WATERVILLE, Maine -- The North Atlantic Conference (NAC) is pleased to announce that Evelyn Miller (Smithfield, R.I.) of Colby-Sawyer College and Laura Pulito (Bridgton, Maine) of the University of Maine at Farmington have been selected as the NAC Women of the Year in a vote of the league's Athletics Directors and Senior Woman Administrators.
Miller, a standout women's tennis player for the Chargers, and Pulito, a two-sport athlete in women’s cross country and women’s outdoor track and field for the Beavers, will be presented their awards at a to-be-determined date during the 2018-19 academic year.
“Once again we had a strong pool of nominees this year and it was no surprise that both Evelyn and Laura were selected as the NAC Women of the Year honorees,” said NAC Commissioner Marcella Zalot. “Impressively, they excelled as students, have had successful careers as athletes and have had positive impacts on their campus communities. We are proud to honor both Evelyn and Laura as they truly exemplify the Division III philosophy."
Miller and Pulito emerged out of a pool of eight institutional nominees from the NAC’s member schools. To view the complete list of NAC Woman of the Year nominees for 2017-18, please click HERE.
The NAC Woman of the Year award is modeled after the NCAA's Woman of the Year program, which honors graduating student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, service and leadership. Miller will move on as the conference’s honoree for the prestigious NCAA Woman of the Year award. The NCAA plans to release the list of conference nominees in mid-August.
Evelyn Miller, Colby-Sawyer College
“Evelyn was one of the most dedicated, driven student-athletes I have ever coached,” said Colby-Sawyer tennis head coach Barry Schoonmaker. “We are so happy to see Evelyn recognized for her outstanding accomplishments.”
Miller becomes the third Charger to be honored as a NAC Woman of the Year, as Rachel Quaye ’17 (Westminster, Mass.) was honored in 2017 and Cailin Bullett '13 (Millbury, Mass.) earned the award in 2013.
Miller graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, while following the pre-medical track and minoring in Chemistry. She will be pursuing a Master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in January 2019.
Most recently she was selected as an Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Scholar-Athlete and named to the 2017-18 Google Cloud Academic All-District Division III Women's At-Large Team. She was a Colby-Sawyer College Wesson Honors Scholar and a Wesson Honors Scholarship Recipient. Miller received the 2018 Colby-Sawyer College Senior Biology Capstone Award for excellence in Biology research, the 2017-18 Wynne Jesser McGrew Senior Scholar-Athlete honor and the 2017-18 NAC Senior Scholar-Athlete of the Year award. She was named to the Dean’s List every semester at Colby-Sawyer and was a member of the NAC All-Academic Team in 2016 and 2017. In addition, Miller is a two-time Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Scholar-Athlete.
Miller worked as a clinical assistant in the Brain and Spine Neurological institute last summer. In the summer of 2016, she worked as a research assistant with NH-INBE, using applied genomics techniques to study neurobiology and behavior of bees. She also presented research in Specialized Immune Cells protection in Melanoma at the spring 2018 Eastern New England Biological Conference (ENEBC). The Colby-Sawyer Chair of the Biology Department selected Evelyn to present this research to the Presidents Alumni Advisor Council this semester.
In the community, Miller arranged a service project in music therapy to improve the quality of life for residents of Woodcrest Village suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's disease. At the 2017 International Festival, Miller entertained students, faculty and staff with Irish Step Dance and Irish Fiddle.
"Evelyn has been an outstanding role model for all of our student-athletes at Colby-Sawyer," said Athletics Director George Martin. "She has made a difference on the court and in the community in her three years as a Charger. The NAC Woman of the Year honor is the culmination of her dedication and determination.”
She earned the 2016-17 Colby-Sawyer Coach’s Award and during her senior campaign she was named captain of the Chargers’ squad. Miller and her teammates claimed three-consecutive NAC Championship Titles and she earned the 2017 NAC All-Tournament Team MVP honor as well as being named to the All-Tournament Team in 2016 and 2015. She was voted to the All-Conference First Team in singles in 2016 and 2017 while also earning first team doubles honors in 2016 and second team doubles honors in both 2015 and 2017. She was honored on the 2017 NAC Sportsmanship Team and as the 2016-17 USTA Rhode Island's College Female Tennis Player of the Year.
Miller finished her three-year career with 101 total victories to rank eighth all-time including 46 singles wins to rank seventh and 55 doubles wins to tie for sixth. She helped the Chargers win an NCAA First Round match three years in a row going 3-3 in doubles matches at the national tournament over her career, while also claiming an NCAA victory in singles, which ended up being the match-clinching point in 2016 to secure the program's first NCAA victory.
"Evelyn is an outstanding athlete who has excelled on the court and in the classroom,” said Athletics Director Bill Foti. "The hard work she has shown in all of her endeavors is truly an inspiration for all future Chargers.”
Laura Pulito, UMaine-Farmington
Pulito, a two-sport student-athlete at UMF competing on the women’s cross country and women’s outdoor track and field teams, served as a captain for both squads. She was also the UMF Indoor Track and Field Club Team Captain and Vice President.
On the cross-country course, she took sixth place in 2015 and fifth place in 2017 at the NAC Championship earning All-NAC First Team recognition and helping her team claim runner-up honors both seasons. She was Named UMF’s “Most Valuable Runner” for the 2015 season, while also being named to the NAC Cross Country and Track & Field Sportsmanship Teams in 2016.
On the track, she was an All-Conference honoree in 2016 (1500m run) and 2017 (4x400m relay), while claiming the title of NAC Champion in 2018 in two events (800m and 1500m). She qualified and competed at the 2018 Division III New England Championships in the 800m and the 4x800 relay, while receiving the Team Coach’s Award in the 2018 season. She holds school records in the 200m, 400m, 800m, 4x400m and 4x800m events at UMF.
"Laura's self-motivation, discipline, and desire to become the best possible runner is only out weighted by her compassion and desire to help her fellow student athletes, either by tutoring them or sacrificing her training to help another person," stated former cross country and track and field head coach Dan Campbell. "Laura is truly a very special young lady that has a lot to offer in the world around her."
Pulito graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Secondary Education English, while she minored in both Environmental Studies and Creative Writing. She was named to the Dean’s List (High Honors) all eight semesters and was a fall and winter/spring NAC All-Academic Team honoree throughout her career. She was a Parks & Woods Scholarship finalist for Excellence in English in both 2016 and 2017, while serving as a peer mentor and a writing tutor at UMF.
"Laura developed steadily over her career at UMF," said UMF Director of Athletics, Fitness & Recreation, Julie Davis. "She trained hard, and smart, and she grew into a confident competitor, her team could rely on for grit, points and encouragement. She also became an invaluable leader and an inclusive teammate. Meanwhile, she excelled academically and made a significant impact via thoughtful and unselfish engagement in various teaching, service and volunteer activities. Her initiative and modeling facilitated a ripple of engagement among many around her. We are fortunate to have had her in our program and look forward to her thriving in what she does next."
She has spent time working as a counselor at Camp EcoVenture, as a substitute teacher, as a practicum student, as a lifeguard, and as a mentor to middle school students. Pulito volunteered her time at several events and with many groups including Mariah’s 5K Run, the Lake Auburn 5k & Half Marathon, the Hospice House 5K & Half Marathon, the Fryeburg Academy Track Meet, with the New Commons Project at UMF, as a youth track coach with the Farmington Recreation Department, and with Kid’s Night Out.