BOSTON, Mass. – A total of seven women have been nominated by their institutions to represent the 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.
2017 marks the 27th year of the Woman of the Year Award program while a record breaking 544 student-athlete have been nominated, 198 being from Division III.
The NCAA Woman of the Year Award honors graduating student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, service and leadership. The 2017 NCAA Woman of the Year will be announced on October 22nd in Indianapolis, Indiana. More information on the award and a list of previous winners can be found here.
During the 2016 NCAA Woman of the Year ceremony, NEWMAC student-athlete and MIT graduate, Margaret Guo became just the fourth Division III student-athlete to earn the Woman of the Year honor.
Elizabeth DiCesare, Mount Holyoke College
DiCesare is a 2017 graduate of Mount Holyoke College where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Economics. DiCesare has earned numerous academic honors from the NEWMAC, the NFHCA and CoSIDA during her four years at Mount Holyoke. She was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society in 2017 while learning the Laurie Priest Alumnae Association Scholar Athlete award. She is a Mount Holyoke Senior Scholar Athlete, Mount Holyoke Sarah Williston Scholar, Mary Lyon Scholar and was selected twice to present at the Mount Holyoke Leadership Senior Symposium.
The four-time NEWMAC field hockey All-Conference honoree helped lead the Lyons to three conference title games, claiming the championship in 2015 while making two NCAA Sweet 16 appearances. The goalkeeper finished her career a four-time All-Region winner while earning All-America accolades in 2014.
DiCesare completed numerous volunteer opportunities and community service projects while at Mount Holyoke. A part from her many coaching positions she was a peer mentor teaching assistant, student-researcher, and a mathematics tutor. DiCesare completed volunteering opportunities with the Peck School and Cradles to Crayons. She also completed internships with TESARO, Inc. and Takeda Oncology.
Elsie Odhiambo, Smith College
Odhiambo is a 2017 graduate of Smith College where she graduated Cum Laude with a degree in Engineering. The engineering major earned high honors while being inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society for graduating in the top 10% of her class. She is a four-time NEWMAC Academic All-Conference honoree and earned NFHCA Division III Scholars of Distinction in 2014 and 2015.
As a four-year member of the field hockey team and two-year captain, Odiambo helped lead the Pioneers to three NEWMAC tournaments while earning All-Conference and All-Region honors her senior season.
Odhiambo was a member of the Society of Women Engineers where she held positions of President, Vice President and Treasurer, she was a member of the Smith College Residence Life Staff, Student Ambassador and Gold Key Tour Guide. Odhiamno was the Co-Founder and Project Manger of Engineers without Borders, was a member of the Community Service Organization and the Acapella group for the tone deaf, Crapapella.
Giovanna Pickering, Babson College
Pickering is a 2017 graduate of Babson College where she earned a degree in Finance and Marketing. She earned the Dean's List Platinum Pin for earning Dean's List for six of more academic semesters, and was a two-time recipient of the Orenstein Family Term Scholarship.
The four-year standout on the Beavers basketball team is well decorated at both the conference and national levels, helping lead the squad to two NEWMAC Championship titles and two NCAA Tournament appearances. Pickering is a four-time All-Conference winner while being named the Athlete of the Year her senior season. She is also earned All-America honors from two separate organizations in 2017.
Pickering has been involved in numerous volunteer and community service activities during her time in Babson Park. She has participated in Doctors Without Borders, Dream Big!, Venturing Out Program, and Study Abroad. The finance and economics major also completed internships with Sony Music Entertainment and Boston Partners Investment Management.
Kathryn Barth, Wellesley College
Barth is a 2017 graduate of Wellesley College while she earned a degree in biochemistry. Barth is a three-time NEWMAC Academic All-Conference honoree, three-time CRCA Scholar Athlete Award recipient, Wellesley College Barbara Barnes Hauptfuhrer '40 Senior Scholar Athlete Award winner, and the senior recipient of the A. Author Gottlieb, M.D.
As a four-year member on the rowing team, Barth is a two-time All-Conference honoree while earning NEWMAC Rower of the Year accolades in 2017 and 2015. She helped lead the Blue to four consecutive conference titles while Wellesley earned the NCAA National Title in 2016. Barth also helped lead the Blue to four Seven Sisters championships and the 2016 New England Rowing Championships Overall Team Points Trophy.
The biochemistry major has completed many community service projects and volunteering opportunities during her time in Wellesley. Barth was a biology tutor, algebra grader, Philmont Scout Ranch Ranger Trainer, Issaquah soup kitchen server, and Summit Ski School Instructor. She completed Biology Research & Honors Thesis, Chemistry Research and earned the Venturing Silver Award.
