March 7, 2017
Full Release from the American Athletic Conference (link)
CINCINNATI - The American Athletic Conference today announced its 2016-17 recipients of the Commissioner’s Postgraduate Leadership Awards with University of Cincinnati distance runner Juliana Madzia being selected as the female winner of the annual scholarship. Madzia, an all-conference performer for the Bearcats cross country team this past fall, joins Tulsa’s Kirk Smith (cross country/track & field) as this year’s honorees.
The awards have been given annually to one male and one female student-athlete from an American-sponsored sport who have been admitted to a degree-granting or professional program for the following academic year and who have demonstrated leadership through excellence in academic credentials, athletic performance and depth of commitment to service within the institution or community. As part of the honor, each individual will receive a $5,000 scholarship to be applied toward postgraduate studies.
Athletically, Madzia had a fantastic fall as she placed 13th overall at the American Athletic Conference Cross Country Championships hosted by UC at Voice of America MetroPark, becoming the first Bearcat woman to earn all-conference accolades as a member of the American. Her front running helped pace the women to a sixth-place showing as a team, leaping up from 11th one year earlier and posting the best finish for the women’s program at a conference meet since the 2002 Conference USA competition. Indoors, Madzia recorded personal-best times in both the 3,000m run (10:13.68) and 5,000m run (17:37.90) and represented the Bearcats in both events at the conference championships last month.
Academically, the St. Clairsville, Ohio, native currently maintains a 4.00 GPA as a neuroscience minor while also minoring in women’s, gender and sexuality studies and plans to pursue a postgraduate track in medicine. During her time at UC, she has been named a Rhodes Scholarship finalist, a finalist for the 2017 University of Cincinnati Presidential Leadership Medal of Excellence and a National Merit finalist. She also has been inducted into a pair of honors sororities, including Phi Beta Kappa and Omicron Delta Kappa, and is the founder of Cincinnati Students Indivisible and co-president of UC GlobeMed. Her studies and internships have taken her around the world, including a more recent trip to South Africa and Ethiopia and plans to visit Thailand as part of GlobeMed’s GROW internship this summer.
The indoor season has come to a close for Madzia, but not two of her teammates as Adrian Valles (pole vault) and Annette Echikunwoke (weight throw) will compete at the 2017 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships this Friday and Saturday, respectively, in College Station, Texas. Madzia and the rest of the Bearcats are currently preparing for the start of the outdoor season, which will come March 24-25 at the Raleigh Relays on the NC State campus in Raleigh, N.C.
2016-17 American Athletic Conference Commissioner’s Postgraduate Leadership Awards
Female - Juliana Madzia - Cincinnati (XC/T&F)
Male - Kirk Smith - Tulsa (XC/T&F)
All-Time American Athletic Conference Commissioner’s Postgraduate Leadership Award Winners
2016-17 - Juliana Madzia - Cincinnati (XC/T&F) & Kirk Smith - Tulsa (XC/T&F)
2015-16 - Hannah Emnett - Tulsa (rowing) & Julien Dodu - East Carolina (swimming)
2014-15 - Julie Kernen - Tulsa (softball) & Keanan Joyner - Memphis (T&F)
2013-14 - Jacke Wattles - UConn (volleyball) & Zach Willis - Memphis (baseball)