May 14, 2014
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern seniors Natalie Lagunas and La'Terria Taylor were recently awarded the NCAA's Ethnic Minority and Women's Enhancement Postgraduate Scholarship for Careers in Athletics. Lagunas, who was a four-year member of the Northwestern women's soccer team, will utilize the scholarship towards law school while Taylor, a captain on the NU women's basketball team, will pursue her M.S. in Management Studies through the Russell Fellows Program, which is part of Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management.
The goal of the NCAA scholarship program is to increase the pool of and opportunities for qualified minority and female candidates in intercollegiate athletics through postgraduate scholarships. Lagunas and Taylor represent two of the 26 recipients of the prestigious scholarship.
Lagunas, a native of Canyon, Country, Calif., will enroll in law school at Pepperdine University in the fall of 2014. While she does not have a specific focus of what type of law she would like to practice, her goal is to find a way to continue to stay involved in athletics.
"Sports have always been a part of my life," Lagunas said. "Sports and education have given me opportunities my family and I could have never imagined and I aspire to keep sports in my life since I have finished my career as a student-athlete at Northwestern."
Lagunas is the first member of her family to attend college and will be the first to graduate, as she will receive a bachelor's degree in English in June. With this momentous occasion, Lagunas said around 10 family members will gather in Evanston for her graduation and many more friends and family will be there in spirit.
"Graduating from Northwestern will be the culmination of all the hard work both my family and I have put into making this dream come true," Lagunas said. "When I was a little girl I always knew I wanted to go to college, but I never imagined how wonderful and rewarding this experience would be for me.
"I am blessed to have been able to play Division I athletics and I can not even express the immense pride and joy I will feel when I walk on graduation day. Graduating with my bachelors' degree from Northwestern and continuing to one day achieve a Juris Doctor will all be in honor of the hard work and time my family has put into giving me these opportunities. I could not be more proud of where I come from and how much my family has achieved."
Taylor, who is a Chicago native, will stick around Evanston as she enrolls in the Russell Fellows Program. This one-year Master's of Science in Management Studies through Kellogg allows undergraduate students completing their bachelor's degree in the current year to continue their education right after graduation and receive a comprehensive management foundation for entry-level jobs. Taylor also has aspirations to pursue a career in sports management or marketing or has interest in a management role within the music industry.
According to Taylor, her dream job would be to start her own organization dedicated to helping youth in underserved areas of Chicago become more aware of their options after high school for success, with a focus on sports and music. Taylor is currently giving back to the community, thousands of miles away from Evanston, as she is spending her final quarter in South Africa through NU's International Program Development department.
Taylor participates in weekly service learning programming and is taking four classes at Stellenbosch University. For her service learning, she was placed at Prochorus, a community development organization designed to address the gaps in education amongst South African children due to the Apartheid era.
Taylor is grateful for the opportunity to continue her education and pursue her dream job with the scholarship opportunity.
"Receiving the NCAA Ethnic Minority and Women's Enhancement Postgraduate scholarship means so much," Taylor said. "It was already a great honor to be accepted into Kellogg's Russell Fellows Program, but graduate school is often so loan heavy that this scholarship definitely helps make this program less intimidating financially.
"This scholarship also extends beyond the finances, because it awarded me based not only on my academic and athletic accomplishments at Northwestern, but it also capitalized on the importance of women and ethnic minorities in the sports industry. I loved what this scholarship stood for and it will also be a great stepping-stone towards a potential career in sports."
More information on the NCAA Ethnic Minority and Women' Enhancement Postgraduate Scholarship program can be found with this link.
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