SPARTANBURG, S.C. - The Southern Conference announced today (May 8) its eight postgraduate scholarship recipients for the 2011-12 academic year. The eight student-athletes will be honored for their accomplishments at the Southern Conference Honors Dinner in Asheville, N.C., on Wednesday, May 30.

This year's honorees include Dave Hart Graduate Scholarship recipient Peyton Ford (UNCG), Dorothy Hicks Graduate Scholarship recipient Ashley Schnell (UNCG), David Knight Graduate Scholarship recipient Caroline Newman (College of Charleston), William V. Moore Graduate Scholarship presented by McMillan/Pazdan/Smith recipient Jessica Smith (Furman), Coleman Lew & Associates Graduate Scholarship recipient Sarah Butts (Samford), Southern Conference Presidential Scholarship recipient Shanna Couch (The Citadel), and Bob McCloskey Insurance Graduate Scholarship recipients James Carroll (Elon) and Katelyn O'Dunne (Elon).

Peyton Ford, UNCG - Dave Hart Graduate Scholar
UNCG's Peyton Ford has been named the 2012 recipient of the Dave Hart Graduate Scholarship, named in memory of former Southern Conference Commissioner, Dave Hart, Sr. A goalkeeper on the Spartans' men's soccer team, Ford entered his final semester as an undergraduate with a perfect 4.0 grade point average while majoring in political science with a minor in business. A second-team all-SoCon selection in 2011, Ford led the Spartans to their second straight SoCon regular season title in 2011. With 18 career shutouts, he is UNCG's Division I leader and ranks in the league's top 10 all-time in that category. Off the field, has been involved with UNCG's Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) and has volunteered at Relay for Life. He plans to enter UNCG's Bryan School of Business in the fall to pursue an MBA while competing in his final season of soccer.

Ashley Schnell, UNCG - Dorothy Hicks Graduate Scholar
Named after the Southern Conference's first female faculty athletics representative, the Dorothy Hicks Graduate Scholarship has been awarded to UNCG's Ashley Schnell for 2012. A cross country and track runner for the Spartans, Schnell was the SoCon cross country champion in both 2010 and 2011, taking home league Runner of the Year honors each season. She has been just as successful in the classroom, carrying a 4.0 GPA in music performance. The multiple-time Academic All-American has been involved in volunteer efforts through numerous outlets, including the FoodNet program at a local church and with the Golden Key Society. Schnell intends to continue her studies in musical performance by enrolling in graduate school in the fall.

Caroline Newman, College of Charleston - David Knight Graduate Scholar
Caroline Newman, a four-year tennis standout for College of Charleston, has been awarded the David Knight Graduate Scholarship, named after the late Dr. David Knight, the long-time faculty athletics representative at UNCG. The two-time academic all-district honoree has been a key contributor in each of the Cougars' four consecutive SoCon tennis championships. She was twice named second-team all-SoCon in singles play while once earning that distinction in doubles action. A psychology major with a minor in in neuroscience, Newman will graduate this spring with a 4.0 GPA. An aspiring doctor, Newman has volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House and participated in a medical mission trip to Swaziland. After taking a year away from school to volunteer in a local hospice and work as an emergency medical technician, Newman intends to enter medical school in the fall of 2013.

Jessica Smith, Furman - William V. Moore Graduate Scholar presented by McMillan/Pazdan/Smith
Furman's Jessica Smith. a four-year starter for the Paladins' women's soccer team, has been named the recipient of the William V. Moore Graduate Scholarship, presented by McMillan/Pazdan/Smith. The scholarship is named in memory of former College of Charleston faculty athletics representative and SoCon President Bill Moore. A chemistry major, Smith has maintained a 3.959 GPA while starting more than 70 matches in her collegiate career. Athletically, Smith was selected as a second-team all-conference goalkeeper in 2011 and finished her career as Furman's all-time leader in goals-against average. She has been recognized by CoSIDA as an academic all-district performer in each of the past two seasons while also becoming a regular on the dean's list. Smith has been active in the community as well, volunteering her time at the Greenville Memorial Hospital as well as local community centers. Following graduation, Smith aims to enter a doctor of pharmacy program.

