Dec. 7, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, FL – Former Florida State women’s tennis standout Ania Rynarzewska was honored as one of the first recipients of the NCAA Jim McKay Scholarship. According to the NCAA, the scholarship recognizes those student athletes who demonstrate “outstanding academic achievement and potential to make a major contribution in the sports communication industry”.
“I was chosen among many excellent students and great athletes,” Rynarzewska stated about her competition. “I’m sure there were plenty of others who are deserving of this as well as I. So being chosen by the committee to receive it is beyond my imagination.”
Rynarzewska was chosen from a pool of national applicants who were first nominated by their respective universities. A committee then selected one male and one female student athlete to receive $10,000 to be used in their graduate or doctorial studies. Central Michigan University football player Brian Brunner was this year’s male recipient of the award.
“What a tremendous honor it is for Florida State to be home to one of the two student athletes in the country who were the inaugural recipients of this award,” stated Dean of Undergraduate Studies Karen Laughlin. “With her outstanding academic record, as well as her dedication to campus and community service, Ania represents all that is best about our student athletes.”
Rynarzewska, a native of Inowroclaw, Poland, was named to the Atlantic Coast Conference honor roll and the All-Academic ACC team during her career at Florida State. On the court, she played in both doubles and singles competitions and helped lead the Seminoles to the second round of the NCAA tournament last season.
“Ania is such a focused student-athlete and this is a very deserving award for her efforts at Florida State,” said Director of Athletic Academic Support Services, Bill Shults. “How many student-athletes would attempt 18 credits of graduate coursework while competing in their busy sport season on a team that advanced to the finals of the NCAA tournament? She is a very dedicated and hard working individual.”
This fall Rynarzewska began work towards a doctoral degree in mass communications and marketing, after receiving her Masters’ in Communication from Florida State. She also attended FSU as an undergraduate student and earned a Bachelors of Science in Public Relations.
“First I came to FSU because the people made me feel welcome,” explained Rynarzewska. “But besides my team, the coaches and the whole athletics side of FSU being so great to me was that I could develop as a person.”
Rynarzewska had no hesitation about staying at Florida State to complete her doctoral work.
“The Communications Department became my new family and they took care of me in a way that they guided me through my studies. The faculty has great knowledge and experience in the field I am interested in. They are also part of my family now and I didn’t want to leave my family behind. I left one in Poland so I don’t see why I should leave mine in America!”
Rynarzewska plans to become a professor upon completion of her degree. She admits the Jim McKay Scholarship will ease the stress of the financial burdens as she pursues her dream of becoming a teacher.
“It will help a lot,” explains Rynarzewska. “Because the money I can spend on books, I can spend on room and board so there is definitely one less problem to worry about. I can focus more on my schoolwork rather than trying to get an additional on-campus job.”
The Jim McKay Scholarship was established in 2008 by the NCAA to recognize the work and legacy of sports journalist Jim McKay.