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Japundza Named NEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year

Monday, June 17, 2013
Pittsburgh – Una Japundza (Rovinj, Croatia / Zvane Crnja) of the Robert Morris University volleyball team was selected as the 2013 Northeast Conference Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year Monday. Japundza graduated from RMU in May. 

Sponsored by the league’s Faculty Athletic Representatives, the NEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year award is bestowed annually upon the male and female student-athlete who have exhausted their eligibility, graduated and posted the highest cumulative GPA in the conference at the conclusion of the academic year.

Japundza, a management major, shares the honor with Carly Thibault of the Monmouth women’s basketball team. The pair each finished with a perfect cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 4.00 throughout their four years. Earning the NEC Male Student-Athlete of the Year was Mark Quaranta of the Mount St. Mary’s baseball program, who compiled a 3.98 GPA.

“Congratulations to Una, Carly and Mark for their tremendous academic and athletic careers” Noreen Morris, NEC Commissioner, said. “To earn such perfection in the classroom while competing as a Division I student-athlete is an incredibly difficult task that requires unending commitment and dedication as well as flawless time management skills. I’m awed by their accomplishments and wish them the best of luck as they pursue their careers.”

RMUNewsUnaA three-year letterwinner and team captain for Robert Morris in 2012, Japundza appeared in 56 career matches, compiling 37 kills, 102 digs, 41 blocks and 30 service aces. She ranked second on the squad in blocks per set in her senior season. In April she was selected as the inaugural female student-athlete recipient for owning the highest cumulative GPA as a graduating senior at the annual RMU All-Sports Banquet.

Japundza was also bestowed the RMU 2013 Presidential Transformational Award, the University’s highest undergraduate honor. The award is given annually to a graduating student who has been transformed by his or her experience at RMU and was engaged in learning, leadership and community service, therefore transforming Robert Morris in the process. In addition to the Transformational Award, Japundza was the recipient of the Outstanding Management Student of the Year for 2012-13.

As part of Japundza’s extensive community service portfolio she helped dozens of international students file their taxes for the first time through VITA, RMU’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.  Upon her arrival at Robert Morris she became president of Carpe Mundum, the University’s international student organization, helping international students meet new people, navigate the academic landscape, learn the lingo and discover the treasures RMU has to offer. Additionally, Japundza tutored and mentored in the Center for Student Success, helping underclassmen with business courses.  She was named to the NEC Academic and Commissioner’s Honor Roll three times and next plans to pursue an MBA.

Japundza is the third Robert Morris female student-athlete in seven years since the award was created to be bestowed the honor, joining former volleyball player Lisa Jaskza (2003-06) and former track & field student-athlete Tara Maxwell (2005-09). Jaszka was honored with the inaugural NEC Female Student-Athlete of the Year in 2007, while Maxwell was honored in 2009.

Japundza also helped the RMU volleyball squad earn the NEC’s Team GPA Award for the 2012-13 academic year as the Colonials led all league volleyball programs with a 3.649 team GPA.

Robert Morris University, founded in 1921, is a private, four-year institution with an enrollment of approximately 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The university offers 60 undergraduate and 20 graduate programs. An estimated 22,000 alumni live and work in western Pennsylvania. - See more at: