MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University Department of Athletics has announced the 2022-23 team of scholar-athletes. Student-athletes are nominated by a Northern Michigan University faculty member and chosen by the Athletic Council.

Starting in the 2017-18 school year, one male and one female athlete are awarded Scholar-Athlete of the Month. These athletes will be honored at halftime during the home lacrosse game on Friday, April 21.

Charlie Gerhard (Football), nominated by Dr. Kia Jane Richardson.

“Charles was in my EN 304 (Teaching of the English Language) class last semester and is currently taking my EN 345 (Teaching of Literature) course this term. He comes to classes prepared and ready to share ideas with peers. His writing is excellent, and he gave a wonderful presentation on using Marxist literary theory to analyze contemporary African American poetry. In that presentation, Charles included some great discussion questions that engaged the class in meaningful dialogue about Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise.” Moreover, he supports his classmates and often encourages them with constructive comments. Charles is growing as a methods student, demonstrating professional behaviors and content knowledge that will serve him well as a secondary English teacher. I believe he is deserving of recognition as Student-Athlete of the Month!”

Brooke Pietila (Women’s Soccer), nominated by Roxin Zhang.

“Brooke is a starter player on every match of the NMU Women’s Soccer team and is an outstanding student in DATA109 class. Her excellent academic performance kept her on the very top rank of the two sections of the DATA109 class with 70 students. Broke finished all homework on time with a total of 98.3% score and maintained very impressive scores of 100% on all three tests so far, as well as 100% on the midterm exam. Brooke’s excellent “A” scores in the class are reflections of her tireless effort of studying and trying to understand the materials in between the busy schedules of soccer practices, games, and travels. Even with all these, she is still a frequent office-hour visitor, discussing topics on deeper levels.”

Jackson Dudek (Men’s Basketball), nominated by Weronika Kusek.

“Jackson is a student in my Human Geography class this semester. He is one of 80 students and he clearly stands out in my classroom for all good reasons. He arrives in the classroom on time. He is polite and respectful. He is always engaged and participates in class discussions. He shows interest in the course materials and he takes the time to chat after class. In addition to being a good student and an athlete, Jackson volunteers in the community. I believe he was helping at the Marquette Marathon this fall.”

Madeline Crowley (Volleyball), nominated by Lori Nelson.

“Maddie Crowley is a senior in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences. She has shown excellence in her work in this major. She has a 3.96 GPA. A vibrant member of the volleyball team, Maddie has shown professionalism and consistently strong performance academically. She is mature and responsible in terms of coursework assignments and meeting deadlines. Maddie has excellent interpersonal skills which will assist her academic skills in achieving success in her chosen field. Maddie will be applying to graduate programs in speech-language pathology this year and has a strong future in her chosen career.”

Rico DiMatteo (Men’s Hockey), nominated by Amber LaCrosse.

“Rico is in 3 of my courses this semester and he is far set apart from his sport and non-sport classmates. He never misses a class, two 8 AMs, and he has excelled in my toughest course- PSY250, Brain and Behavior. I have even mentioned starting him in my lab because he is so diligent and attentive in all courses. This is rare from my experiences with males in sports so I highly recommend that he get a job well done for setting a great example for his current and future sports peers.”

Makaylee Kuhn (Women’s Basketball), nominated by Suzy Ziegler.

“Makaylee Kuhn is outstanding as a student and as an athlete. On the basketball court, she is a frequent top scorer and double-double earner and is a supportive team player. Off the court, she is gracious and polite, and she communicates well. As Makaylee wraps up her senior year,
she is also a 4.0 student in a rigorous, lab-focused Environmental Science major with a Natural Resources concentration and a Sustainability minor. For her senior capstone project, Makaylee is blending her sports and environmental interests to highlight ways that NMU Athletics can become more environmentally friendly, and thereby help NMU reach sustainability goals. Makaylee plans to propose forming a new sustainability-focused subcommittee for the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, on which she serves. Already a stronger defender on the court and of the environment, Makaylee is increasingly interested in environmental justice. NMU’s College of Graduate Studies and Research recently accepted Makaylee to pursue a Master of Interdisciplinary Studies next year. She plans to apply her knowledge of natural science to address issues of environmental injustice. How wonderful that Makaylee chose Northern to pursue a scholarship and athletics at the highest level. Go ‘cats!”

Patrick Andrews (Men’s Swim and Dive), nominated by NMU Athletics Staff.

Maria Arakelian (Women’s Swim and Dive), nominated by Stacy Boyer-Davis.

“It is my distinct privilege to nominate Maria Arakelian for the Scholar-Athlete of the Month award. Maria is a 4+1 Accounting major senior with 112 credits and an impressive 3.86 overall GPA. As a member of the swim team practicing and working out twice per day through the season and beyond, Maria’s academic excellence in a very demanding professional degree program requiring hours of out-of-class work is remarkable and inspiring. Maria is currently enrolled in two courses that I am teaching: ACT 403 Accounting III and ACT 482 Accounting for Government and Not-for-Profit Enterprises, both are required, challenging courses for the accounting major. Maria is incredibly hard-working and always puts forth her very best in all that she does. Maria is dedicated to her studies, academic merit, and developing her skills and abilities to become a professional accountant. Maria completed an internship at Plante Moran, a large public accounting firm during the Summer of 2022, and has already been offered a full-time job contract upon graduation, two years from now. Maria is also highly active and engaged in Beta Alpha Psi, the honor fraternity of accounting, finance, and information systems. Maria makes the time in her heavy schedule to volunteer on campus and in the greater community at various events including raking leaves for the elderly as part of the community day of giving. Maria plans to pursue a Certified Public Accounting (CPA) license. She is poised to be an exceptionally successful accountant, manager, and leader in the near future. I emphatically recommend Maria Arakelian for the Scholar-Athlete of the Month award.”

