ANNVILLE, PA (July 20, 2022) – Stevens Institute of Technology women’s volleyball graduate Elizabeth Chu was selected as one of four Middle Atlantic Conferences (MAC) nominees for the prestigious NCAA Woman of the Year award, the league office said Wednesday.
Chu was selected along with track and field athlete Esther Seeland from Messiah University, softball student Sarah Reinert from Alvernia University and basketball student Averi Jordan from DeSales University. The league may select up to two nominees representing each of the three conferences (MAC Freedom, MAC Commonwealth, and MAC) that make up the Middle Atlantic Conference. Chu, who represents women’s volleyball along with Jordan Stevens, were selected as the two MAC Freedom nominees, while Reinert was chosen to represent the MAC Commonwealth and Seeland was awarded the contract to represent the MAC. Nomination is based on the conference affiliation of the student-athlete’s primary sport.
“MAC is thrilled to nominate these four outstanding women,” said MAC CEO Megan Morrison in the conference’s official announcement. “They excelled in the classroom and contributed to their communities in impactful ways while working hard to excel in their sport.”
Established in 1991 and rooted in Title IX, the Woman of the Year Award traditionally recognizes graduates and athletes who have distinguished themselves through their performance on and off the field and who have distinguished themselves from their peers in the four pillars of the award.
“I am so honored to be recognized by the Middle Atlantic Conference and MAC Freedom for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award,” said Chu. “I am grateful for this prestigious honor but also for recognizing the achievements and efforts of Stevens Women’s Volleyball in the classroom, on the court and in our community.”
The four nominated student-athletes will be referred by the conference bureau to the NCAA Woman of the Year Selection Committee, which will determine the top 30 honorees — 10 from each division — before announcing the top nine finalists (three per division), which is expected in September announced. The NCAA will officially recognize all nominees for the conference in August.
“Lizzie was the consummate athlete and truly represents what it means to be NCAA Woman of the Year,” Director of Athletics Russell Rogers commented. “Beyond her credentials on the court and in the classroom, Lizzie brought an incredible level of positive energy and enthusiasm to our women’s volleyball team and athletic program. She is a wonderful role model who has clearly established herself as one of all-time great student-athletes at Stevens.”
Chu’s selection marks the third consecutive year that a Stevens student has risen as a nominee for the conference in the Woman of the Year process. A native of Old Tappan, New Jersey, she is the eighth student-athlete since 2007 to earn the right to represent Stevens and his respective conference alongside the top female student-athletes across the country. Chu is the Ducks’ second conference woman of the year, representing the women’s volleyball program. Alumna Naomi Chin was named 2003 Woman of the Year by the Women’s Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC). However, the finalists were selected from a pool of student-athletes who were selected as state champions, as opposed to conference nominations, and it is believed that WIAC did not submit a formal nomination for consideration.
“Besides the many accolades and accolades, what sets Lizzie apart from other elite students is her ability not only to succeed in everything she does, but to make everyone around her better in the process,” says the volleyball coach the women Briana Jones said. “Not only is she the embodiment of role model, but she finds a way to bring out the best version in everyone around her, making room for people to be themselves. Everyone in our program looked up to her not only on the court but off it as well. She is what many student athletes aspire to: hardworking, hardworking and personable.”
The pillars of the Woman of the Year award are Academics, Athletics, Service and Leadership. Chu has a successful resume in all four areas.
Chu totaled 1,720 digs in just three seasons of competition, ending her career in fourth place in program history. A three-time Conference Defensive Player of the Year Award winner, including two at the MAC Freedom, Chu averaged 4.82 digs per set, which ranks second in program history, while also dishing out 257 assists, serving 134 aces and nine kills recorded. A three-time first-team All-Conference honoree, Chu’s was named a 2021 Third Team American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-American and also received two AVCA All-Region nods. Chu’s third-team All-America invocation is believed to be the first in the program’s history.
With Chu at his side, Stevens posted a 71-28 record, including an impressive 22-1 mark in league play. The Ducks won two MAC Freedom titles, with Chu receiving the 2021 MAC Freedom Tournament Most Valuable Player Honors.
Chu, the 2021 MAC Women’s Volleyball Senior Scholar Athlete, graduated from her bachelor’s degree in chemical biology with a perfect cumulative grade point average of 4.0 and was recognized by Stevens as one of 16 students at the top of her class of 2022. A three-time Academic All-American, selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America, Chu received the Lawrence CF Horle Memorial Award, the Luigi Pollara Award, the Maurice E. Roglin Award, and the Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award in Chemistry and Chemical Biology at the undergraduate level -Award Ceremony 2022. Chu was also recognized by the New York American Chemical Society with their Student Award for Outstanding Achievement in Chemical Biology.
A two-time Academic All-MAC selection, Chu is one of only four student-athletes in school history to have received three Academic All-America honors. She was also named one of two MAC Freedom nominees for the inaugural DIIICA Student-Athlete of the Year Award.
As a longtime team captain, Chu has mentored physicians associated with Hackensack Meridian Health, the Palisades Women’s Group, along with physicians specializing in internal medicine and pediatrics. Chu also developed a business plan for an Asian-American Big Brother/Big Sister program for the New York City metropolitan area, the goal of which was to create an educational model for youth to help build a sense of identity and empowerment in the midst of ascension Developing pride in their Asian culture of Asian hatred in the United States. She was also an intern at Project Asian Health Education and Development (AHEAD), where she worked with a group of Asian Americans
Students participating in a health needs assessment for the city of Flushing, New York. Chu was also an active member of the Alpha Epsilon Delta Health Honor Society, the Stevens Health Professionals Club, and the Athletic Department’s Mile City Mentor Program.
The NCAA previously announced that 577 female students were nominated for the 2022 NCAA Woman of the Year Award, of which 202 were from Division III. A total of 75 student-athletes from all NCAA divisions represented women’s volleyball.
For the first time in the history of the awards, the top 30 honorees will be celebrated and the Woman of the Year will be announced at next year’s NCAA Convention, which will be held in San Antonio.
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