Masthay, Jessica Ortman Named Kentucky Nominees for McWhorter Post-Graduate Scholarship

March 26, 2009

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Football player Tim Masthay and track & field/cross country athlete Jessica Ortman have been nominated by the University of Kentucky for the H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Post-Graduate Scholarship.

The H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Post-Graduate Scholarship has been presented by the Southeastern Conference since 1986 to the league's top male and female scholar-athletes.

The Southeastern Conference will name the 2009 recipients of the H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Post-Graduate Scholarship on April 6 in conjunction with National Student-Athlete Day.

Masthay, a senior from Murray, Ky., has a 3.82 grade point average, majoring in Economics. He is a four-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll, a two-time member of the UK Athletic Director's Honor Roll as well as the Dean's List. He was named first-team CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America in 2008 and a second-team member in 2007.

In addition, he was a recipient of the Liberty Bowl Scholar-Athlete Award in 2008 and a semi-finalist for the Draddy Award, given by the National Football Foundation to the outstanding college football scholar-athlete.

A punter/placekicker on the Wildcats, Masthay was a first-team All-SEC pick by AP and the league's coaches in 2008 and an honorable mention All-America selection. He was named UK's Special Teams Player of the Year in 2007 and 2008. He holds the school record for most career games played (50).

Masthay was a four-year member of the UK Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and has participated in a wide variety of community service activities. He was a finalist for the Danny Wuerffel Award and the Lowe's Senior Class Award. He was an inductee into the UK Frank G. Ham Society of Character and named a member of the American Football Coaches Association Allstate Good Works Team for community service.

Ortman, a senior from Williamsville, N.Y., has a 3.50 grade point average, majoring in corporate communications. She is a member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll and the Dean's List at UK. She earned USTFCCCA All-Academic Team honors for cross country and track.

Prior to attending Kentucky, Ortman attended the State University of New York at Albany, where she was a two-time America East Conference Indoor Track & Field Scholar-Athlete of the Year as well as a three-time America East All-Academic Team member.

A distance runner, Ortman is ranked in UK's all-time Top 10 list in the 800 meters, mile run, distance medley relay and the 3000 meter steeplechase. She was ranked UK's top cross country runner in each meet of the 2008 season. She was a qualifier for the 2008 NCAA Championships and a three-time NCAA Regional qualifier. In 2007, she was the America East Conference Athlete of the Year.

Ortman was inducted into the UK Frank G. Ham Society of Character earlier this year. She created a comprehensive, campus public relations campaign for organ and tissue donation. At Albany, she was a student recruiter and a campus ambassador as well as visiting schools, reading to children, and volunteering with Special Olympics and the Salvation Army.

The SEC Office will be releasing each of its institution's nominees periodically until the April 6 winners are announced. The schedule is as follows:

Alabama – Michael Jung, Tennis (Male) / Brittany Rogers, Softball (Female)
Arkansas – Blake Strode, Tennis (Male) / Aurelija Miseviciute, Tennis (Female)
Auburn – Glenn Northcutt, Golf (Male) / Allison Whitworth, Soccer (Female)
Florida – Eugene Martin, Track & Field (Male) / Kelsey Bowers, Volleyball (Female)
Georgia – Kit French, Swimming (Male) / Courtney Kupets, Gymnastics (Female)
Kentucky – Tim Masthay, Football (Male) / Jessica Ortman, Track & Field/Cross Country (Female)
LSU – March 26
Ole Miss – March 27
Miss. State – March 30
South Carolina – March 31
Tennessee – April 1
Vanderbilt – April 2
Brad Davis Community Service Award – April 3

National Student-Athlete Day was created in 1987 by the National Consortium for Academics and Sports (NCAS) and Northeastern University's Center for the Study of Sport in Society, and presented by the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) and the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).

National Student-Athlete Day is held each April 6 to celebrate outstanding student-athletes who have achieved excellence in academics and athletics while having made significant contributions to the community. It is also a time to recognize those parents, teachers, coaches and school systems which make it possible for young people to find the balance between academics and athletics.

Each year, the SEC, in conjunction with AT&T, an SEC Corporate Champion sponsor, and the Allstate Sugar Bowl, provides the league's male and female McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Post-Graduate Scholarship recipients with a $10,000 post-graduate scholarship. The 22 remaining male and female finalists for the award will also receive a $5,000 post-graduate scholarship. The award recipients are chosen by a committee of Faculty Athletics Representatives from the 12 SEC institutions and are honored at the SEC Spring Meetings in Sandestin, Fla. on May 28.

