Senior Peacock-Villada named Ashe Sports Scholar

by Jennifer Yu | 5/11/05 5:00am

College senior Elizabeth Peacock-Villada was recently named an Arthur Ashe, Jr., Sports Scholar for 2005.

"I feel extremely honored to win this award, particularly because of the limited representation of the Ivy League schools in the pool of award recipients," Peacock-Villada said.

The Sports Scholars award was established by the Black Issues in Higher Education to honor undergraduate students who are competent in a collegiate sport, maintain a grade point average of at least 3.2, and participate in campus or community activities actively.

The humble track and field tri-captain, whose biggest influences in life are friends and family, was surprised to win the award.

"I was very surprised. It is not often at Dartmouth that one receives this kind of recognition. I am not a stand-out in any single area of athletics, academics or community service," Peacock-Villada said. "I think I just work hard to balance all three."

The middle-distance runner from Williamstown, Mass., is a chemistry major with a 3.59 GPA and competed on the cross country team for the Big Green and ran 800-meter, 1000-meter and the mile races for Dartmouth.

Peacock-Villada recalled, "I did not come to [Dartmouth to] run, I actually walked onto the team my sophomore year, but joining the cross-country and track teams has been one of the best decisions I made at Dartmouth."

The warm and green-blooded senior is also very involved with Tucker foundation projects. She was a Tucker fellow to Puebla, Mexico, and an intern for Fellowship and Internships at Tucker.

An avid volunteer for the Close to Home project, she tutored teenage mothers at Hannah House. Her other volunteering projects include the Nicaragua Cross Cultural Service Program, in which she served as a member of the medical team. She also translates for doctors in Ecuador and the Dominican Republic through the Medical Ministry International and recently picked up a new project with Grassroots Soccer- an organization that promotes HIV/AIDS awareness.

When asked how she found time as a busy Dartmouth undergraduate to juggle all of these commitments, Peacock-Villada said, "I find time to do all these activities by prioritizing my commitments. Academics have always come first for me, but I actually think that running track makes me a better student, so balancing the two is not that difficult."

However, there were times when she found the commitments too grueling. "It was difficult this fall working as a student leader for the Nicaragua CCESP, but going back to Nicaragua as a student leader meant so much to me that I knew I could push through for one intense term. Plus, working on teams, be it track or CCESP, you get a lot of support from your teammates when you need it. Again, I have found that community service helps keep me balanced so I just try and squeeze it in where I can," Peacock-Villada said.

Peacock-Villada is one of only three Ivy League students to be honored with the award. Penn basketball player Rachel Wilson and Columbia hooper Megan Lynne Griffith join Peacock-Villada in receiving the honor.