Forty-Two Student-Athletes Receive Big Ten Distinguished Scholar Award

July 15, 2010

PARK RIDGE, Ill. -- The Big Ten Conference office announced today (Thursday, July 15) the list of Big Ten Distinguished Scholar Award recipients, with 42 University of Michigan student-athletes receiving the prestigious designation. The list of 2010 scholars includes 26 female and 16 male representatives across 17 sports.

"We are very proud of this elite group of student-athletes who were honored as Big Ten Distinguished Scholars," Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Dave Brandon said. "Their accomplishments in the classroom, along with their athletic achievements, should be commended. They put a lot of time and effort into their studies and deserve to be recognized for their dedication as a Michigan student-athlete."

The honor, in its second year of existence, is based upon the grade-point average (GPA) from the previous academic year only, compared to the Academic All-Big Ten honorees who are selected based on cumulative GPA. To be eligible for selection, student-athletes must be letterwinners in at least their second academic year at their institution and have earned a minimum GPA of 3.7 or higher for the previous fall and winter semesters. Graduate students are also eligible, as long as he/she did not graduate before completing the two 2009-10 semesters.

The 2010 national champion men's gymnastics team, along with the women's track and field/cross country team both had eight members receive the distinction.

Seven Wolverines had perfect 4.00 GPAs during the past academic year with junior men's gymnast Ben Baldus-Strauss (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton Warrenville South), senior pole vaulter Chris Baldwin (Battle Creek, Mich./Lakeview), senior women's swimmer Emily Christy (Schwenksville, Pa./Spring-Ford Area Senior), senior men's gymnast Phillip Goldberg (Dalton, Ga./McCallie), senior women's gymnast Kelsey Knutson (Ames, Iowa/Ames), sophomore women's soccer midfielder Courtney Mercier (Erie, Pa./McDowell) and senior women's track/cross country runner Rachel Severin (Chelsea, Mich./Chelsea) being honored as U-M's top scholars. Baldus-Strauss was the recipient of the inaugural Elite 88 award for men's gymnastics, honoring the student-athlete at a finals site with the highest GPA.

Following is the list of 42 U-M Big Ten Distinguished Scholars:

Vinnie Sarafa, Sr., economics, Farmington Hills, Mich.

Eileen Brandes, Jr., biology, Falmouth, Maine

Will Heininger, Jr., sport management, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Ben Baldus-Strauss, Jr., biochemistry, Wheaton, Ill.*
Kent Caldwell, Sr., brain behavior and cognitive sciences/art and design, Charlotte, N.C.
Devan Cote, Jr., biochemistry, Hollis, N.H.
Phillip Goldberg, Sr., psychology, Dalton, Ga.*
Torrance Laury, Sr., biology, Marietta, Ga.
Joe Levine, Sr., American culture, Springfield, N.J.
Ian Makowske, Jr., English, Redding, Conn.
Ryan McCarthy, Gr., kinesiology, Zionsville, Ind.

Kelsey Knutson, Sr., political science and communications, Ames, Iowa*
Jaclyn Kramer, Sr., political science, West Hills, N.Y.

Lindsey Healy, So., movement science, Troy, Mich.

Jackie Carron, Jr., biology, Rochester Hills, Mich.
Alex Jendrusch, Sr., sport management and international studies, Troy, Mich.
Courtney Mercier, So., Political Science, Erie, Pa.*
Kim Siebert, So., movement science, Troy, Mich.

Angela Findlay, Sr., psychology, Lockport, Ill.

Andre Schultz, Sr., mathematics/mathematical sciences, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Courtney Beyer, Sr., anthropology, Los Altos Hills, Calif.
Emily Christy, Sr., English/education, Schwenksville, Pa.*
Leigh Cole, Sr., BBCS, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Caitlin Dunphy-Daly, Sr., sociology, Royal Oak, Mich.
Keenan Koss, Sr., communications, Southport, Conn.

George Navas, Sr., economics, Tampa, Fla.

Chris Baldwin, Sr., psychology/music, Battle Creek, Mich.*
Tony Nalli, Sr., mechanical engineering, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Kyle Terpak, Sr., biochemistry, Riverview, Mich.

Lindsey Gakenheimer, So., microbiology, Monroe, Mich.
Jenny Morgan, Sr., anthropology, Clarkston, Mich.
Jennifer Neville, Jr., business, Dearborn, Mich.
Kaitlyn Peale, Jr., industrial and operational engineering, Columbus, Ohio
Rachel Severin, Sr., comparative literature, Chelsea, Mich.*
Danielle Tauro, Jr., sport management, Manahawkin, N.J.
Rachel White, Sr., public policy, New Lothrop, Mich.
Alexandria Williams, So., women's studies, Wallingford, Pa.

Megan Bower, Sr., sociology, Indianapolis, Ind.
Michelle McMahon, So., Spanish, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Juliana Paz, Sr., communications, Porto Alegre, Brazil
Cassie Petoskey, Sr., psychology and women's studies, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Anthony Biondo, Sr., English, Clinton Twp., Mich.

* indicates 4.0 GPA

Media Contact: David Ablauf (734) 763-4423