Lauren Holt, Springfield College
Holt Is a 2017 graduate of Springfield College where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with her degree in Athletic Training. She is a four-time Dean's List recipient, three-time NEWMAC Academic All-Conference honoree, two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American, Norm Mackie Memorial Scholarship recipient, Marcia Anderson Scholarship recipient and Athletic Trainers of Massachusetts Scholarship recipient. Holt was selected by the NCAA for the Post-Graduate Scholar program
Graduating as one of the most decorated student-athletes in Springfield College history, Holt was a four-year standout on the volleyball team where she was a two-time NEWMAC Athlete of the Year and four-time AVCA All-American. The middle blocker lead the Pride to four NCAA appearances and two Sweet 16 rounds. She is the NCAA Division III Statistical Champion in 2015 and 2016 in Most Blocks Per Set, Springfield College Athlete of the Fall and a four-time Springfield College Team Sport Female Athlete Award recipient.
Holt was a member of the Springfield College Athletic Training Club, Student-Athlete Leadership Team, National Athletic Trainers Association, and Athletic Trainers of Massachusetts. She completed volunteer and community service projects as a National Girls and Women in Sports Day Activity leader, Springfield College Humanics in Action Day Participant, Springfield College Scholars in Action Day and was an elementary school math tutor. A part from her many hours of clinical experience, Holy completed her senior capstone research project on the Acute Effects of Dry-Cupping Therapy Versus Active Release Technique on Relieving Symptoms of Chronic Anterior Knee Pain in Division III College Athletes.
Lindsay Gurska, WPI
Gurska is a 2017 graduate of WPI where she graduated as a Candidate with High Distinction with a degree in Biology and Biotechnology. She is a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American, recipient of the WPI's Dean's List from 2013-2017, WPI's Salisbury Prize recipient, Department of Biology and Biotechnology Major Qualifying Project Award recipient, three-time NEWMAC Academic All-Conference honoree, WPI Poly Club Award winner, Bonnie-Blanche Schoonover Award recipient in 2016 and was a WPI Charles O. Thompson Scholar in 2014.
Gurska was a four-year standout member of the Engineer's softball team where she was named the NEWMAC Player of the Year in 2016. The catcher helped lead WPI to two regular season titles and the programs first tournament title since 1991 in 2016 as well as three NCAA tournament appearances.
Gurska completed many community service projects and volunteer activities during her time in Worcester. She was a WPI Biology Ambassador, member of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and a WPI peer learning assistant. Gurska participated in the WPI Student-Athlete Leadership Series, Worcester Training Resources of America Young Parent Program while she worked in the WPI Office of Residential Services and the WPI Biology Laboratory.
Maryann Gong, MIT
Gong is a 2017 graduate of MIT where she earned a degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science with a 4.0 GPA. After completing her undergraduate degree during the first semester, she started worked towards her Masters from MIT in Artificial Intelligence. She is a three-time CoSIDA Academic All-American, two-time CoSIDA Academic All-America Athlete of the Year, five-time USTFCCCA All-Academic selection, six-time NEWMAC Academic All-Conference honoree, two-time winner of the Malcolm G. Kispert Award, Quanta Computer Undergraduate Research and Innovation Scholar, Lam Research Scholar and a Pedrozzi Scholar.
The three-sport athlete in cross country, indoor track and field and outdoor track and field, has earned a total of 15 All-American honors. She helped lead the Engineers to four-consecutive conference titles in cross country and outdoor track during her time in Cambridge while making NCAA appearances in all three sports four times. Gong's track and field career was highlighted in 2015 as she was crowned the 3,0000 Meter National Champion. During the 2015 season she was also named the USTFCCCA New England Indoor Track Athlete of the Year and the NCAA Track Athlete of the Year. She is the current MIT indoor record holder in the 1,500, Mile, 3,000 and 5,000 and the outdoor record holder in the 5K.
Gong has completed internships with the Google Ads Team as well as the Speech Data Infrastructure Team and at A4 Data Technology in Software Engineering. She is the Co-Author of Towards an Automated Screening Tool for Development Speech and Language Impairments and a Researcher for the Data-Driven Inference Group at CSAIL. Gong is also a talented pianist where she earned First Place at the U.S. Open for Piano in 2013 and completed the Certificate of Merit of the Music Teachers Association of California, Level 10 Advanced. Gong was a lab researcher in the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and participated in Engineers without Borders.