Last updateWed, 19 Feb 2020 2pm


University Celebrates Women in Leadership

University Celebrates Women Leadership 1The University celebrated its 23rd annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD) in Wilson Hall, last Friday, Jan. 25.

The weekend is a series of events brought together Monmouth student-athletes, coaches, and administrators, along with members of the community.

National Girls and Women in Sports Day was first celebrated in 1987 in order to unite athletes and bring attention to the success of girls’ and women’s sports.

The University’s Athletic Director, Marilyn McNeil, Ph.D., recognizes the importance of celebrating women in sports. 

“We must remind our athletes that there is still work to do to reach equality, but also encourage girls and women to celebrate their opportunity to participate,” said McNeil. “Also, to encourage our young girls and women about the benefits of sports participation and how it all translates in a positive manner to the working world.”

The athletic department awards one female student athlete with the New Jersey Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (NJAIAW) Woman of the Year Award. 

Each of the 12 women’s sports teams nominates an athlete for the award, based on their athletics, academics, sportsmanship, and involvement in the campus community. 

Jessica Johnson of Women’s Soccer was awarded the NJAIAW Woman of the Year Award during halftime of the Women’s Basketball game against Niagara on Saturday. 

University Celebrates Women Leadership 2This is not the first award that Johnson has won for her athletic accomplishments, being named to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) All-Conference teams and the 2018 United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division I Women’s Scholar All-East Region First-Team. However, this award is about more than just soccer.

“I don’t do most of the things I do for the recognition because most of the things I do aren’t for me, they’re for others,” said Johnson. “I volunteer because I’ve been fortunate enough in my life and I want to be able to make others’ lives easier.”

“I work hard at what I do, and winning this award just reassures me that my work is recognized.”

Johnson is a social work student and is on the executive board of Monmouth’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee (MSAAC) where she is the Off-Campus Activities Director. She loves volunteering within the community. Her favorite experience so far is volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters. 

“I love to see how the Bigs act and communicate with their Littles and then seeing how happy the Littles are,” said Johnson. “...It’s seeing the happiness on the kid’s faces that make it an amazing experience.

Last year, the Woman of the Year Award was given to Miranda Konstandtinides of Women’s Soccer. A soccer standout, nursing student, and president of MSAAC, Konstandtinides left a legacy behind at Monmouth. 

“Miranda is an amazing role model for me,” said Johnson. “She handled so much so well and if I can fill her shoes in any way, then I’m honored.”

The University also celebrates by honoring a member of the community and a Monmouth student-athlete alum with the Rebecca Stafford Leadership Award.

The award is named after Rebecca Stafford, Ph.D, for her efforts in gender equality while President of the University. It is given to an individual that has been a role model in stepping up for girls and women.  

This year, the Rebecca Stafford Leadership award was given to Christie Jallick Bevacqua, ‘93, a Monmouth Women’s Tennis alum. Bevacqua is currently the Deputy First Assistant Prosecutor in Middlesex County. 

All of the female student-athlete nominees, coaches, administrators, and community members were present for Monmouth’s Women’s Leadership Luncheon. The audience heard from keynote speaker Bevacqua as well as Desdemona Dalia, Phaidra Knight, and Nancy A. Leidersdorff. 

Johnson appreciated hearing from the Women’s Leadership Panel and said that it put the struggles of college and athletics into perspective. 

“They may not seem like much now, but in a few years when I look back, I will be so thankful for everything I’m currently going through and experiencing,” said Johnson. 

“I’ve only just begun my process of hopefully becoming as accomplished as these women are.”

NGWSD is celebrated to show no only how far women’s sports have come, but also the potential that they have to grow. It shows girls and women that there is a place for them in the world of sports. 

“I’ve worked extremely hard for everything I’ve earned at school...From here I just have to continue to outwork myself because my biggest competition is my mind,” said Johnson. “If I can conquer my mind, I’ll be able to become the athlete and the person I’m meant to be.”

PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth University

Contact Information

The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
Room 260, 2nd floor

The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151