STANFORD, Calif. - Four Stanford student-athletes have been awarded NCAA postgraduate scholarships after the fall season. The Cardinal had eight winners in 2014-15, tying for the most in a year in school history. Winter and spring scholarships will be announced at later dates.
Jordan Burgess (women’s volleyball), BJ Churnside (men’s water polo), Aisling Cuffe (women’s cross country) and Ty Thompson (men’s soccer) received NCAA postgraduate scholarships for their outstanding academic and athletic achievements.
NCAA postgraduate scholarship winners receive a one-time grant of $7,500.To qualify, the student-athletes must be in their final year of eligibility and plan to pursue graduate studies within the next three years. They must also maintain at least a 3.2 grade-point average, have performed with distinction as a member of their varsity team and be nominated by their institution's faculty athletics representative.
A two-time All-American and three-time all-conference selection, Burgess helped lead the Cardinal to two Pac-12 titles and its first trip to the NCAA Final Four (2014) since 2008. A four-year starter, the Fort Myers, Florida native is one of just 10 Cardinal players to have registered 1,000 career kills and digs. She finished her time on The Farm sixth overall in digs (1,320) and ninth in career digs per set (2.84).
Burgess, a human biology major, was a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-America Second Team selection and a three-time Pac-12 All-Academic pic. The 2015 Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Burgess was also a Senior CLASS Award First Team All-America honoree. After Stanford, she would like to attend medical school and specialize in pediatric surgery. She is the founder of Overtime, an organization that is redesigning how student-athletes throughout the country participate in community service. Burgess has also volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House in Palo Alto and in Spanish immersion elementary classrooms, and was a speaker at the Wender Weis Children’s Champions event.
A four-year member of the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches (ACWPC) All-Academic Team, Churnside received the group’s highest honors as a member of the “Outstanding” group each of his final three years at Stanford. He completed his Cardinal career with 146 goals, after finishing fifth on the team with 25 goals his senior season. He received ACWPC All-America honors all four years with the Cardinal.
Churnside, an electrical engineering major, was honored by the NCAA as the 2014 men’s water polo Elite 89 award winner. The Elite 89 award recognizes the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers. Outside of his competition and class schedule, Churnside has served an internship with the Stanford Office of Sustainability.
The NCAA postgraduate scholarship is the latest among a flurry of awards and honors that Cuffe has won this season. Last fall, the seven-time cross country and track All-American swept all three of Pac-12 cross-country’s top honors – winning the individual championship race and earning the Scholar-Athlete of the Year award, in addition to Athlete of the Year honors. Cuffe, who competes in the NCAA indoor track and field championships on March 11, is a two-time Pac-12 cross country champion and holder of the Stanford and Pac-12 records in the 5,000 meters. Her time of 15:11.13 in 2014 made her the third-fastest collegian all-time at 5,000, and second-fastest American collegian.
A biology major, Cuffe carries a 3.55 GPA. She volunteers in the children’s activity room at the Ronald McDonald House and at physical therapy clinics in the Bay Area. Cuffe will make a run at the 2016 Olympic trials and at the 2017 World Championships . After that, she will attend graduate school with the goal of becoming a physical therapist.
Thompson co-captained the Cardinal to the first NCAA title in program history with a headline-grabbing senior campaign. The economics major was named to the NSCAA All-Far West Region first team and the All-Pac-12 first team. He was also a CoSIDA Academic All-District pick and made the Pac-12 All-Academic first team. Thompson, who finished his career with nine assists, became the 14th NSCAA Academic All-American in Stanford history when he was named an NSCAA Scholar Second Team All-American in December, the first for the Cardinal since 2010. While at Stanford, he was a tutor for the EPATT program, mentoring underprivileged children from East Palo Alto. He has also served as an activities counselor for Bayside Church and a community leader for GTSoccer Camps and Green Giants Clinic.
The midfielder was selected by the San Jose Earthquakes with the 69th overall pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft. Following his professional career he would like to pursue a master’s in computer science, a field he has become increasingly more interested in after completing internships with LightSpeed/ChitChat and Hewlett Packard, and having served as a campus representative for the smartphone app Yik Yak.