May 15, 2014
ROSEMONT, Ill. - The Big Ten Conference office announced its annual postgraduate scholarship recipients on Thursday, a list which includes Michigan State swimmer Jacob Jarzen (Jacksonville, Ill.) and volleyball captain Kristen Kelsay (Wheaton, Ill.). Two student-athletes from each of the 12 Big Ten institutions who plan to continue their education at a graduate degree program were awarded a $7,500 scholarship, based on primarily academic achievements.
Among the elite collegiate swimmers in the nation during his career from 2009-13, Jarzen is one of the most accomplished swimmers in Michigan State history, holding six individual school records. He also was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and earned the Big Ten Conference Medal of Honor in 2013.
A three-time Michigan State Swimmer of the Year, Jarzen was one of only 30 NCAA invitees who competed in the maximum of three events at the 2013 NCAA Championships (100 butterfly, 100 and 200 backstroke).
Jarzen broke his own school record in the 100 butterfly at the 2013 Big Ten Championships, turning in a time of 46.08 in the finals. The two-time CSCAA honorable mention All-American also owns school records in the 100 freestyle (43.70), 200 freestyle (1:35.73), 100 backstroke (46.68), 200 backstroke (1:42.19) and 200 individual medley (1:46.60). In addition, he was a member of the school-record 200 medley and 400 freestyle relay teams.
A four-time NCAA Championships qualifier, Jarzen was the first Spartan to earn Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors in 2010.
Jarzen, who was named to the 2012 Scholar All-America Team by the Collegiate Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA), graduated in December 2013 with a 3.54 grade-point average in human biology. He will continue his education at the Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine.
Kelsay wrapped an impressive collegiate career with a standout senior season that saw her recognized not only for her play on the court, but also her work in the classroom and the community. A three-year captain of the volleyball team, Kelsay helped lead MSU to three consecutive NCAA Tournaments and back-to-back NCAA Sweet 16 appearances in the most difficult volleyball conference in the country. She finished her career ranked eighth all-time at MSU in career matches played (133), fourth in career sets (473), and sixth in assists (3,040). In addition, she twice was honored with the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award and most recently was named the Detroit Athletic Club Female College Athlete of the Year.
Kelsay will pursue a Master of Science in Kinesiology at Michigan State, focusing on the psychosocial aspect of sport and physical activity. While in school, she will also work as a graduate assistant with MSU's Student-Athlete Support Services. A psychology major as an undergraduate and member of the MSU honors college, Kelsay earned Academic All-America honors as a senior, in addition to being a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection as well as a two-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar. She boasted the team's top cumulative GPA in three of her four years, making the Dean's List every semester and compiling a perfect 4.0 GPA in four semesters. She was recognized as the Harold & Raynor Shnider Office of the Provost Award (which honors academic performance, community involvement and leadership ability), and most recently earned MSU's prestigious Gwendolyn Norrell Community Service and Leadership Award at MSU's Academic Gala in April. She was one of nine students who were profiled in the 2014 Michigan State University President's Report, and was also featured in the "Faces of the Big Ten" commercial campaign.
The president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC), she attended the 2013 NCAA leadership forum in addition to completing a mission trip to Africa in the summer. She participated in community outreach events like the Student-Athlete Food Drive, Family Fun Nights at local elementary schools, Chuck-a-Puck events to raise money for children's cancer research, adopting a needy family at the holidays, and many others.
Each Big Ten institution developed its own on-campus selection process when awarding the scholarship. Student-athletes must have maintained at least a 3.2 grade-point-average, demonstrated leadership qualities, served as an excellent role model and intended to continue their academic work beyond their baccalaureate degree at a graduate degree program.
The scholarship will be used to pay expenses of the student's postgraduate education to include such related activities as research and teaching, as well as other expenses such as tuition, fees, room and board, required course-related supplies and books. In order to retain the scholarship, the recipient must be accepted into a full-time graduate degree program within three years from the fall semester after selection.
The complete list of 2013-14 Big Ten Postgraduate Scholarship recipients can be found at bigten.org.