Last year's recipients were Alabama golfer Joseph Sykora and Auburn swimmer Kristen Hastrup.

Student-Athlete Q&A

Tim Masthay

1-What does being nominated for the McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Award mean to you?

The nomination signifies that a member(s) of the University of Kentucky faculty/staff/administration  found the work I have put in during my time at UK worthy of such a prestigious award and I feel nothing short of gratified.  Furthermore, I have had the wonderful opportunity to be a member of the Southeastern Conference community for 4 years and at any point when I see my name associated with this truly awesome conference I am humbled and grateful.

2 - What are your favorite classes and why?

Economic Development, Monetary Economics, Law and Economics, Management, and Public Speaking make up my top five list of courses I have taken during my time in college.  For the three economics courses my professors brought expertise, vast experience, and excitement to the classroom.  Additionally, those three courses consisted of many bright students.   Combine an interesting topic, an energetic, highly qualified professor, and talented students and I love the class!  My professors in Public Speaking and Management also brought energy and expertise to the classroom, but I think the leadership skills and communication skills they imparted push these courses into my favorite classes list.

3 - What does it mean to compete as a student-athlete of your institution?

No way around it, I love the University of Kentucky!!!   I've called Kentucky home for the past 13 years and nothing has been a better experience than representing this home of mine by wearing the blue and white.   I can't imagine a more professional or more caring coaching staff and administration and playing for them too has been something I will never forget.  Nor will I forget the relationships I have had the good fortune of building while on campus.

4 - What would you tell an incoming student at your institution on how to succeed in college?

Prioritize and Persevere!  Students and student athletes have a lot demanded of them while in school, but we also have a fair of amount of free time.  Learning to utilize that free time efficiently and effectively while also making sure to be mindful of not “burning out” will go a long way for any student at UK.    Furthermore, everybody hits bumps in the road.  Continuing over those bumps and learning from the process can be difficult.  But you can do it, and many of your fellow classmates, teachers, and friends can help you in that process!

5 - What's the best part of the day?

Waking up.  There's nothing like the stillness of the morning and the prospect of a new day ahead.

6 - Plans for post-graduate education?

I have a strong interest in attending the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at UK either before or soon after serving in the Peace Corps.   I want to make a positive difference in the world, serving people and my country and while these goals may sound very broad and general I believe the Patterson School can help me pinpoint more specific interests and give me skills and understanding to be a more effective citizen and worker.

Jessica Ortman

1 - What does being nominated for the McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Award mean to you?

Being nominated for the McWhorter Scholar athlete is an extreme honor and testament to the hours of dedication, challenge and success I have achieved over my collegiate career.  It brings me great pride to be a representative for the University of Kentucky's Women's sport teams and academic program.   Nomination for this award represents a level of excellence I am still striving to achieve as I complete my final semester as an undergraduate student-athlete.

2 - What are your favorite classes and why?

My favorite classes are the ones that challenge me and provide relevance to the real world.  As a communications major, I find many of my communication classes analyzing interactions among people and between social and class structures.  The research and application of these studies is imperative in "the real world" because it helps one understand, establish and evaluate relationships and communication amongst peers.

3 - What does it mean to compete as a student-athlete of your institution?

Wearing blue and white is the highest honor. Transferring to UK to pursue academic and athletic challenges, Kentucky has provided me a wealth of competitive opportunities in the classroom and on the track.  With a nationally accredited communication program and rich history of sporting success, being a student athlete at Kentucky means living the dream while preparing to accomplish many more in the future.

4 - What would you tell an incoming student at your institution on how to succeed in college?

Stay focused, set goals and persist.  College is difficult but can be navigated through successfully by applying yourself.  The University of Kentucky is a prestigious institution and having a degree from this instruction makes your commitment during your career well worth the effort; especially when moving on professionally.

5 - What's the best part of the day?

The best part of my day begins the moment I step on campus.  I wake up in the morning excited to go to school, learn new information and challenge myself in practice.  I love the social encounters I have throughout my day and enjoy finishing my day with a high quality workout!

6 - Plans for post-graduate education?

I am perusing a number of immediate careers to help me determine my graduate path.  Presently, I am in the final stage of selection to Teach For America and pending acceptance plan to teach and return to school to complete a Masters in secondary education.  I am also interviewing for a number of sale/marketing positions and have entertained the idea of completing graduate work in Business Communication and Marketing.