C-USA Spirit of Service Honorees Recognized for Spring 2014
June 11, 2014
IRVING, Texas - Conference USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky announced the 16 student-athletes that will receive the C-USA Spring Spirit of Service Award. The C-USA Spirit of Service Award is designed to recognize the community service efforts of the league's student-athletes, based upon significant community service, good academic standing and participation in their elected sport.
The Spirit of Service award is presented three times throughout the season, with these honorees representing Conference USA's spring sports: baseball, golf, women's rowing, softball, tennis, and outdoor track and field. Rice senior baseball player Andrew Murphy is a repeat winner, earning this award in 2012.
2014 SPRING C-USA SPIRIT OF SERVICE HONOREES:
Charlotte sophomore Patric King has maintained a perfect 4.00 GPA as a civil engineering while competing with the 49er baseball team. He appeared in 14 games this season, making four starts at catcher. A native of Indian Trail, N.C., King was a Levine Scholar, which is Charlotte's most prestigious merit scholarship. Through that program, he did an internship with the YMCA of Greater Charlotte, where he was instrumental in getting them teamed up with the Miracle League to give children with special needs a chance to play baseball. He also volunteered at baseball tournaments and camps, as well as with blood drives and an epilepsy walk.
Junior Devan Murphy is a three-year letterwinner for the East Carolina women's golf team. A public health studies and pre-health professions major, Murphy has been an active volunteer in the community. During her time as a Pirate, Murphy assisted at the Ronald McDonald House as well as the Salvation Army. Additionally, she has been involved in numerous fundraisers for area youth and has participated in Relay for Life, Exceptional Children's Football League, blood drives and other charitable causes. The Charlotte, N.C., native is a member of the Dean's List and C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll.
FIU junior Aramis Garcia adds Spirit of Service to his list of accomplishments as he was just selected by the San Francisco Giants in last week's MLB draft. Garcia was taken in the second round with the 52nd-overall pick. The 2014 Conference USA Player of the Year, Garcia was also named a Collegiate Baseball Louisville Slugger All-American after having leading C-USA in hitting this season. He additionally was named FIU's Male Student-Athlete of the Year back in April. A native of Pembroke Pines, Fla., Garcia volunteered at the FIU 9/11 Day of Service, Susan G. Koman Race for the Cure, Arthritis Walk and the MLK Day of Service. He maintains a 3.76 GPA as a sport and fitness studies major.
Florida Atlantic senior Danielle Aromashodu was captain of the Owls' women's track and field squad this year and was named FAU's Outstanding Female Athlete. She competed in the 400 meter hurdles at the NCAA Regionals all four years and holds the school record in the event. An exercise science and health promotion major from Miami, she earned a spot on the C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll and was a seven-time FAU All-Academic Team member. Aromashodu was the secretary for the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and volunteered for a number of events from Relay for Life and collecting for Toys for Tots to various food drives. She also volunteered for a two-day track & field speed camp and at the AD Henderson Elementary school on the FAU campus. At AD Henderson, Aromashodu counseled and met with the young students and helped with Field Day.
Louisiana Tech junior outfielder Janine Godwin is the SAAC representative for softball and was responsible for maintaining the LA Tech SAAC social media sites. Outside of her SAAC volunteer activities, Godwin participated in the volunteerism efforts of the Lady Techster program throughout the year. She has a great interest and passion for promoting and coordinating volunteer activities and has been one of the biggest assets in getting the word out about service events and activities to other student-athletes. A native of Princeton, Texas, Goodwin had a breakout year and was able to acquire a starting position under a new coaching staff through her leadership, work ethic, and knowledge of the game.
