Pomona-Pitzer’s Alexandra Turvey Named 2024 Byers Scholarship Recipient

by SwimSwam 1

June 24th, 2024 College, NCAA Division III, News

Courtesy: NCAA

An NCAA committee that oversees the Walter Byers Graduate Scholarship selected two former student-athletes — Pomona-Pitzer graduate Alexandra Turvey and Oakland graduate Ian Cleary — as recipients of the 2024 awards.

Turvey earned her undergraduate degree at Pomona in biology in May after competing in swimming, and Cleary earned his undergraduate degree in biomedical sciences in 2023 while competing in baseball.

Turvey, who helped Pomona-Pitzer win the 200- and 400-yard freestyle relays at the Division III Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships in March, is pursuing both medical and doctoral degrees in her postgraduate academic career. She joins the combined Harvard/MIT M.D.-Ph.D. program this July to pursue her double postgraduate degrees.

Cleary, a third-team College Sports Communicators Academic All-American in 2023, will start at the University of Michigan Medical School in July to pursue his medical degree.

Established in 1988, the Walter Byers Scholarship program each year awards $24,000 scholarships to one male and one female recipient. The scholarships can be renewed for a second year. Recipients chosen by the Walter Byers Scholarship Committee are recognized as combining the best elements of mind and body to achieve national distinction for their achievements and to be future leaders in their chosen field.

Alexandra Turvey

Turvey, a 21-time All-American, had a stellar senior season, helping Pomona-Pitzer to a seventh-place finish in the final team standings of the Division III Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships in March. She finished as the national runner-up in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events and the 100-yard butterfly.

At the 2023 NCAA championships, Turvey was named the recipient of the NCAA’s Elite 90 Award, which goes to the top individual academic performer to reach the finals site at each of the NCAA’s 90 championships.

Turvey, who is from Vancouver, British Columbia, recently competed at Canada’s 2024 Paris Olympic Trials .

Out of the pool, Turvey graduated summa cum laude with a 4.0 GPA and was named the College Sports Communicators 2024 Division III Women’s Swimming and Diving Academic All-America Team Member of the Year.

Turvey’s inspiration to pursue medical and doctoral degrees comes from a recognition that transformative breakthroughs in health care arise at the interface of clinical expertise and advances in fundamental science.

Her career goals are to care for individual patients as a clinician but also as a scientific researcher and leader, to identify the genetic causes and novel treatments for rare and undiagnosed diseases.

Entering this highly selective graduate program, Turvey recognizes how NCAA swimming “uniquely prepared me for training as long and demanding as the M.D.-Ph.D.” As Turvey wrote in her Byers Scholarship essay, “My greatest contribution is my grit. This comes from intercollegiate athletics. From competitive swimming and teamwork, I know how to work tirelessly to improve and how to motivate and deeply care for others.”

Ian Cleary

Cleary, an outfielder at Oakland, completed his graduate-year season with a .290 batting average, which matched his five-year career average. He had five home runs and 36 RBIs this spring.

He helped the Grizzlies win 31 games in 2024 as the team captain, tying their 2022 team for the most wins in program history at the Division I level.

Cleary, a Macomb, Michigan, native, received second-team All-Horizon League, Horizon League All-Tournament Team and Horizon League All-Academic Team honors in 2023, along with All-Academic Team honors in 2024.

Cleary was a standout student, posting a 3.99 GPA while obtaining his undergraduate degree. Beyond the classroom, he worked as an undergraduate biology researcher in the Anthony Valance Washington Laboratory at Oakland University, volunteered in the athletic training room, shadowed team physicians and worked at Great Lakes Orthopaedics as a medical assistant.

He was inspired to pursue a career in medicine after first experiencing the intricacies, challenges and opportunities that come with patient care following health-related problems in his family.=

“Medicine is a field where you see it all and interact every day with a truly diverse population,” Cleary wrote in his Byers Scholarship essay. “I can only imagine how the stories of the patients I continue to meet in my work, volunteering and shadowing will further inspire me and strengthen my passion for medicine and patient care.”

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26 days ago

Well done Alex! Congrats from your proud swimming friends back in Vancouver.