BRUNSWICK, Maine - 2013 Bowdoin College graduate Elena Crosley has been named as one of the top 30 honorees for the NCAA's Woman of the Year.
Crosley, who was the nominee of the New England Small College Athletic Conference, is one of just 10 Division III finalists among the group of 30. In September, three finalists from each division will be selected as the nine finalists for the award, which will be announced at an annual ceremony in Indianapolis on October 20.
The NCAA Woman of the Year Award honors graduating student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, service and leadership. The award has been given annually since 1991.
Crosley was a steady presence on the Polar Bear field hockey team's defensive unit, while excelling in the classroom and in the community. Graduating with a degree in mathematics and with a minor in biology, Crosley was recognized by Bowdoin's mathematics department numerous times throughout her four years in Brunswick.
A two-time NESCAC All-Academic selection, Crosley was also honored twice on the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) All-Academic Team. As a junior, she was chosen by the Bowdoin mathematics department to receive a complimentary membership in Association for Women in Mathematics. During her senior year, Crosley was chosen to receive complimentary membership in Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. She was recognized as a Gates Millennium Scholar and Nation Merit Hispanic Scholar each year from 2009 through 2013, and was a Fulbright Canada STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) 2013 award recipient. Beginning in the spring of 2012, Crosley was chosen to work on a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded research modeling project on the gulf of Maine fisheries. During summer of the same year, she was chosen to participate in a research experience for undergraduates funded by the NSF at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) working on modeling disease transmission patterns. Crosley will purse a Ph.D. in mathematics at Tufts University.
On the field, Crosley was a four-year letter-winner and two-year starter for the Polar Bears. She was a member of Bowdoin's NCAA Division III Field Hockey National Championship team in 2010 and helped the Polar Bears to NCAA semifinal and quarterfinal appearances in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Crosley also helped the Polar Bears to back-to-back NESCAC championship titles in 2010 and 2011. Following the conclusion of her senior season, Crosley was awarded the team's unsung hero award and earned a spot on the NESCAC All-Sportsmanship Team. In her two years as a starter on the Polar Bear defense, Bowdoin permitted just 30 goals in 40 games.
On campus, Crosley was a Safe Space trained support provider, which is a campus organization that works to support survivors of those affected by sexual violence. Crosley also worked as a calculus tutor and was a member of the Outing Club, which paved the way for her to be a pre-orientation trained trip leader at Bowdoin. She assisted with numerous campus initiatives including Girls and Women in Sports Day by helping introducing young girls to field hockey and Aspirations in Maine High School Visit Day, an opportunity for local high school students to visit campus and learn more about college life. Additionally, Crosley has also assisted with Habitat for Humanity, Special Olympics swim meets, and blood drives.
Throughout college, Crosley made a difference in elementary student's lives. In her first year at Bowdoin, she worked as a Blogging Buddies Mentor, reviewing and providing feedback to elementary students on their writing, and as a Book Buddies English as a Second Language tutor at Coffin Elementary School. As a senior, Crosley was a math classroom assistant at Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary School, working with one-on-one with third grade students that needed extra help mastering math concepts. During the summer of 2011, Crosley spent 10 weeks in Granada, Nicaragua as a Global Citizens Grant Recipient (a Bowdoin McKeen Center for the Common Good Grant). She volunteered in a local elementary school assisting with math and English, and also in a local, non-profit veterinary clinic. While in Nicaragua, Crosley spent one week on a World Vets service trip assisting veterinarians and helping translate for them and the locals.
Back in United States, Crosley has found time to volunteer in her hometown and in South Carolina. In her hometown of St. Louis she was a member of Team River Runner, introducing veterans to the basics of kayaking and in South Carolina, she worked to rebuild an oyster reef along Hunting Island.
"I plan to get a Ph.D. in mathematics and then continue working on disease modeling or climate change," said Crosley about her future. "Playing on a championship field hockey team, leading trips for Bowdoin's Outing Club, counseling campus survivors of sexual violence and volunteering in underprivileged areas of Central America, I've experienced the joy that comes from giving back. I'm grateful for the support and guidance I've had to follow my heart in finding my place in life. I'll never forget the work ethic and perseverance I was taught because they've brought me where I am today."