Senior Erika Swenson has many accomplishments to her name, and she is about to add one more. The Cobber soccer star and health care management and classical studies double major will be graduating this spring having just received the 2011 NCAA post-graduate scholarship, an honor that only 58 students receive each year.
Soccer head coach Dan Weiler said that every year Concordia Athletics nominates a group of students for the award, and when it came time for this year’s awards, Swenson was an obvious candidate.
“She was kind of a no-brainer when it came to nominating people for the scholarship,” Weiler said, adding that Swenson is just the kind of dynamic student-athlete the scholarship committee wants to see. Scholarships are based on the how students balance their athletic careers to perform well in school.
“The scholarship really is based on both sides: athletics…and academics,” Weiler said.
Swenson said that this type of well-roundedness is exactly the characteristic that Concordia’s DIII athletics has instilled in her.
“It definitely got me the scholarship,” Swenson said of Concordia’s program. “I really do feel there is an emphasis on student-athlete.”
Swenson said she will miss playing collegiate soccer, and will especially miss the community and camaraderie she had with her teammates.
“They really do become some of your best friends,” Swenson said.
However, this will not be the end of her soccer career. Swenson said she intends to continue playing on leagues.
“I love it,” Swenson said, adding that soccer has been a consistent part of her life for the past 17 years.
Swenson plans to work for a few years and then attend graduate school for public health and business, a future that looks bright and promising, said business professor Linda Keup.
“As a professor, I think as you work with students, you start to see the ones that are more suited to grad school, and Erika definitely falls into that category,” Keup said.
Keup also mentioned her regard for Swenson’s determination, which Keup said she especially noticed last year when Swenson had a knee injury that kept her off the soccer field. It was then that Keup said Swenson really showed her “spirit of tackling challenges and working hard to attain those goals.”
Other professors have also noticed Swenson’s aptitude and quality of character.
“Erika has been with me since she was a freshman,” Latin professor Edward Schmoll said. “She’s extremely dedicated, and couples that with being innately intelligent.”
Keup and Schmoll were also impressed by Swenson’s humble attitude.
“Both in school and in soccer, she tends to exhibit a lot of humility,” Keup said. “She always makes sure others get credit.”
Keup has a lot of confidence in this NCAA scholarship recipient and her future.
“I will be very surprised if I don’t see her running a company or being an administrator for an institution,” Keup said.
She is also confident in Swenson’s ability to succeed while retaining her humility and tact.
“She’s going to get ahead, but she’s not going to step on anybody,” Keup said. “Those kind of people are hard to come by.”
Sallie has held positions in The Concordian since her sophomore year as a writer in both the Sports and Pulse sections. She is now the paper’s sports editor, though she claims that she’s “not a bro,” despite her position. Sallie hopes to “grow the section” during her time as editor by including more feature and student-interest stories. Her other interests include folk art and folklore. She has a special interest in folk costumes (about which she says, “I like to make them. I like to wear them. I know too much about them.”) and sølje, traditional Norwegian jewelry , which she collects.