FAIRFAX, Va. — UMBC senior Sunita Mengers, biological sciences, '16 (Germantown, Md./Clarksburg) is among the Top 15 male and female semi-finalists for the 2016 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Award, it has been announced by Diverse: Issues In Higher Education magazine.
Mengers, a four-year letterwinner on the Retriever women's soccer squad, was chosen from more than 1,000 outstanding minority student-athletes nominated by their respective institutions.
In 1992, Black Issues In Higher Education magazine, now Diverse, established the Sports Scholars Awards to honor undergraduate students of color who exemplify the standards set by tennis great Arthur Ashe Jr.
A scholar and athlete, Ashe sought to expand opportunities for young people. Each yearDiverse: Issues In Higher Education invites every postsecondary institution in the country to participate in this awards program by nominating their outstanding sports scholars. In addition to their athletic ability, students named Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars must exhibit academic excellence as well as community activism.
To be included, students have to compete in an intercollegiate sport; maintain a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.2; and be active on their campuses or in their communities. The NCAA Office of Inclusion has partnered with Diverse to support this standout class of scholar athletes. Approximately 1,000 male and female students from across the country were nominated.
Mengers competed in 22 career games for the Retrievers and started a pair of contests in her senior campaign. The biological sciences major earned America East Conference Fall-Winter Commissioner's Honor Roll status in all four academic years at UMBC. She played a career-high nine games in 2013, and was part of a squad which won the Retrievers' first America East title and competed in their first NCAA Championship tournament.
Past recipients of the award include: Baylor University's (2011) Robert Griffin III, Heisman Trophy winner and Washington Redskins quarterback; the University of Tennessee's (2003) Kara Lawson, ESPN analyst who played for the WNBA's Sacramento Monarchs; San Diego State University's (1993) Marshall Faulk, NFL Hall of Famer; and the University of Kansas' (1996) Jaque Vaughn, head coach of the NBA's Orlando Magic.
Dozens of Retriever student-athletes have graced the pages of Diverse as sports scholar winners, including in 2007, when track and field's Isaac Matthews was the Sports Scholar of the Year.