USC Soccer Player Amy Massey Wins NCAA Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship

April 23, 2009

LOS ANGELES–Amy Massey, a senior defender on the USC women’s soccer team who has excelled in the classroom and in public service, has been awarded the NCAA Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship worth nearly $50,000.

She is the first Trojan to win the scholarship since the program began in 1988.

One female and one male student-athlete are annually presented with the scholarship in recognition of outstanding academic achievement and potential for success in postgraduate study.  The NCAA states that a Byers Scholar “has combined the best elements of mind and body to achieve national distinction for his or her achievements, and promises to be a future leader in his or her chosen field of career service.”

The scholarship provides a $24,000 stipend for an academic year, renewable for a second year of postgraduate study.

Massey, a communications major at USC with a 3.97 grade point average, was a 2009 Rhodes Scholarship finalist.  She will pursue her master’s degree in forced migration at the University of Oxford in England next year, then will attend the Pepperdine School of Law the following year.

Massey transferred to USC as a junior in 2007 from Saint Mary’s and helped the Women of Troy win their first-ever NCAA championship that season.  In 2008, USC reached the NCAA third round.

At USC, Massey established a recycling program, collecting bottles to raise money for the nonprofit organization, Water Wells For Africa.  As a senior, her program raised $6,000 to build a new water well in rural Malawi, ensuring that villagers would have access to a clean, life-saving water source.  A classic car enthusiast, she also has hosted classic car shows to raise money for Water Wells for Africa.

“I’m really honored and blessed to receive this scholarship and the opportunity that comes with it,” said Massey. “Through my studies at Oxford and Pepperdine, I hope to become involved in international human rights law.  After having traveled to Malawi and seen the conditions there, I want to do something that makes a positive impact globally.  I’m looking forward to working hard in school and then helping people.

“I’m very thankful to all those who supported me and helped me get this award, including my family, my professors and the USC athletic department.  So much of this has been because of my being at USC and the support I received there.”

Massey was named the USC athletic department’s Female Trojan of the Year in both 2007 and 2008.  She received the 2009 Tom Harmon Memorial Scholarship from the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Association.

She prepped at Mira Costa High in Manhattan Beach, Calif., where she was valedictorian, captain of the soccer team and editor of the school newspaper.

This year’s male recipient of the Walter Byers Scholarship is Craig Sheedy, a diver from Arizona.  This is the first time the Pac-10 has had both the female and male recipients in the same year.

The Walter Byers award is named after the former NCAA executive director.  Recipients of the award must have a 3.5 GPA, demonstrate evidence of superior character and leadership and show that participation in athletics has been a positive influence on their personal and intellectual development.

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