Sarah Butts, Samford - Coleman Lew & Associates Graduate Scholar
Samford's Sarah Butts of the Coleman Lew & Associates Graduate Scholarship. A golfer for the Bulldogs, Butts recorded seven top-10 finishes during her four years of play, including a sixth-place finish at the 2010 SoCon Championship. In 2011, Butts claimed the Georgia Women's Amateur championship and represented the state in the Georgia Florida Team Matches. A Spanish major with a 3.93 GPA, Butts also minored in biology and plans to enter medical school following graduation. A member of the dean's list and a Samford University Fellow, Butts is a member of multiple honor societies and a two-time honoree on the SoCon Academic All-Conference team. Butts has volunteered extensively, often combing her Spanish and medical skills to offer assistance, as well as numerous church-related activities.

Shanna Couch, The Citadel - Southern Conference Presidential Scholar
The Citadel's Shanna Couch is a recipient of the Southern Conference Presidential Scholarship. A four-year letterman on the women's soccer team, Couch was a key part in the Bulldogs' winningest senior class in school history. A health, exercise, and sport science major with a minor in biology, Couch owns an unblemished 4.0 GPA. She was named to The Citadel's Dean List and earned multiple Gold Stars, which are the highest academic award at The Citadel. Couch recently received the Class of 2012's David Shingler Spell first honor graduate, which recognizes the cadetswith the highest academic achievement, becoming the first female to ever receive the honor. She was a three-time honoree on the SoCon's Fall Academic All-Conference team as well as a 2011 recipient of the league's Coleman Lew Leadership Award, and she received academic all-district honors from CoSIDA and ESPN in 2010. Next month, Couch plans to enroll in the physical therapy program at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Katelyn O'Dunne, Elon - Bob McCloskey Insurance Graduate Scholar
Katelyn O'Dunne, a member of the Elon cross country and track teams, is the recipient of one of two Bob McCloskey Insurance Graduate Scholarships. A religious studies major with a double major in human services, O'Dunne will graduate this spring with a 3.99 GPA average. O'Dunne has received numerous academic accolades, including four-time recognition on the President's List and the 2011 Religious Studies Scholar Award. At the conference level, she is a multiple-time member of the league's academic all-conference teams as well as the Honor Roll and the Commissioner's medal. In 2010, she was named to the Capital One CoSIDA Academic All-District III second team. In addition to serving as team captain in 2011-12, O'Dunne has spent hundreds of hours volunteering through church and community service programs, and plans to enroll in divinity school upon graduation.

James Carroll - Bob McCloskey Insurance Graduate Scholar
Elon men's soccer standout James Carroll has been awarded one of two Bob McCloskey Insurance Graduate Scholarships. In three and a half years, Carroll earned both a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science and a Bachelor of Arts degree in physics while pursuing his passion of artificial intelligence and robotics. Carroll maintained a 3.98 GPA and was recognized as a two-time academic all-district honoree while also being named Capital One Academic All-America third team in 2011. On the field, Carroll was named to the SoCon's all-freshman team in 2008 and served as team captain in 2010 and 2011. In his senior season, Carroll was a key contributor as the Phoenix won the SoCon tournament for the first time in school history. Carroll intends to continue his studies in pursuit of a PhD in computer science.


2011-12 SoCon Graduate Scholars

Name (Institution)                                   Sport                       Academic Major
Peyton Ford (UNCG)                               Soccer                     Political science
Ashley Schnell (UNCG)                           Cross Country/Track  Music performance
Caroline Newman (College of Charleston)  Tennis                      Psychology
Jessica Smith (Furman)                          Soccer                      Chemistry
Sarah Butts (Samford)                            Golf                           Spanish
Shanna Couch (The Citadel)                    Soccer                      Health, exercise, and sport science
Katelynn O'Dunne (Elon)                         Cross Country/Track  Religious studies, Human services
James Carroll (Elon)                                Soccer                     Computer science, Physics


ABOUT THE SOUTHERN CONFERENCE
The Southern Conference, in its 91st season of intercollegiate competition, is a national leader in emphasizing the development of the student-athlete and helping build lifelong leaders and role models. The conference has been on the forefront of innovation and originality in developing creative solutions to address issues facing intercollegiate athletics. From establishing the first conference basketball tournament (1921), tackling the issues of freshman eligibility (1922), developing women's championships (1984) to becoming the first conference to install the three-point goal in basketball (1980), the Southern Conference has been a pioneer. The Southern Conference is the nation's fifth-oldest NCAA Division I collegiate athletic association.

The conference currently consists of 12 members in five states throughout the southeast and sponsors 19 varsity sports and championships that produce participants for NCAA Division I Championships.