The NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Committee has awarded former Alaska Nanooks women’s skier Julia (Coulter) Pierson one of 29 prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships, based on her achievements on the trails and in the classroom during her time with the Blue and Gold.
Pierson just completed her first year of the doctorate of physical therapy program at the University of Utah. The one-time $7500 scholarship is to be used for her postgraduate studies within three years.
“If anyone deserves to be recognized by the NCAA with a postgraduate scholarship it is Julia (Coulter) Pierson,” said Alaska head coach Scott Jerome. “I can think of no one more deserving in my 15 years than her.”
Her athletic accolades include USCSCA All-American (2007), two-time NCAA Skiing Championships participant (2007, 2009), and two-time All-CCSA Second Team selection. While her individual accomplishments were impressive and numerous, the two-time team captain remained “the consummate team player” according to Jerome.
“She always, without fail, found ways to help her coaches and teammates. At UAF we travel for long road trips to the lower-48 for skiing,” said Jerome. “These trips often last for two weeks at a time. Julia could always be counted on to make these trips run smoothly. She never used academics to shirk her team responsibilities, nor did she ever use the team and skiing to avoid her academic requirements.”
Pierson graduated magna cum laude from the University of Alaska Fairbanks with a Bachelor of Science degree in biological sciences in the spring of 2010.
“I would like to thank my family, teammates, Scott and Denise Jerome, Dr. Richard Boone, Forrest Karr, Dani Sheppard and the UAF athletic department for being such an integral part in my athletic and academic successes and an inspiration towards becoming a physical therapist,” said Pierson.
In her time as a student-athlete Pierson garnered several academic honors, including Great Northwest Athletic Conference Cross Country All-Academic Team honors three times, GNAC At-Large All-Academic Team honors twice for skiing, USTFCCCA All-Academic Team honors and she was the Intercollegiate Athletics Council Female Scholar Athlete of the Year as a senior in 2010.
“My experience as a student-athlete at UAF is invaluable to me and has prepared me well for grad school,” she added.
This season’s NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship recipients (29 men and 29 women) represent winter-sports participants from all NCAA divisions, who will receive one-time, nonrenewable grants of $7,500.
The scholarships are awarded to student-athletes who excel academically and athletically and who are in their final year of intercollegiate athletics competition. The NCAA awards up to 174 postgraduate scholarships annually, 87 for men and 87 for women.
The NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship was created in 1964 to promote and encourage postgraduate education by rewarding the Association’s most accomplished student-athletes through their participation in NCAA championship and/or emerging sports. For more information about the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships, go to the Diversity and Inclusion link under the ‘About the NCAA’ tab at www.ncaa.org.