Northern Illinois senior Jenelle McCalla (Whitby, Ontario, Canada/Father Leo J. Austin Secondary School) was awarded the inaugural Outstanding Student-Athlete Award from NIU’s University Honors Program in a program Sunday night.
The award is given to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade point average among all other student-athletes in the University Honors Program.
“It means a great deal to me to be chosen as a recipient for this award. As a student-athlete, you are constantly pushed to achieve in both athletics and academics,” McCalla said.
“I can honestly say that being part of the Honors program while competing at the collegiate level, although challenging at times, has been a wonderful experience. It has further strengthened my dedication to achieving in all walks of life and has developed in me skills that I will continue to use in the future,” she added. “I am honored to be chosen for this award and thank you to the University Honors Program and NIU Athletics for their continual support and their recognition of my achievements.”
McCalla has been a member of the University Honors Program since her freshman year and will be graduating in May with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. The senior currently boasts a perfect 4.0 GPA entering her final semester in DeKalb.
“Jenelle is extremely deserving of this honor,” said Liz Tovar, assistant athletic director of Student-Athlete Academic Support Services. “She exemplifies what is means to be a student-athlete, which is a student who can not only balance, but excel in both their sport and in the classroom. It is great to know that our most outstanding student-athletes are able to take part in such a special program.”
“The fact that Jenelle has excelled in two demanding spheres, academics and athletics, is a truly impressive achievement,” said Christopher Jones, associate vice provost for University Honors. “She stands as a superb role model for all NIU students. The University Honors community is very proud of her.”