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Gerber Earns NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has awarded University of Minnesota, Morris student-athlete Maddy Gerber, of Mahtomedi, a Postgraduate Scholarship. Annually awarded to only 87 men and 87 women of the NCAA's 400,000 athletes, the scholarship honors students who excel athletically and academically, and demonstrate outstanding citizenship and service to others.

During Gerber's four-year Morris career, the biology and psychology major, and chemistry minor, maintained a 4.0 grade point average while playing four years of soccer. The three-time Upper Midwest Athletic Conference all-conference and four-time academic all-conference athlete scored a career total of 81 points.

Gerber says that participating in college athletics taught her the value of hard work, team play, and determination.

"These principles can get you very far in both athletics and academics," she says. "Working on a lab report with three other students is not unlike working with 10 teammates on the soccer field. In both cases, you must communicate well and work cooperatively toward a common goal."

Tracey Anderson, faculty athletic representative and associate professor of biology, has known Gerber since her first-year student days. Serving as her adviser, Anderson noticed early in Gerber's academic career that she possessed the characteristics necessary to be a strong candidate for the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship--discipline, organization, and knowledge.

"In particular, I became aware of Maddy's accomplishments and how well she was doing when she was a junior. We've been just waiting for her senior year, because we believed she had what it takes to earn a really competitive scholarship award."

Anderson's colleague, Timna Wyckoff, associate professor of biology, served as Gerber's research mentor. She's impressed with Gerber's ability to balance athletics and academics. As student/faculty partners, they conducted research on agricultural contributions to bacterial antibiotic resistance. The transition of one half of the nearby West Central Research and Outreach Center's dairy herd from conventional production to organic production allowed the researchers the opportunity to compare populations of bacteria in two different dairy environments.

"Maddy is the perfect combination as a student," Wyckoff says. "She is very intelligent, and she works so hard."

Gerber also participates in Biology Club and Science Sensations, a program for area elementary children.

Dan Magner, head women's soccer coach at Morris, notes that the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship is extremely competitive, and Gerber is very deserving of the honor. He says Gerber is a great example of an outstanding Morris student-athlete.

"That covers everything," he says, "her fitness, her studies, her focus in training, how she conducts herself in games. In 20-plus years of coaching, I've never coached anyone so well rounded."

Gerber will use her NCAA scholarship to study virology or gene therapy after Morris graduation. She has been admitted into microbiology doctorate programs at the Baylor College of Medicine, the University of Iowa, and Ohio State University and will soon make a decision as to where she will attend.