Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine recently announced West Virginia women’s basketball player Jess Harlee as this year’s Arthur Ashe Jr. Female Sports Scholar of the Year, awarded to the top female in college athletics.
Finishing up her junior season at West Virginia, Harlee holds a 3.9 GPA in industrial engineering. She has been a co-captain for the Mountaineer women’s basketball team for the last two seasons and is involved in the community.
The Bel Air, Md., native closed out her junior season as an Big 12 All-Defensive Team member, ranking in the Big 12’s top-10 for steals per game. Harlee recorded the second-most steals and blocked shots for WVU and was the second-leading scorer off the bench in 29 games played.
The honor has been awarded since 1996 and is intended for undergraduate students of color who have made academic and athletic achievement a winning combination. Inspired by tennis legend Arthur Ashe Jr.’s commitment to education as well as his love for the game of tennis, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education invites every college and university in the country to nominate student-athletes based on academic excellence and community activism. Student-athletes must also maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.2.
Last year’s award winner was Oklahoma State softball player Chelsea Garcia. Harlee becomes the sixth women’s basketball player to earn the honor among previous winners from Tennessee, Florida, Texas A&M, Tulane and U.S. Coast Guard Academy.
A copy of the story can be found in Diverse Issues in Higher Education’s Volume 30 here.