Feb. 7, 2012
MILWAUKEE - Marquette University women's soccer standout Natalie Kulla has been named the 2011-12 American Eagle Outfitters BIG EAST Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year. The selection was made by the conference's Academic Affairs Committee.
"Accepting this award and scholarship from the BIG EAST is a true honor," said Kulla. "There are a countless number of devoted, hardworking, and remarkable female student-athletes in the BIG EAST. Playing for this conference, and for Marquette University, has been a wonderful journey. I've been privileged to work with great administrators, coaches, and fellow student-athletes who have encouraged me to become not only a good athlete but a good student, person and friend. I am both blessed and thankful for the opportunities I've been given and the experiences I've shared with such a great athletic community."
A senior from St. Louis, Mo., Kulla will receive a $4,000 scholarship, which may be applied to graduate or professional studies. The conference also announced the female winners of the 2011-12 American Eagle Outfitters BIG EAST Institutional Scholar-Athlete Scholarships. Each institutional winner receives $2,000 toward graduate studies. Kulla is Marquette's first BIG EAST Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
"This is a tremendous honor for Natalie and is well deserved," said Marquette head coach Markus Roeders." Natalie is an exceptional young lady and we couldn't be more proud of her being recognized with this prestigious award. Throughout her career at Marquette, Natalie raised the bar as a student-athlete in our program. She excelled in all areas and remained very humble by her individual accomplishments along the way. Natalie strived to be the best she could be, but was always focused on the program's success. She was an incredible leader, an outstanding student, a big-time athlete and somebody who always showed great care for those around her. We are very blessed she receives this honor having worn a Marquette uniform."
Kulla completed her career in 2011 as one of the top goalkeepers in BIG EAST history. She is a two-time BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Year and the holder of Marquette's single-season (16) and career (43) shutout records. She finished her career with a program-record 0.74 goals-against average and ranks second on the school's career wins (58) and minutes (7835:04) charts.
Kulla helped the Golden Eagles to three consecutive BIG EAST American Division titles and four consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, including a berth in the Sweet 16 in 2010.
Kulla graduated in December and returned to St. Louis, Mo., where she works at Boeing as a facilities plant engineer working in the defense, space and security division. She looks to pursue a graduate degree in sustainability at Saint Louis University beginning in the summer of 2012.
Aside from her academic and athletic accomplishments, Kulla also is active with a number of community service efforts. She was chair of Marquette's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, has performed volunteer work with the St. Vincent de Paul Society in Milwaukee and helps fundraising efforts on behalf of the Children's Medical Research Foundation Cure for Kirby.
The American Eagle Outfitters BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete of the Year award is one of a number of scholarships presented by the BIG EAST Conference and American Eagle Outfitters during the 2011-12 academic year. Thirty-two student-athletes (one male and one female from each of the BIG EAST's 16 member institutions) will be named as the winners of the American Eagle Outfitters BIG EAST Institutional Scholar-Athlete Scholarships. The conference also names male and female American Eagle Outfitters BIG EAST Basketball Scholar-Athletes of the Year and an American Eagle Outfitters BIG EAST Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year.