WESTWOOD, Mass – A total of six women have been nominated by their institutions to represent the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) as its NCAA Woman of the Year nominee. The conference Athletic Directors select the NEWMAC representatives which will be announced in late July. The NCAA Woman of the Year award honors student-athletes based on academics, athletics, service and leadership.
Ama Biney, WPI
Biney is a 2018 graduate of WPI where she earned her degree in Management Engineering with a concentration in Operations Management. She earned numerous academic honors from the NEWMAC, NFCA and CoSIDA during her four year career. The dual sport athlete is a two-time Academic All-American, three-time Academic All-District and NEWMAC Academic All-Conference honoree in both basketball and softball and a two-time NFCA Scholar Athlete.
As a basketball and softball student-athlete Biney has combined for seven NEWMAC All-Conference honors, was named Defensive Player of the Year back to back while earning Athlete of the Year honors in both sports during her senior year. Biney earned All-Region honors every year while with the Engineers while being named a 2018 All-American in softball.
Outside of athletics, Biney participated in many volunteering opportunities with Big Brother Big Sister, the WPI Business School, Team Impact, Girls Inc. and Relay for Life. She was a member of the APICS Club, Institute of Industrial and System Engineers and was a participant in the WPI Student-Athlete Leadership Series.
Kaitlin Braz, Mount Holyoke
Braz graduated from Mount Holyoke College magna cum laude where she earned a degree in Psychology and Education. She earned numerous academic honors from the NEWMAC, CoSIDA, IWLCA and the NFHCA. The dual sport athlete is a three-time NEWMA Academic All-Conference honoree in both sports while earning CoSIDA Academic All-District recognition in 2018. Braz is a four-time NFHCA National Academic Squad winner, three-time Scholar of Distinction and two-time IWLCA Academic Honor Roll honoree.
Braz is a NEWMAC All-Conference honoree in field hockey while also earning All-Region honors in 2017. She helped the Lyons make a Sweet 16 run in 2014 in field hockey before the squad earned the conference title in 2015. The recent graduate finished her lacrosse career as the Mount Holyoke historical leader in caused turnovers and ground balls.
Outside of athletics Braz has participated in numerous programs including: Mount Holyoke BIAS Lab, Kids Cooperate and the Peck School. Braz worked as a student-teacher, camp counselor while helping organze the Mount Holyoke Game of the Week.
Kayleigh Helgesen, Springfield
Helgesen is a 2018 graduate of Springfield College where she earned a degree in Pre-Med for Sports Biology along with Psychology. She earned Dean's List honors all four years at Springfield while being inducted in the Beta Beta Beta and the Psi Chi honor societies. Helgesen earned first place for Experimental: Social Science at Springfield College Scholars in Action Day while earning the Mind Award, presented to a student who made significant contribution to the intellectual and cultural environment at the college.
The volleyball student-athlete is a two-time NEWMAC All-Conference honoree and two-time All-America Honorable Mention recipient. Helgesen helped lead the Pride to the NEWMAC postseason three times and two NCAA Sweet 16 appearances.
Helgesen participated in numerous volunteer and community service projects during her time at Springfield including: Hartford Hospital, Special Olympics and within the Springfield Athletic Department. She participated in many projects as a Research Aid while completing an internship with Baystate Hospital in Mental Health Counseling.
Maura Sticco-Ivins, Wellesley
Sticco-Ivins is a 2018 graduate of Wellesley College where she earned a degree in Biochemistry. During her four-year career she earned numerous academic awards from the NEWMAC, CoSIDA and the CSCAA. Sticco-Ivins is a two-time NEWMAC All-Conference winner, CoSIDA Academic All-American and a four-time CSCAA Scholar All-American.
A diving student-athlete, Sticco-Ivins leaves Wellesley as the most decorated student-athlete in athletics history. She is a three-time NEWMAC Diver of the Year, two-time CSCAA Division III National Diver of the Year, earned All-America honors in both boards during all four years of her career while being the NCAA National Champion on the 3-Meter in 2015 while sweeping both national titles in 2017.
Sticco-Ivins was involved in the Wellesley Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) group while working as a diving coach of multiple local pools. The biochemistry major was also a presenter at the Wellesley Rhulman Conference 'Don't Change the Channel: Investigating Transport Proteins Implicated in Human Health and Disease.'
Rebecca Olivieri, Wheaton
Olivieri is a 2018 graduate of Wheaton College where she graduated with a degree in Biology. She has earned numerous academic honors being a three-time NEWMAC Academic All-Conference honoree while also being named to the Wheaton College Dean's List all four years. Olivieri is a member of Beta Beta Beta Biological Honors Society, Phi Beta Kappa Society and Tri Beta Biological Honors Society.
The basketball student-athlete helped lead the Lyons to two NEWMAC quarterfinals while also participating in the NCAA Career in Sports Forum. She has earned many Wheaton College awards: Linda Ferances Epstein '82 Award, Sally Gale Gilman Award and the Joseph M. and Susan Stampler P. Fellowship.
Off the court Olivieri participated in many volunteer and community service projects with Special Olympics, Heller's Angels, Best Buds Club, Overlook Farm, Romero Center Ministry Service Trip and Volt Athletics. She served as a Resident Advisor and Admissions Ambassador on campus while being a Biomechanics Researcher.
Zoe Rubinstein, Smith
Rubinstein is a 2018 graduate of Smith College where she earned a degree cum laude in Neuroscience. She has earned numerous academic accolades being a four-time NEWMAC Academic All-Conference honoree, two-time Academic All-American while earning Dean's List all four years.
A track and field student-athlete, Rubinstein is a two-time NEWMAC All-Conference winner holding the league pole vault record. She earned three All-America honors during her four year career, two being in indoor while she capped off her 2018 outdoor season with a sixth place finish at the NCAA National Championship.
Outside of athletics, the neuroscience major was a tutor on campus in multiple subjects while participating in a Science Teaching Fellowship and Research for Construction Union. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Nu Rho Psi.