The list of awards for Maryville College standout Shannon Reagan '20 continues to grow, as the senior becomes the first Scots' student-athlete to earn an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.
Reagan – a Tullahoma, Tenn. native – was one of just 126 student-athletes nationwide to receive the $10,000 award. Each sports season (fall, winter and spring), 21 scholarships are available for men and 21 for women for use in an accredited graduate program.
"It's extremely special," Reagan said. "It was really surprising to even be considered for something like this. Everything this season, just the way it played out, it's just something truly incredible. It really does mean the world to me."
This award marks the second time this season that Reagan has earned a "first" as a Maryville College student-athlete. She was named the 2019 CoSIDA Academic All-America Division III Team Member of the Year as the top D-III women's soccer player both on the field and in the classroom.
The senior forward was tabbed the USA South Athletic Conference Player of the Year, while she boasted a 3.95 GPA as a biology major.
"It's so impressive," Head Coach Pepe Fernandez said. "We're excited for her, and we're excited for the program. She's very deserving. She's a phenomenal player and a phenomenal student, and more importantly, she's made Maryville College a better place by coming here. All the awards that she's received have been very deserving. It's been very fun watching these things come to fruition for her, and we're excited for what her future holds."
According to the award's mission statement, the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship was created in 1964 to promote and encourage graduate education by rewarding the NCAA's most accomplished student-athletes. Factors for selection include athletic and academic achievements, campus involvement, community service, volunteer activities and demonstrated leadership.
Reagan is set to graduate in May of this year, and she will use this scholarship to continue her education. She plans to attend Trevecca Nazarene University, located in Nashville, to become a physician assistant (PA).
The senior explained that PAs can do everything a doctor can, but they operate under the supervision of a doctor. She said an older cousin is a physician assistant, and her love for biology and the medical field made the career a perfect fit.
Reagan said the flexibility also played a part in her decision.
"The good thing about being a physician assistant is the lateral mobility across the board," she explained. "You can be working one specialty and switch to another, and you don't have to do a residency. You can just switch. You can be working in dermatology for a couple years and decide you don't like it, and then you can switch to OB-GYN or internal medicine. It's never boring."
Reagan said she was going into her graduate degree with confidence.
The senior said the love and support she's seen from the faculty, coaching staff, athletic training staff and other players at MC have been something she called "really unique and special to Maryville College."
Reagan said that made her choice to become a Scot one she'll never forget. She also mentioned the academic challenges have her prepared to face anything.
"I think definitely the emphasis, especially in the science classes, is that they are taught on a master's level," she said. "The rigor that student-athletes go through, already having the tough classes on top of being able to juggle everything that comes along with being a student-athlete, I'm not intimidated at all for grad school. I think I'm totally prepared through Maryville. Both athletics and classes have prepared me for the rigor that I'm going to have in PA school."
Reagan's biology professors, Dr. Jennifer Brigati and Dr. Drew Crain, both agreed their student's work ethic has made her deserving of the scholarship and prepared for graduate school.
Brigati served as Reagan's academic advisor and research mentor.
"Shannon is a highly dedicated and hard-working student who takes her performance in the classroom just as serious as her performance on the field," Dr. Brigati said. "Shannon has worked diligently in the lab this semester collecting data for her senior study, which compares the efficacy of two electrostatic sprayer systems used for disinfecting public spaces. We didn't know about COVID-19 when we planned her thesis, but I am very thankful to have all the data she generated. There is currently great need for effective large-scale surface disinfection."
"Shannon Reagan is stellar, both in the classroom and on the soccer field," Dr. Crain continued. "Her intelligence, work ethic and positive attitude have ensured her academic prowess and have prepared her for a successful career as a physician's assistant."
Reagan's list of accomplishments is an impressive one, as the forward's USA South Player of the Year mention came after leading the league in goals (21), assists (11) and points (53) for the 2019 season.
She aided the Scots in becoming the USA South Western Division Regular Season Champions for the third-consecutive time before winning the conference tournament to earn the program's 10th NCAA Tournament berth.
"As a coach, it's one of those things that you like your teams to do well and your program to do well, but to see individual growth is very special," Fernandez said. "She gets all the credit for it, but to watch our faculty and staff help turn her into the phenomenal student-athlete she's become has been a lot of fun. It's been very rewarding. I guess the most important thing that her parents shared with me at the [end-of-season soccer team] banquet was that she really found a home here at Maryville. She found a place where she was comfortable and happy, and she's made great friends. She's obviously been very successful here."
Reagan was named a United Soccer Coaches Scholar All-South Region, as well as a CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team honoree. She was a First Team selection on the CoSIDA Academic All-America squad, while earning the Division III national award from the organization.
The senior said if she had one piece of advice for current and future Scots, it's this: Hard work pays off.
"Literally, if you work hard, anything is possible," Reagan said. "That's one thing I pride myself on – my work ethic. Maybe I work a little too hard sometimes and don't take enough time off, but truly, hard work pays off in the end. With an award like this, it's so gratifying to have your hard work formally recognized and show it to others.
"It doesn't matter where you come from or who you are, if you work hard, you can do anything."
Maryville College Athletics will honor Reagan on Wednesday, March 11. She will throw the first pitch for MC's 4:00 p.m. baseball game against Iowa Wesleyan University.