Vincent de Mey (Men’s Hockey), nominated by Derek Anderson.

“Vincent de Mey is majoring in Applied Workplace Leadership and is excelling the in program. He has a 3.67 GPA with straight-A’s in his LDR courses thus far. As a professor for three of his courses, I have found him to be a critical thinker, collaborative classmate, and effective communicator. He consistently produces quality work that applies course concepts to his experiences in the golf industry. Vincent is going to be a fantastic leader in the workplace and an exemplary NMU alum.”

Nadia Helm (Women’s Swim and Dive), nominated by Mlado Ivanovic.

“I am writing to nominate Nadia Helm for the Student-Athlete of the Month award. During the past two semesters, I have witnessed her exceptional abilities both in the pool and in the classroom. In the classroom, Nadia has consistently demonstrated a strong work ethic and dedication to her academic pursuits. She has taken challenging courses in philosophy and has consistently earned high marks. Her exceptional time-management skills have allowed her to balance her rigorous schedule of daily swim practices and competitions with the demands of her coursework. Her remarkable academic performance has earned her the highest grades in both classes that she took with me. In addition to her academic achievements, Nadia has also
been deeply involved in her community. She has volunteered at NGO “Refugee Outreach Collective” and helped organize a very successful event last Fall: “People over Policy” which took place at NMU in November. She has made a significant impact on a few projects that my organization is running for homeless people and recently resettled refugees in the Grand Rapids area. Her passion for helping others and her genuine desire to make a difference are evident in her selfless work. I wish more students had such a drive. I am confident that Nadia is a deserving candidate for the Scholar-Athlete of the Month award. Her commitment to excellence, leadership, and service makes her stand out among her peers. She is a shining example of what it means to be a student-athlete, and I believe she deserves this recognition.”

Ondrej Zach (Men’s Swim and Dive), nominated by NMU Athletics Staff.

Rachael Erste (Women’s Soccer), nominated by Dr. Lisa Flood.

“I am pleased to nominate Ms. Rachael Erste for the student-athlete-scholar of the month. Rachael is the captain of the women’s varsity soccer team and will be graduating from our rigorous bachelor of science in nursing program in December 2022. She was selected to be captain by her peers and coach providing leadership and mentoring for her teammates. While in this role, she also earned academic scholar-athlete awards for all 4 years. Being an NMU nursing student is challenging without the demands of daily soccer practices and team travel. Rachael demonstrated her commitment to both this past semester. She arrived for my hospital clinics two days a week at 6:45 am and after completing 8 hours of clinical learning, immediately left to attend practice.”

Caleb Rice (Men’s Swim and Dive), nominated by Tyler Watson.

“I had Caleb as a student during the Fall 2022 semester in my lab section for CH 111 – General Chemistry I. Caleb was always extremely respectful, and was an all-around excellent student in my lab section. His kindness and quality of work always stood out to me, and it was an absolute pleasure having him in my lab during the semester. As a new faculty member, students like Caleb really made me feel welcome and left me feeling like I was able to make an impact on the students in my labs. Caleb’s sport never impacted his work, and I believe he’s truly deserving of this award. He was one of my best-performing students during the semester, and really took advantage of the lab period to learn. Caleb took his time with the experiments and always asked insightful questions.”

Jacqueline Smith (Volleyball, Track and Field), nominated by Mitchell Klett.

“Jacqueline was in my ABA100 course last semester (Fall 2022). When the course first started, she handed me a VERY long list of all the classes that she would be missing because of her volleyball schedule. Immediately, I suggested that she take another course. However, this course was required for her major – and we had this course on a teach-out plan. So, Jacqueline stayed in the course out of necessity. It turned out that all of my reservations were unfounded. Jacqueline worked very hard to ensure that she made up the missed content and when she was in class, she was actively engaged and contributed to the course in ways that were above and beyond her peers. I was pleasantly surprised that she earned near-perfect scores on all of her exams and assignments. She truly put in the extra effort to work through this course with me despite the scheduling challenges. Jacqueline is a bright and intuitive student. I anticipate that she will achieve any and all of her future goals with no issues. I believe that she deserves this award purely on her talent and dedication to her studies in the face of obstacles created by her other passion (volleyball).”

Scott Spyra (Men’s Golf), nominated by Cory Toegel.

“Scott is an incredibly bright student that has a clear focus on his academic work. Scott is in my PSY423 Organization Behavior course this semester. In class, he is one of the most engaged students and contributes substantially to the class discussions and activities, which make up the majority of the class time. I have been impressed with his ability to comprehend and expand on the course content, which is in an area not offered by any other course in the Psychology major. Notably, the only time he has missed class is for his golf events. In addition, he has always completed the alternative assignments I had provided to make up for the missed classes. I anticipate that he will receive a high A in my course.”

Ahna Larson (Track and Field), nominated by Sebastien Inagaki.

“I have Ahna Larson in my Organic Chemistry II lecture and discussion sections (CH 325/326) and her performance is remarkable. My first encounter with Ms. Larson was last semester when she came to my office to introduce herself and to ask for advice about what other classes to take in the Winter semester. From this interaction, I could tell that she took academia very seriously. Indeed, she regularly comes to my office hours asking questions about the material, the suggested exercises, or the few mistake she made in some quizzes. Even though she attended several meets this semester, she is able to not only keep up with the material but also do very well in the course. Her attendance in class is excellent. The only times she missed class was for away meets. She currently has an A- in the course. For these reasons, I am nominating Ahna Larson as a Scholar-Athlete.”