KENNESAW, Ga. – A total of 13 Kennesaw State University student-athletes were chosen as Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars by Diverse: Issues In Higher Education magazine for their outstanding success in academics and athletics.
Bri Becerra, Jasmine Brown, Brea Dickey, Kameron Downs, Jordan Hewing, Malik Hussie, Amani Johnson, William Nana Fabu, Kyarra Newton, Terence Norman, Carson Pearson, Sisely Vongphasouk and Raleigh Williams were the recipients.
Junior Bri Becerra maintains a 3.97 GPA as a nursing major while playing in every single set over the past three seasons as a defensive specialist for the Owl volleyball team. The Peachtree City, Ga. native has racked up 284 digs in her career while adding 71 assists and 62 aces, including breaking the three-set single-game record at KSU with six aces against UNA in 2019.
Brown, a biology major, has maintained a 3.75 GPA throughout her time at KSU appearing in 44 matches for the volleyball team over two seasons. A local out of Powder Springs, Ga., Brown has accumulated 94 career blocks, 87 alone in 2019 to rank seventh in KSU single-season history, while hitting .278 for 240 total kills.
Dickey maintained a 3.92 GPA while earning her second degree in health and physical education. In her three years at KSU, she played 132 games, making 122 starts in left field, scoring 82 runs on 135 hits, logging 24 doubles, eight triples, eight home runs and 56 RBI. She was named to the 2021 NFCA Division I all-region second team, ASUN all-conference first team and ASUN All-Academic Team.
Downs carried a perfect 4.0 GPA and helped lead the Owls to the ASUN Conference tournament finale. The biochemistry major made five starts over 16 matches with a goal and an assist. The senior forward totaled 703 minutes.
Hewing was on the Owls’ 4x100m relay team that set the school record in a time 39.97 seconds at the UNF Invite. He won the gold medal in the 4x100m relay at the ASUN Outdoor Championships. He graduated in May with a 3.59 GPA in information systems.
Hussie won four medals at this year’s ASUN Conference Championships. The sophomore was on the Owls’ 4x400m relay team that set the outdoor school record in a time of 3:10.18 at the UNF Invite. He carries a 3.65 GPA in international business and was named to the ASUN Men’s Outdoor All-Academic team.
Johnson has established herself as a leader in all facets of life. A captain of the women’s basketball team since her freshman year, the point guard was also elected as Kennesaw State’s SGA President in April after a memorable 2020-21 campaign. The rising senior assisted her 330th career assist on February 4 against Young Harris College to coronate herself as the most prolific playmaker in KSU women’s basketball Division I history.
Nana Fabu sported a 3.60 GPA as a cybersecurity major and starting offensive lineman. The rising senior was also named to the Big South Conference’s All-Academic team and second-team all-conference after making four starts in the spring season and playing 247 snaps at center.
Newton finished third in the pentathlon at the Samford Multi Invite and sixth in the heptathlon at the ASUN Outdoor Championship. She holds a 4.0 GPA in exercise science.
Norman collected a Master of international policy management while solidifying his legacy as one of the most all-around hitters in Kennesaw State baseball history in the 2021 season. The ASUN Conference awarded Norman with a place in its 2021 preseason all-conference team, with the fifth-year player following through with a eight-home run, 41-RBI season. The right fielder ends his college career in the KSU record books, sporting the fifth-most hits, the ninth-most home runs and the ninth-most games played during the team’s time in Division I.
Majoring in exercise science, Pearson has maintained a 3.75 GPA over the last three years. With 26 games played for the KSU lacrosse team, Pearson started 14 of 15 games in 2021 along the Owls’ defensive backline. She broke out this past season accumulating 10 ground balls and eight caused turnovers.
A 2021 senior on the KSU lacrosse team, Vongphasouk graduated with a 3.87 GPA as a management major. Originally from Rockford, Mich., she finished her career with 16 games played, earning four starts. Vongphasouk tallied three goals and two assists for KSU while scooping up three ground balls and causing two turnovers.
Williams maintained a 3.84 GPA while earning her degree in marketing. She saw action in 127 games with 76 starts over four years at KSU. She finished her tenure scoring 29 runs on 51 hits, logging nine doubles, two triples, four home runs and 24 RBI.
The Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sports Scholar Awards were established to honor minority undergraduate students who best exemplify academic and athletic achievement. To be included, students have to compete in an intercollegiate sport, maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or more, be at least a sophomore, academically, and be active on their campuses or in their communities.
Inspired by tennis legend Arthur Ashe, Jr.’s commitment to education as well as his love for the game of tennis, U.S. colleges and universities are invited to participate in this annual awards program by nominating their outstanding sports scholars. In addition to their athletic ability and academic performance, Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars demonstrate a commitment to community service and student leadership.