by Doug DeBiase, CACC Associate Commissioner
NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Steph Donah had an impressive career at Felician University, but she saved her best season for last in 2019, as her senior campaign saw her lauded as not only one of the best softball players in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC), but also as one of the top student-athletes in the East Region of NCAA Division II.
Donah earned All-CACC honors, while also collecting First-Team All-East Region honors from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) in 2019. Along the way, she was recognized for her outstanding work in the classroom, while also giving back to her local community through generous acts.
When you add in all three components, Donah, who was named the CACC Student-Athlete of the Month for May 2019, was a terrific choice as Felician's nominee for the NCAA Woman of the Year award this summer.
STEPH DONAH PROFILE
School: Felician University
Hometown: Clark, N.J.
Freshman Season (2016): Started 42 of 44 games during her freshman season ... smacked seven doubles during the season, while also knocking in eight runs.
Sophomore Season (2017): Earned Second-Team All-CACC honors, as she ripped seven home runs, nine doubles and drove in 35 runs ... batted .345 for the season, while slugging .556.
Junior Season (2018): Batted .299 with five homers and 20 RBI.
Senior Season (2019): Named to the All-CACC Second Team ... earned a spot on the NFCA All-East Region First Team ... batted a career-best .415 (slugged .626) with a trio of homers and 33 RBI.
Major: Secondary Education/Science
Cumulative GPA: 3.39
Awards: Member of Chi Alpha Sigma College Athlete Honor Society ... Kappa Delta Phi Education Honor Society ... CACC Student-Athlete of the Month for May 2019.
Church Alive in Rutherford, N.J. (2017-18): Served as a babysitter for children attending the church.
Union County (N.J.) Education Commission (2016-18): Served as a camp counselor for students with Autism.
Felician University Softball Camp (2016-18): Served as a camp counselor for the team when it conducted skills camps.
IN HER WORDS...
"Throughout my career on the softball field and in the classroom I was challenged with adversity every day. Just showing up is not the only part of a successful person, there is action and consequences one must take or accept. Coming to a small campus like Felician University taught me that everyone will know your name, especially when you are representing something bigger than yourself. Felician's community also taught me that many people are depending on others to get their job done so that the tasks at hand can become completed, almost exactly like how a softball team works together to score or to get an out. Being able to be a part of the softball program, and working with twelve other girls even when the odds were stacked against us, showed me the true value of working harder to become better. I graduated with a bachelor's degree in SecondaryEducation/Biology, and I wholeheartedly took this route in my education because I want to be a great leader and role model for those young ladies and girls who fear the stigmas and backlash of being a women in science. I want to be in the forefront for many girls who were like me, tough and resistant to the standards. With all of the hardships and failures I had to face on the field and in the classroom, I became resilient and optimistic for what my future holds."
Established in 1991, the NCAA Woman of the Year award recognizes graduating female college athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves in academics, athletics, service and leadership throughout their collegiate careers. The NCAA encourages member schools to honor their top graduating female student-athletes each year by submitting their names for consideration for the Woman of the Year award.
Next, conferences will select up to two nominees each from the pool of school nominees (that announcement will be made in late July/early August). Then, the Woman of the Year selection committee, made up of representatives from the NCAA membership, will choose the Top 30 honorees — 10 from each division.
The selection committee will determine the top three honorees in each division from the Top 30 and announce the nine finalists in September. From those nine finalists, the NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics then will choose the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year.
The Top 30 honorees will be celebrated and the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year will be named at the annual award ceremony Oct. 20 in Indianapolis.
ABOUT THE CACC
The Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference is an NCAA Division II Conference composed of 14 institutions in Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. The member institutions are Bloomfield College, Caldwell University, Chestnut Hill College, Concordia (N.Y.) College, Dominican (N.Y.) College, Felician University, Georgian Court University, Goldey-Beacom College, Holy Family University, Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University), Nyack College, Post University of Waterbury, University of the Sciences, and Wilmington University.