Recent FGCU graduate and women’s soccer standout Ashley Parks has been nominated for 2018 NCAA Woman of the Year award.
Established in 1991, the award honors student-athletes who distinguished themselves in academics, athletics, service and leadership throughout their collegiate careers. Nine finalists – three each from Division I, II and III – will be announced in September. The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics will announce the winner Oct. 28.
“I am extremely honored, thankful and humbled to be nominated for such an incredible award,” Parks says. “My athletic, academic and community-service participation at FGCU enriched my college experience and made my time at FGCU so enjoyable. Now that I have graduated, I hope to leave a fraction of a legacy as FGCU did on me.”
A native of St. Louis, Parks culminated her FGCU tenure this past spring by being named a co-winner of the prestigious Eagle Scholar-Athlete Award, the highest honor FGCU Athletics bestows upon a graduating senior student-athlete. The award recognizes the ability of the winner to combine athletic and academic success (minimum 3.20 GPA) with community service.
After graduating with a 3.47 undergraduate GPA in which she was named to the Dean’s List four times and the President’s List once, Parks completed a master’s in accounting and taxation in just one year with a 3.77 GPA. She has been nominated for membership in the Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society for business students in the top-10 percent of their class. Additionally, Parks was named the Lutgert College of Business Graduate Student of the Year, was a two-time ASUN All-Academic Team member and a Female FGCU Athletics Student-Athlete of the Month selection.
On the field, Parks was one of the most decorated players in program history. A two-time ASUN First Team selection, she was named the ASUN Defensive Player of the Year last fall as a team captain in addition to her second-consecutive All-Region Second Team nod. Parks was named to the ASUN All-Tournament Team on two occasions, received an ASUN Defensive Player of the Week honor as a sophomore and landed on the CoSIDA All-District IV First Team as a senior.
“Ashley persevered through a devastating knee injury in her junior year and could have easily forgone playing an additional fifth year, but her will and determination prevailed,” says head women’s soccer coach Jim Blankenship. “She has excelled athletically and academically, and is an incredible leader who is deserving of this nomination. FGCU women’s soccer will be forever grateful for her contributions.”
Parks also embodied FGCU’s standard of community engagement, volunteering at the Harry Chapin Hunger Walk, Habitat for Humanity, Spring Bling and Kowiachobee Animal Preserve, among many other service projects. She also devoted hours to tutoring accounting students and helping freshmen move in to residence halls.