Senior women's basketball standout will continue education at DePaul University in Chicago
Senior Kyla Evans of the Eastern Washington University women's basketball squad has had her sights set on graduate school for quite some time.
She completed her undergraduate degree in communication studies from EWU in just three years, and was then enrolled in business classes while competing in her final season for the red and white. Her dedication and commitment to academics, as well as her contributions on the court and throughout campus, were recently recognized by National Collegiate Athletic Association.
Evans, a native of Brewster, Wash., was one of 29 female student-athletes among all Division I, II and III schools in the nation to receive a $7,500 grant to be used toward completion of an advanced degree.
"I am so happy and grateful to receive this scholarship," said Evans. "It is such a blessing."
Evans plans to use the scholarship at DePaul University in Chicago, Ill., where she will study nonprofit management.
The NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship was created to promote and encourage postgraduate education by rewarding the association's most accomplished student-athletes through their participation in NCAA sports. Athletics and academic achievements, as well as campus involvement, community service, volunteer activities and demonstrated leadership, are evaluated.
To be eligible, a student-athlete must be in their final season of NCAA athletics eligibility, have an overall undergraduate minimum GPA of 3.20 and must have performed with distinction as a member of a varsity team.
Evans graduated summa cum laude from the EWU honors program in 2010 with a 3.97 GPA. She is a four-time Big Sky All-Academic honoree, and was twice selected to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District VIII team. She currently serves as the president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, and in 2009, she represented Eastern at the NCAA National Student-Athlete Development Conference in Orlando, Fla.
A four-year letterwinner and two-year team captain, Evans also excelled on the basketball court. She holds the EWU all-time career record for three-point field goals made with 203. She also owns the fifth, sixth and seventh-best single-season performances in school history. She was selected as a member of the All-Big Sky second team in 2010 - the same year Eastern won its first-ever Big Sky regular-season title with an impressive 12-4 league record.
"We could not be more proud of Kyla and all of her academic and athletic accomplishments," said EWU Athletic Director Bill Chaves. "This recognition by the NCAA is a culmination of all of her efforts. What an amazing honor for Kyla and for our University."
Evans is believed to be only the second Eastern student-athlete ever to receive the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.
Steve Mattson, a defensive end for the EWU football team from 1994-97, also received the prestigious grant from the NCAA. Mattson attended medical school at the University of Virginia, followed by a residency in anesthesiology at the University of Washington. He currently works as an anesthesiologist at Tacoma General Hospital in Tacoma, Wash.
Nominations for the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship are initially reviewed by seven regional selection committees. Student-athletes from the state of Washington are part of Region 7, which also includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming. The regional selection committees forward finalists to the Postgraduate Scholarship Committee for further review. The Postgraduate Scholarship Committee then selects 29 male awardees and five alternates, and 29 female awardees and five alternates each sports season (fall, winter, spring).
Evans was one of only four women's basketball players honored for the winter season, and one of only four selected from Region 7.