It’s hard to believe, but about 30 years ago women were not allowed to participate in sports and were only allowed to have “play days” and “interest groups.” The only physical activity appropriate for women was folk dancing.

Luckily for modern female student-athletes, a few women came to this school to change things. Jean Hodgkins and Vera Skubic both played major roles in the development of women’s athletics and ability to participate in recreational activities on American campuses during the 1970s. Prior to their arrival, the words “female” and “athlete” were not mentioned in the same sentence.

In recognition of their efforts, Skubic helped to develop the Jean Hodgkins Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded annually to an outstanding freshman, sophomore or junior female athlete, either in intercollegiate or club sports, who has excelled on the playing field, in the classroom and within the community, and has shown exceptional leadership skills. Past recipients include Linda Dorn, for soccer in 1991, and last year’s recipient, Corrine Servis, from the rowing team.

The 2003 recipient, junior Melissa Shaw, captain and goalie of the women’s lacrosse team, was honored at a luncheon on May 20 that recognized those women who paved the way for all female athletes at UCSB. About 20 women, including Pat Stock – the only female professor to ever become tenured in the Physical Activities Dept. – met at the Women’s Center, where Sport Clubs Coordinator Carrie Gardner and Carolyn Buford, two of Shaw’s nominators, spoke of Shaw’s achievements.

“Melissa plays the unglamorous position of goalie on the women’s lacrosse team,” Gardner said. “She has had a tough year with the coaching situation on her team, yet she is always able to amaze me with her caring and understanding.”

Shaw has showed outstanding leadership skills and the ability to handle any problem placed in front of her. Shaw’s caring and understanding personality shines in her everyday dealings with people at her job at the RecCen, and she also organizes community service projects for her team, such as volunteering at local festivals. Her ability to perform both on and off the field shows that the selection committee made an excellent choice for their candidate.

“My first reaction was I was in shock and really appreciative,” Shaw said. “I have been very humbled by this award.”

The recipient of the Jean Hodgkins Scholarship receives a beautiful picture frame with the award placed in it, her name on a plaque alongside all the other award recipients, and her entire Fall Quarter tuition paid by the endowment that accompanies the award. The scholarship award has only been offered to sport club athletes since 1998 and has since been awarded to an athlete from a sport club for four of those years. Previous recipients include alpine racer Jodie Tintorer in 1998, rower Isela Gonzalez in 1999, field hockey player Kellie Utsumi in 2001 and Servis in 2002.

“It’s really nice that they give an award to female athletes,” Shaw said. “It’s nice to recognize the progress we’ve made.”