Marshall senior women's tennis student-athlete Karli Timko has utilized her playing skills toward her academics and community service. The C-USA Women's Tennis Athlete of the Month for September 2013, she finished her career ranked among the top 20 in school history for singles and doubles wins. Timko was a tennis instructor in Huntington and at the Marshall Rec Center. A public relations major from Houston, Pa., Timko graduated magna cum laude and was awarded the 2014 Most Outstanding Team Player in Public Relations. She created a public relations plan for River Valley Child Development Services to help raise scholarship funds and hosted a Trivia Night that earned more than $2,000 for local nonprofit organizations.
Middle Tennessee catcher Laura Dukes just completed her junior campaign on the Blue Raiders' softball team. An organizational communications major, Dukes has devoted her time to help the local community. She volunteers with the Rutherford County Special Olympics, the Diabetes Walkathon and also reads to children at Scales Elementary. The New Market, Tenn., native is an All-Conference USA first-team performer, an academic all-district selection and a six-time member of the Dean's List.
Junior tennis player Franziska Sprinkmeyer graduated Summa Cum Laude from North Texas in three years with a psychology major and Spanish minor. The native of Nordhorn, Germany, also earned All-Conference USA first-team honors in doubles with a perfect 6-0 record this season. Sprinkmeyer also found countless hours to help out on campus and in the Denton community. She was a three-year member of the North Texas SAAC, organizing National Student-Athlete Day and National Girls and Women in Sports Day activities, the Rookie Round Up and a Halloween Carnival at Apogee Stadium. Sprinkmeyer served as an academic tutor and helped with collections for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, WFAA Santa's Helpers Toy Drive, Salvation Army and the Mayor's Day for the Hungry.
Old Dominion sophomore rower Lauren Wright has shown a passion for community service and using it as a way to build team cohesion. In the local community, Wright volunteered for Norfolk's Grande Illuminations Parade as a parade route marshal. Along with other members of the rowing team, she volunteered at a local school fair for children with autism. Wright visited Lake Taylor Middle School to talk with students about going to college and how athletics is a great way to experience higher education. Another volunteering highlight was Read Across America Day, when she spent the day reading to a local elementary school to help encourage reading at an early age. On campus, Wright has made an impact as well. She encouraged students to participate in an on-campus blood drive and helped with Special Olympics event held on campus. Wright is a parks, recreation and tourism studies major with an emphasis in therapeutic recreation and psychology minor. Through her major's club, Wright helped clean a local park as a part of the Adopt-A-Park Program. During her four semesters at ODU, she has twice been on Dean's List and named to the C-USA Commissioner's Academic Honor Roll.
Rice's Andrew Murphy just completed his senior campaign for the Owls' baseball team. He served as SAAC president this year and is a repeat C-USA Spirit of Service recipient after also being honored in 2012. Murphy volunteered at the Houston Food Bank, was a Student-Athlete Ambassador and a Rice tour guide for Kids Day. Murphy won the Bob Quin Award as Rice's top male student, maintaining a 3.65 GPA as a kinesiology major. A native of Shreveport, La., he was a three-time letterman as a reserve catcher for the Owls as they won three C-USA titles and advanced to the NCAA Championship each season.
Southern Miss senior softball player Mackenzie Sher participated in volunteer events ranging from the Special Olympics to hosting softball clinics. A psychology major from Bellaire, Texas, she held the highest GPA by a female student-athlete at USM, earning a spot on the President's List five times and was a four-time recipient of the C-USA Commissioner's Academic Medal. On the field, Sher was named Conference USA Player of the Week on March 31, 2014. She finished the season batting .284 with 42 hits in 148 at-bats with a career-high 11 doubles, a triple, eight home runs, 27 RBI and 20 runs scored. Sher finished her Southern Miss career ranked in the school career records in home runs (fourth), sacrifice flies (fourth), putouts (sixth), fielding percentage (sixth) and total chances (ninth).
