BIG EAST Announces 2011-12 Winners of American Eagle Michael Tranghese Leadership Awards

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Rutgers University cross country and track & field standout Benjamin Forrest and University of Notre Dame cross country and track & field athlete Allison Schroeder have been chosen as the winners of the 2011-12 American Eagle Outfitters Michael Tranghese Postgraduate Leadership Award, as chosen by the BIG EAST Conference Academic Affairs Committee.

The awards are given to one male and one female student-athlete from a BIG EAST-sponsored sport who have been admitted to a degree-granting or professional program for the following year and who have demonstrated leadership through excellence in academic credentials, athletic performance and depth of commitment to service within the institution or the community. 

Forrest and Schroeder will each receive a $5,000 scholarship, which may be applied to postgraduate study.

A senior from Jackson, N.J., Forrest has a 3.929 grade-point average as an astrophysics major. He is a four-year member of Rutgers' Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and has been a member of that organization's executive board since 2010. He captained the Scarlet Knights' 2011 cross country team and has been a BIG EAST and IC4A-qualifying competitor in cross country, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field.

Forrest is a Presidential Scholar at Rutgers and is a member of the Chi Alpha Sigma college athlete honor society. He was the second-place finisher among 582 student-athletes for the 2011 Rutgers Leadership Academy Award. He was chosen to the school's Vice-President's Leadership Cabinet and has been active in a number of community service efforts, including the Believe Bowl, an alumni flag football game that raised more than $10,000 for spinal cord research.

Forrest has been admitted to a Ph.D. program in astrophysics at Texas A&M and has been awarded a graduate doctoral merit fellowship.

Schroeder, a senior from Ottawa, Ohio, holds a 3.918 grade-point average as a biological sciences major at Notre Dame. A member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, she serves as a student-athlete tutor through Notre Dame's Academic Services department. She is a four-year veteran of the Irish track & field team who helped Notre Dame to a second-place finish at the 2012 BIG EAST Outdoor Championships.

Schroeder's community service efforts include volunteer work at the Sister Maura Brannick Health Center, which provides health care services to uninsured residents of St. Joseph County, and as a participant in Notre Dame's annual Christmas party for pediatric hematology and oncology patients at Memorial Hospital. She has been accepted to a number of postgraduate programs and plans to pursue a course of study in medicine.

The award is named for Michael Tranghese, the BIG EAST's first full-time employee who served as commissioner of the conference from 1990 to 2009.

The American Eagle Outfitters Michael Tranghese Postgraduate Leadership award is one of a number of scholarships presented by the BIG EAST Conference and American Eagle Outfitters during the 2011-12 academic year. In addition to this award, 32 student-athletes (one male and one female from each of the BIG EAST's 16 member institutions) have been named as the winners of the American Eagle Outfitters BIG EAST Institutional Scholar-Athlete Scholarships. The conference also names male and female American Eagle Outfitters BIG EAST Basketball Scholar-Athletes of the Year and an American Eagle Outfitters BIG EAST Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year.