OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – UMBC senior guard Michelle Kurowski(Hicksville, N.Y./Hicksville) has been named one of ten finalists for the Lowes Senior CLASS Award , which is awarded to the nation's top female basketball senior who has excels in the classroom and makes an impact in her community, in addition to her accomplishments on the court.
The award, presented to NCAA Division I student-athletes each year in 10 sports, focuses on four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition.
During her time at UMBC, Kurowski has achieved great success in all four areas. On the court, the Hicksville, N.Y. native is the America East active scoring leader, ranks third all-time in scoring at UMBC, and places 29th in America East history with 1,519 career points. In addition, she is one of only 12 Retrievers to ever score over 1,000 points and grab over 500 rebounds. A 2011 America East All-Conference First Team selection, Kurowski ranked second in the conference in scoring (14.6 ppg) while leading the Retrievers to their first regular season conference championship. For her career, she also ranks second in free throw percentage (.859), third in games started (109) and fifth in field goals made (510).
Off the court, Kurowski graduated Magna Cum Laude from UMBC in May after just three years. She maintained a 3.82 grade-point average while earning a bachelor's degree in psychology with a minor in social welfare. This past semester, she earned a 4.0 in her first semester of graduate school pursuing a teaching certificate and a master's degree in early childhood education at UMBC. The 2011 America East Women's Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Kurowski was selected to the 2011 Capital One Academic All-District First Team, the Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association Scholar-Athlete Team and the America East Women's Basketball All-Academic Team, and she was also named the female recipient of UMBC's Matt Skalsky Outstanding Scholar-Athlete Award in 2011.
A women's basketball team co-captain for the 2011-12 season, Kurowski is the vice president of UMBC's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), and she won UMBC's 2010-11 SAAC Award for academic achievement, community service and athletic involvement. Kurowski participates in UMBC's Make a Difference mentoring program, which pairs student-athletes with elementary school students on a one-on-one basis to promote academic and personal growth. She has also volunteered with Autism Speaks and for the Department of Social Services foster care unit.
Kurowski is joined on the finalists by New Hampshire's Denise Beliveau, giving the America East two of the ten award finalists. Only the America East and Pac 12 have multiple nominees.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
The finalists were chosen by a media committee from the list of 60 candidates announced in November. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to determine the winner. Fans are encouraged to vote on either the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award website or the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award Facebook fan page through March 18. Fan votes will be combined with media and Division I men's and women's basketball head coaches' votes to determine the winner.
Lowe's, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, will announce the women's award winner during the NCAA Women's Final Four®, which will be held April 1 and 3 in Denver.