Two University of Tulsa student-athletes have been selected as prestigious national scholarship winners, the NCAA announced on Monday.
Senior soccer player Katy Riojas received the Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship, while senior rower Emalia Seto was the female recipient of the Jim McKay Scholarship.
Riojas receives a $24,000 renewable postgraduate scholarship, named in honor of former NCAA executive director Walter Byers. She is the first Byers Scholarship recipient from a Top-100 national university and the first woman from a Football Bowl Subdivision program to win the award since 2009.
The male recipient of the Byers Scholarship is Mitchell Black, a runner on the Tufts University track team.
Seto gets a one-time, $10,000 scholarship for outstanding academic performance. McKay Scholarship winners — also one male and one female each year, though this year only Seto was honored — are encouraged to pursue a career in the sports communications industry with their scholarship, named for the legendary broadcaster.
Riojas will continue her education at Vanderbilt in pursuit of a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering while Seto will join the Edelman public relations firm in Los Angeles following her graduation in May. She also has been accepted to the master’s program for strategic communications at the University of San Francisco for 2017.
“I realized I have a passion to create the kinds of devices that will help transform and improve the lives of individuals like Charles,” Riojas wrote in her application essay.
Riojas, from Parkville, Missouri, has maintained a 4.0 grade point average and was awarded with the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship for 2015-16. The senior was a four-year letterwinner for the Golden Hurricane women’s soccer team, playing in 72 games during her career.
Seto, from El Dorado Hills, California, has maintained a 3.617 grade point average in Communication, while earning four letters with the Golden Hurricane crew squad.
“I am preparing for a career in communications that gives me the chance to continue to give back to athletics and work with athletes to reach their goals,” Seto wrote in her application essay.
Riojas, who hopes to make a career developing innovative medical device solutions, has co-founded (with two classmates) Make a Difference Engineering, a student-run organization dedicated to the design and fabrication of devices to improve the lives of people with disabilities. As a summer researcher at the University of Pittsburgh, she designed and fabricated hardware and software for a user-centered robotic wheelchair interface. Last summer, Riojas and a professor created Magpie Products LLC, a startup company focused on designing and fabricating affordable devices for people with disabilities.
After her graduation in May, Riojas hopes to earn a master’s degree in engineering at the Johns Hopkins Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design.
Seto hopes to eventually work in communications for a university athletics department or for an athletics team. Seto already has gained real-world communications experience as a news intern at KTUL-ABC in Tulsa, as a writing intern at a relations firm, and as a communications intern at an energy firm. This spring, she has an internship at a marketing communications agency.
“My goal is to contribute to the city I am in and continue my passion for athletics by staying involved in rowing as a volunteer and mentor coach,” Seto wrote.