Both Earlier Honored as WCHA Outstanding Student-Athletes of the Year for 2009-10
Michigan Tech's Eli Vlaisavljevich and St. Cloud State's Caitlin Hogan
MADISON, Wis. - The Western Collegiate Hockey Association today (June 8, 2010) announced that seniors Eli Vlaisavljevich of Michigan Technological University and Caitlin Hogan of St. Cloud State University are the recipients of the annual WCHA Post-Graduate Scholarship Program for 2010-11.
"It is with great pride that we announce Eli Vlaisavljevich and Caitlin Hogan as the latest WCHA Post-Graduate Scholarship winners," said Commissioner Bruce M. McLeod and Associate Commissioner Sara R. Martin in a joint statement. "These two outstanding student-athletes continue the tradition of excellence - both on and off the ice - established by our previous post-graduate scholarship recipients and without question they represent the very best of collegiate athletics.
"The WCHA is fortunate to have had Eli and Caitlin competing the past four seasons at Michigan Tech and St. Cloud State, respectively, and today we are joined by the entire Association membership in saluting their tremendous accomplishments. We all wish them nothing but the best in their future endeavors and there is no doubt both of them will achieve great success in their lifetimes."
An advocate of excellence both on and off the ice for student-athletes, the WCHA initially announced the annual men's and women's post-graduate scholarship program in April of 2003, with the first recipients named after the 2003-04 academic year. The WCHA Post-Graduate Scholarships are two grants of $10,000 each that are presented annually to a male and female student-athlete for post-graduate studies.
Vlaisavljevich (Shoreview, MN) was a four-year competitor and defenseman for the Michigan Tech Huskies who compiled a perfect 4.0 grade-point average while playing in 111 collegiate games (2006-10). He was named the WCHA Outstanding Student-Athlete of the Year as a senior in 2009-10 and is graduating from MTU this month with a Bachelor of Science degree and is a Biomedical Engineering major. He was named a WCHA Scholar-Athlete three times (2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10) and three times earned All-WCHA Academic Team honors. (To earn WCHA Scholar-Athlete acclaim, a member-team student-athlete must have completed at least one year of residency at their present institution prior to the current academic year and must have a grade-point average of at least 3.50 on a 4.0 scale for the previous two semesters or three quarters, or may qualify if his overall GPA is at least 3.50 for all terms at his present institution.)
He was also a candidate for a Rhodes Scholarship, has been awarded the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship, Michigan Tech's Provost Award for Scholarship, and earned ESPN the Magazine Academic All-American Second Team honors.
"Eli is the true example of a student-athlete," said MTU head coach Jamie Russell. "He had an amazing academic career at Michigan Tech and was a terrific ambassador for Michigan Tech hockey. As a player, Eli worked very hard and had a fantastic attitude. When faced with adversity, Eli always looked for the positives and did a lot to help the younger players in their development. His attitude toward service was phenomenal as he volunteered on many occasions at elementary schools and with junior hockey. He was an outstanding role model and a shining example of all that is good about collegiate athletics."
"My current plan is to attend graduate school in Biomedical Engineering to develop novel `adhesion activated` biomaterials to combat infection and fibrous encapsulation," said Vlaisavljevich. "I plan to design biomaterials that actively prevent local biofilm formation and aberrant cell behavior at tissue-biomaterial interfaces. To do this, I plan to develop polymer-condensed drug eluting constructs targeting dendritic cells and bacterial adhesins to prevent biofilm formation. I want to pursue this graduate work because it focuses many of the different aspects of my undergraduate research onto a clinically relevant problem. I am interested in similar work being done at the University of Washington as well as three other universities I am currently deciding between. I am confident this will prepare me for my goal of a career in the medical research field."
Vlaisavljevich was nominated for the WCHA Post-Graduate Scholarship by Michigan Tech Faculty Athletics Representative B. Patrick Joyce, who said "We've all had the experience of a student-athlete who definitely doesn't fit the boxes in which we have a penchant to place them. Eli is such a student-athlete. As his academic advisor states, his initial idea was to continue with hockey. But as happens to some, he became attracted by the academic side of attending Michigan Tech. The further he progressed the more his intellectual side led him into Biomedical Engineering, especially the biomaterials area.
"He helps in several elementary classrooms, is a mentor with the Michigan Tech Athletics Koaches Kids Program and volunteers with the Copper Country Junior Hockey Association. Eli also spends countless hours volunteering with the University's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). He is very active with them even though many of their scheduled activities coincide with our hockey games.
"He has a pleasant, externally oriented personality. He is genuinely a `people person` and I think he will be an excellent ambassador for the WCHA off the ice."
Dr. Rupak Rajachar, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Michigan Tech said of Eli, "I have known Eli for two years as his research mentor and course instructor. During that time I have come to fully appreciate how gifted he his in both the laboratory and in the classroom. He strives for excellence and possesses an unlimited ability to improve the quality of what he has to offer in the laboratory, in the classroom and to the greater community. He is by far the best undergraduate student I have ever worked with. He is the rare student that possesses a sharp intellect, an inexhaustible work ethic, and a disarming joy for life."