Junior Emily Dvorak competed at No. 3 singles for the Tulane women's tennis team. Dvorak has been instrumental in giving back to the Greater New Orleans area, taking part in a number of activities to better the community in which she currently lives, as well as being an active volunteer with SAAC. Dvorak has been active in `Wave Days', which is designed to expose the youth of New Orleans to the collegiate environment while conveying a message that attending college is an attainable goal. The St. Petersburg, Fla., native has also participated in the Shadow-A-Student-Athlete Day and worked with the Second Harvest Food Drive through SAAC, accepting canned food donations at multiple Tulane athletics home events. She was one of 10 Green Wave student-athletes to volunteer time with the Youth Rebuilding New Orleans (YRNO) non-profit organization created and organized by the youth of New Orleans to better the lives of the city's youth.
Tulsa senior Brooke Helmberger of Papillion, Neb., was a member of the Varsity 8+ Tulsa crew that placed fourth at this year's C-USA Women's Rowing Championship. She volunteered for a number of community service projects, including the Tulsa Food Bank, Day Spring Villa, Good Samaritan Health Services, Read Across American and the Tulsa Zoo for Halloween. Helmberger also worked on campus with Habitat for Humanity, Kappa Gamma sorority, TU Shadow-A-Student Day, Student Host, Campus Ministry through Kaleo and Student Mobilization. A Spanish and biology double major, Helmberger was named to the President's List seven times and was a 2014 C-USA All-Academic Rowing Team member with an impressive 3.96 cumulative GPA.
UAB junior Rachel Daniell has been a leader amongst UAB student-athletes in community service. Along with serving as UAB SAAC president for a new, revamped SAAC program, she contributed more than 100 hours of community service this year alone. Daniell volunteered with many causes in the Birmingham community, including First Light Women's Shelter, Ronald McDonald House of Birmingham, Children's Hospital, and Veteran's Hospital. Daniell also read to children at Vestavia Hills Liberty Park Elementary and helped out at the Leeds School District career night. She was instrumental in helping to organize an initiative to make and deliver sandwiches to homeless in the Birmingham community this winter. A native of Douglasville, Ga., she boasts a cumulative 3.93 GPA as a pre-med biology major and Spanish minor. She is an honors student at UAB with a 4.00 term GPA in both Fall 2013 and Spring 2014. A three-time recipient of the C-USA Academic Medal, she was named to the 2013 and 2014 C-USA Women's Tennis All-Academic Team. Daniell played the No. 1 singles spot for the Blazers.
UTEP senior sprinter Janice Jackson will be making her third appearance at the NCAA Outdoor Championship later this week, competing in the 100 meter hurdles and as a member of the Miner 4x100 relay. Jackson logged 39 hours of community service during the 2013-14 academic year, participating in activities that include advocating for anti-bullying campaigns, drug free rallies, literacy awareness in Read Across America and STARR rallies in middle schools across the El Paso area. As a SAAC representative, she helped raise 27,700 pounds of canned goods for the El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food, aiding UTEP to a victory in the annual C-USA SAAC Hunger Food Drive. Jackson also helped organize UTEP's annual Take Back the Night rally against domestic violence. A native of St. Catherine, Jamaica, Jackson graduated from UTEP with a 3.93 GPA and is currently pursuing her graduate degree in history. She earned her second All-American honor with a fifth-place finish in the 60m hurdles (8.05) at the 2014 NCAA Indoor Championships, setting the school record, and was co-recipient of UTEP's 2014 Female Athlete of the Year award.
Junior Megan Low was a first-team All-Conference USA infielder for the UTSA softball team this season. The Spring, Texas, native was also named to the C-USA All-Academic Team as a kinesiology major. Lowe dressed up as Santa and delivered gifts to children as part of the Elf Louise project in San Antonio. She also helped prepare meals with Haven for Hope, a homeless shelter that serves Bexar County, and participated in the Buddy Walk to benefit children with Down Syndrome. Lowe has helped the Roadrunners raise money for the San Antonio Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through the team's annual Strike Out Cancer game that honors the memory of former UTSA pitcher Hope Ortiz.