participating in on-campus Reformed University Fellowship (RUF). This semester, I had the honor of being able to be an RUF leader with my of my friends and classmates. Outside of research opportunities, I have served other minor roles in both 24 and the LEAD program during my sophomore and junior years.

Off-campus Experience:

I have not studied abroad, but I was lucky enough to take Dr. Hamilton’s Yellowstone Ecology class, where we spent the Spring semester doing research in Yellowstone National Park.

Research Experience:

I have had two major summer research opportunities: one where I was studying a G protein-coupled estrogen receptor in zebrafish at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, and another where I was studying the relationship between a patient’s physical conditions and his/her cognitive ability in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at UAB. I have also spent a year performing research with Dr. Friend, head of the Biochemistry department, where I had the honor of participating in his stem-cell research project.

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