Hogan (Oakdale, MN), a senior forward and team captain who started all four years at St. Cloud State, owns a 3.74 undergraduate grade point average and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing this spring. She was named the Turfer WCHA Outstanding Student-Athlete of the Year in 2009-10, is a three-time WCHA Scholar-Athlete honoree and has three times been named to the All-WCHA Academic Team. She earned All-WCHA Third Team acclaim this past season while ranking third among the Huskies in scoring with 43 points (16g, 27a) while playing in all 37 games. Overall the past four seasons, Hogan competed in 149 collegiate games with 127 scoring points (50g, 77a).
"My plans are to attend a prestigious graduate school and pursue a Master's degree in Business Administration," said Hogan. "Furthering my education with a strong concentration on upper level graduate courses will aid in my success in the business marketing field and will make me a strong and more well-rounded person and employee. A Master's degree will show companies that I have the training and intelligence to help make their business successful.
"I also plan to keep my lifelong passion for sports in my life by working in the sports marketing industry. With a Master's degree I would be able to eventually work in the front office of a professional sports team and make a substantial impact on the business' future."
St. Cloud State women's head coach Jeff Giesen said, "Caitlin is an outstanding student-athlete and top performer on our team. A very strong leader both vocally and by example, she also serves the community in a variety of roles and is always willing to go above the regular demands of our team to reach success.
"Besides the fine hockey career Caitlin has put together," added Giesen, "she is an outstanding student and goes above and beyond the requirements of community service for our team. She is a very dedicated student and actually graduated in 3.5 years with a B.S. in business. Caitlin is of the highest character and her leadership has helped established a culture that will carry on for time to come."
SCSU Director of Athletics Dr. Morris Kurtz said of Hogan, "For the past four years Caitlin has exhibited the values of discipline, integrity, dedication and hard work both in the classroom and on the ice. She has set a standard of excellence that her fellow students and teammates admire and try to emulate. She has made invaluable academic and athletic contributions to the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, to our student-athletes, to our University and to our community."
Dr. Dennis Bristow, a Professor of Marketing at SCSU, said, "During the past two academic years I have had the opportunity to work with Caitlin on several levels. In the classroom, as evidenced by her GPA and through discussions with other professors, Caitlin has consistently proven her intrinsic motivation to learn and to understand the information and concepts presented. Her efforts have been reflected in her high level of performance and achievement in course works, classroom activities and real world experience. She has a keen intelligence, intellectual curiosity and a willingness to accept leadership roles and challenge herself."
Hogan was nominated for the WCHA Post-Graduate Scholarship by St. Cloud State Faculty Athletics Representative Dr. Bill Hudson.
History of the WCHA Post-Graduate Scholarship
The original announcement of the WCHA Post-Graduate Scholarship program, in 2003, was made jointly by P.J. Hill, then Chair of the Association and Faculty Representative from the University of Alaska Anchorage and WCHA Commissioner Bruce McLeod. In announcing the post-graduate scholarship program, Hill said, "This represents another positive step forward for the Western Collegiate Hockey Association in the area and recognition of academic achievement. We are extremely proud of the excellent reputation our member institutions have in both athletics and academics, and this new post-graduate scholarship program will only enhance that."
The first winners of the men's and women's WCHA's Post-Graduate Scholarship in 2003-04 were Mike Colgan of Colorado College and Michelle McAteer of the University of Minnesota Duluth.
Following is an outline of the WCHA's post-graduate scholarship program: Criteria: 1. the nominee must graduate by the end of the academic year (or by the end of the summer) and must have earned at least a 3.0 grade-point average. 2. the nominee must have competed in the WCHA for at least three years.
Nominating Process: A student-athlete must be nominated by the Faculty Athletics Representative. Nominations are due April 15th.
Selection Process: Scholarship recipients and alternates will be selected by a vote of an Association Committee composed of five Faculty Athletics Representatives. The Association selection committee(s) will review and make the final selections. The committee(s) may select one male and one female winner annually to receive the WCHA post-graduate scholarship, as well as an alternate for each scholarship. Selections will be made by the committee by May 15th.
Process Following Nomination and Selection: Following notification, the award winners have until July 1 to accept, in writing, the scholarship. Announcements will be made at the kick-off event at the student-athlete recipient's home venue the following fall.
The winners must enroll in graduate school within two years of graduation. Designated full-time enrollment (post-graduate degree hours) shall be required and verification from the program director must be presented to the Conference office before the award shall be presented. The scholarship money will be sent directly to the post-graduate institution.
WCHA Post-Graduate Scholarship Recipients
2003-04: Men's - Mike Colgan, Colorado College. Women's - Michelle McAteer, University of Minnesota Duluth.
2004-05: Men's - Reid Goolsby, Colorado College. Women's - Emma Laaksonen, The Ohio State University.
2005-06: Men's - Jake Brandt, University of North Dakota. Women's - Kelsey Bills, University of Minnesota.
2006-07: Men's - Ted O'Leary, University of Denver. Women's - Meghan Mutrie, University of North Dakota.
2007-08: Men's - Nate Raduns, St. Cloud State University. Women's - Denelle Maguet, St. Cloud State University.
2008-09: Men's - Andrew Thomas, University of Denver. Women's - Laura Fast, St. Cloud State University.
2009-10: Men's - Jake Gannon, Colorado College. Women's - Myriam Trepanier, University of Minnesota Duluth.
2010-11: Men's - Eli Vlaisavljevich, Michigan Technological University. Women's - Caitlin Hogan, St. Cloud State University.