Kinesiology master’s student Keturah Orji has been named the NCAA Woman of the Year.
The honor was given Sunday night during a ceremony in Indianapolis. The University of Georgia track and field legend, who is pursuing her master of science in kinesiology (sport management) in the UGA College of Education, was among nine finalists for the annual awards.
Orji is the second NCAA Woman of the Year to come from the College of Education; Kristy Kowal (B.S.Ed. ’02) was named Woman of the year in 2000. Kim Black (2001) and Lisa Coole (1997), both UGA graduates, have also received the award. Although Orji is the first track and field athlete to receive the honor—all of UGA’s past recipients have been swimmers.
Award finalists demonstrate excellence in academics, athletics, community service and leadership throughout their college careers. Orji, who received her bachelor’s degree earlier this year from the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences, has long been a leader on and off the field while at UGA.
A 2018 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar, Orji was a member of Georgia’s Sphinx Club honor society and the Blue Key Honor Society. She was also named the 2018 Southeastern Conference Women’s Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field Scholar-Athlete of the Year, her third honor of this kind, and UGA’s Joel Eaves Scholar-Athlete of the Year, which is presented to a female student-athlete who has the highest grade-point average going into their senior year.
She also served for three years on the UGAAA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, attended the Student-Athlete Leadership Academy for four years, and she founded Amara’s Pride in 2017, which is an after-school mentoring program for middle school-age girls that focuses on self-worth, the importance of education, social media influences and the power of perseverance.
As a 15-time First Team All-American and eight-time NCAAA individual national champion, she had a large part in helping UGA win an NCAA national championship in outdoor track and field earlier this year. Orji also competed in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where only 3 centimeters separated her from the bronze medalist.
Related links: Department of Kinesiology