Eastern Kentucky University junior Larissa Heslop has been named the 2019 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar of the Year for women’s soccer by the publication Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.
As the name denotes, the annual Arthur Ashe Jr. awards are part of a quarter-century legacy of recognizing outstanding minority young men and women who have distinguished themselves in their academic and athletic pursuits.
In addition to their athletic ability, students named 2019 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars maintained a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 and were active on their campuses and communities.
Nearly 1,000 student-athletes from across the NCAA were nominated for the Arthur Ashe Jr. awards this year.
Heslop, a defender from Greer, South Carolina, played in 17 games on EKU’s backline this season, earning three starts. She helped EKU record six shutouts and advance to the OVC semifinals for the third consecutive season.
A member of EKU’s renowned Honors Program, Heslop has maintained a 4.0 GPA while pursuing a degree in anthropology and a minor in international business. She is currently working on her Honors thesis, which focuses on the difficulties of reentry after incarceration in Kentucky.
From December of 2016 to January of 2017, Heslop studied abroad in England. This summer, she will study abroad in Israel and Egypt.
Heslop has participated in large community service projects the last two summers. In the summer of 2017, she volunteered at Harvest Hope, a food bank in South Carolina. In the summer of 2018, she was a volunteer research assistant at the Interdisciplinary Behavioral Research Center at Duke University.
Heslop is currently serving on EKU’s Student Government Diversity Committee. She helped the committee plan the first-ever Inclusion Panel this semester on campus.
In 1992, Black Issues In Higher Educationmagazine, now Diverse, established the Sports Scholars Awards to honor undergraduate students of color who exemplify the standards set by tennis great Arthur Ashe Jr.
A scholar and athlete, Ashe sought to expand opportunities for young people. Each year, Diverseinvites every postsecondary institution in the country to participate in this awards program by nominating their outstanding sports scholars.
— www.EKUSports.com ––
Associate Director of EKUSports Communications