Athletics News
SWA Professional Growth and Development Grant for Women and Ethnic Minorities Announced

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The BIG EAST Conference recently distributed full or partial grants as part of the BIG EAST Professional Development Grant for Women and Ethnic Minorities program, which provides funds for professional development to the league's coaches and administrators. The program is in its sixth year of existence, and provided three coaches and six administrators with a total of $11,995 in aid.

The purpose of this grant program, which was developed by the BIG EAST's Senior Woman Administrators (SWAs) in conjunction with league officials, is to provide financial support for the various professional development opportunities for women and ethnic minority coaches and administrators who work at a BIG EAST Conference member institution. The BIG EAST will continue to allocate and distribute money for this program on an annual basis.

"This unique initiative continues to underscore and illustrate the BIG EAST Conference's commitment to diversity -- a point our 15 senior woman administrators feel is important to emphasize in a tangible way," said Associate Commissioner Donna DeMarco, who works directly with the league's SWAs. "Now that this has become an annual occurrence, we are able to provide rewarding professional development opportunities within all levels of our member institution athletic departments.

The winning coaches are Maura Ballard (Rutgers), Katie Robinson (Rutgers), and Haley Exner (Rutgers).  Administrators receiving grants include Laurajean Holmgren (St. John's), Jason Linders (USF), Carla Lopez (Cincinnati), Sherryta Freeman (Temple), Danielle Josetti (Marquette) and Ann Marquez (Notre Dame).The total amount awarded was $11,995 (out of $12,000).

The SWA Professional Growth and Development Subcommittee members are Kathryn Statz of DePaul, Sarah Bobert of Marquette, Jill LaPoint of Providence, Lynn Tighe of Villanova and Sharon Brummell of  Georgetown. The BIG EAST staff liaison is Director of Sport Administration Kristen Brown. 


'The grants awarded each year are a great way for the Conference to continue to develop and enrich those that have chosen careers in collegiate athletics,' said Brown.  Which is not only about the continual learning and education of student-athletes, but of coaches and administrators as well. Anything that can be done to improve the leadership of those that provide the student-athlete experience is a priority for the league.'

Among the seminars, programs, conferences and workshops that this year's recipients will be attending include the Women's Coaching Summit, Vision 54 "Coaching for the Future", Collegiate Event and Facility Management Association, NACDA Mentoring Institute, NACMA, NAAC Convention, Collegiate Athletics Leadership Symposium and Dartfish Certified Technologist.

The BIG EAST's grant program drew attention from Diverse magazine two years ago. The magazine focuses exclusively on matters of access and opportunity for all in higher education. Click here to read more.


  2012-13 Grant Award Winners




Maura Ballard - Rutgers
Vision 54 'Coaching for the Future'   ($1,995)


Laurajean Holmgren - St. John's
Collegiate Event and Facility Management Association ($1,500)


Katie Robinson - Rutgers
Women's Coaching Summit ($1,100)

Jason Linders - USF
NACDA Mentoring Institute ($800)



Haley Exner - Rutgers
USA Field Hockey Level II Accreditation

Carla Lopez - Cincinnati
NACMA ($1,500)




Sherryta Freeman - Temple
NAAC Convention ($950)




Danielle Josetti - Marquette
Collegiate Athletics Leadership Symposium ($1,100)


Ann Marquez - Notre Dame
Dartfish Certified Technologist ($1,850)