Bose and Gallo winners of Skelton Awards for Academic Excellence in Athletics

BLACKSBURG – Virginia Tech women’s golfer Elizabeth Bose and football standout Eric Gallo were announced as the winners of the 2017 Skelton Award for Academic Excellence in Athletics at the Athletics Director’s Honors Breakfast held Sunday morning at the Inn at Virginia Tech.

Their academic successes, along with their success on the field and in the community, led to both receiving the award – the highest designation handed out by the Tech athletics department.

The Skelton Award, named after the late Dr. Bill and Peggy Skelton, goes each year to a rising junior, senior or fifth-year male and female student-athlete who has participated in intercollegiate athletics for at least two seasons at Tech and who holds an overall grade-point average of 3.40 or better. Each recipient receives a scholarship of $5,000.

“I was really surprised and felt very blessed to achieve such an honor, especially since I’m only a sophomore going into my junior year,” Bose said. “It’s really nice to be recognized for a lot of work that I’ve put in.”

“I had a flashback to my freshman year when I saw [women’s soccer standout] Katie Yensen win the award [in 2014], and she was the winner doing the speech,” Gallo said. “I remember sitting in the Inn and listening to her, and thinking to myself, ‘What an amazing accomplishment for her! Congratulations to her. That’s an incredible for her.’ Then I thought, ‘Wow, what an honor to be mentioned with the Skeltons!’ They’re such an influential family. They’re so generous and really carry out the university motto of ‘Ut Prosim.’

“I wasn’t sure that I was going to win because I know how competitive it is. It’s amazing how driven the student-athletes are here, not only sports-wise, but also off the field. To be honored amongst all my friends in athletics, it’s really amazing because there are a lot of great student-athletes here.”

Bose, a rising junior from Norfolk, Virginia, led the Tech women’s golf team this past season, recording five top-25 finishes in 11 events encompassing the fall and spring semesters. She came in third at the Starmount Fall Classic this past fall and recently came in 21st at the ACC Championships.

Bose is pursuing a degree in biochemistry, with also seeking minors in both chemistry and French. She spent a portion of last summer doing undergraduate research that involves basic metabolism and studying enzymes under the direction of Dr. Robert White, a professor in the department of biochemistry, and a doctoral student.

She somehow balances classes, golf, research and homework. She hasn’t narrowed her final career objectives yet, but admits being interested in research, which compelled her to pursue a research opportunity last summer.

“I wanted to see what research really was since I had an idea in my mind,” she said. “I realized that I needed experience to see what I’d be getting myself into. I was only going to do it during the summer [last summer], but the people in the lab that I’m in trust me enough to let me in the lab at night, and that’s a really special opportunity. I don’t think that’s typical.

“It’s been a worthwhile experience just seeing everything that goes into science and seeing and how much commitment it takes – and patience. Everything moves around all the time. It’s been cool to see how I can use skills from golf in science. The frustrations that I feel are very similar in both settings, which has been cool, just from the patience and perseverance that it takes.”

Gallo, a rising senior from Richboro, Pennsylvania, has been a two-year starter for the Hokies as a center on the offensive line. He started 25 games over the previous two seasons, including 12 of the 13 games in which he played last season.

Gallo plans on graduating in May of 2018 with a degree in finance. He has been named to the ACC All-Academic Football Team on two occasions – an honor that requires student-athletes to maintain a cumulative 3.0 grade-point average during his/her academic career.

He worked an internship last summer for the Wadsworth Group at Morgan Stanley, a wealth management firm in Roanoke, Virginia, and he plans to do so again this summer.

“I’ll have a different role, and I’m not sure what that will be, but last summer, I had a great experience and I’m looking forward to returning this summer,” he said. “When I decided to major in finance, it just seemed to be the jack-of-all-trades when it came to business. Essentially with a finance degree from Virginia Tech, you can do anything business related just because it’s such a strong business school and such a strong finance program.

“Besides from that, I was looking to challenge myself in the classroom, and I thought that finance was going to be the biggest challenge for me. That’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to have a versatile degree, and I wanted to challenge myself along the way.”

In addition to naming Bose and Gallo as the Skelton winners, the athletics department also named its ACC Scholar-Athletes of the Year. Those honors went to men’s swimmer Brandon Fiala and volleyball standout Lindsey Owens. Fiala graduates in May with a degree in finance, while Owens graduates with a degree in biology.

The department also honored those with the highest GPA during the 2016 calendar year, and that group included Torben Laidig (men’t track and field), Brooks Wilding (wrestling), Hanna Green (women’s track and field), Jennifer Boyles (women’s soccer), Anissa Dadkhah (women’s soccer), Murielle Tiernan (women’s soccer) and Nick Stegmuller (cheerleading).

The department recognized its 2016 All-Academic Team, which includes the top student-athlete academically in his/her sport. The list for this all-academic team include Greg Donlon (men’s basketball), Mac Caples (baseball), Brent Musselman (men’s cross country), Brandon Facyson (football), Drew Johnson (men’s golf), Rodrigo Zampieri (men’s soccer), Fiala (men’s swimming), Jason Kros (men’s tennis), Laidig (men’s track and field), Wilding (wrestling), Regan Magarity (women’s basketball), Green (women’s cross country), Bose (women’s golf), Tara Feehan (lacrosse), Breanna Davenport (softball), Boyles (women’s soccer), Dadkhah (women’s soccer), Tiernan (women’s soccer), Caroline Buscaglia (women’s swimming), Caroline Daxhelet (women’s tennis), Erica Hjerpe (women’s track and field), Katie Krueger (volleyball), Regan Wu (managers), Hellen Samuel (trainers), Stephen Dixon (video), Stegmuller (cheerleading), and Maggie Mitchell (HighTechs).

In all, more than 300 student-athletes were recognized at the AD’s Honors Breakfast, including all those who achieved a grade-point average of 3.0 or better during one or both semesters in the preceding calendar year.

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