June 8, 2012
Stillwater, Okla. — Chelsea Garcia, a senior on the Oklahoma State softball team this past season, and Mark Nelson, a senior on the Cowboy cross country and track & field team in 2011-12, have been selected to receive the 2011-12 Dr. Prentice Gautt Postgraduate Scholarships, the Big 12 Conference announced today.
The scholarships are named in honor of the late Dr Prentice Gautt, a former Big 12 Conference staff member and student services' pioneer who passed away in March 2005. The list of all-time recipients has grown to 293 since the inception of the league in 1996-97. Starting in 2002-03, additional funding increased scholarship award winners to two per members institution.
Garcia has excelled throughout her four years in a Cowgirl uniform, both on the field and in the classroom. She is a two-time Academic All-American, a three-time Academic All-Big 12 selection, and a three-time All-Big 12 Second Team selection on the diamond. Garcia is the third Cowgirl softball player to receive the prestigious scholarship, joining Jade Lindly (2004) and Megan Carey (2005). She will graduate in May of 2013 with degrees in secondary education/mathematics and Spanish.
Nelson competed as a distance runner for the track & field program and also ran on the cross country squad. He is a two-time Academic All-Big 12 selection in track and was named to the Academic All-Big 12 team in cross country in 2011. He is the fifth member of the Cowboy cross country/track & field team to receive the scholarship award, joining Jason Woolhouse (2004), James Lake (2005), Brian Ehlis (2008) and Alejandro Ruiz (2009). Nelson graduated from OSU with degrees in Russian language and literature, as well as aerospace and mechanical engineering.
To date, the Big 12 has provided over $2 million for postgraduate education. The individual grants began at $2,500 in 1996-97, were raised to $5,000 in 1999 and increased to $6,900 for 2004-05. The awards climbed to $7,500 in 2006-07 and moved to $9,000 in 2011-12.
Criteria for the awards includes a cumulative grade point average of 3.500 on a 4.000 scale, participation in at least two years of intercollegiate athletics at the nominee's respective institution and completion of athletics' eligibility. The student-athletes also must graduate from their respective member institutions within 15 months of their selection for a postgraduate scholarship and are expected to enroll in graduate/professional schools within two years of graduation. Three faculty representatives, one senior woman administrator and one director of athletics form the selection panel for the awards.