A special award was bestowed upon NIU women's soccer defender Lauren Noonan on Friday as the junior was named one of five recipients of the Forward, Together Forward Scholarship.
Noonan is the first student-athlete to win this distinguished award in its six years of existence.The scholars are chosen through multiple criteria including strength of character, work ethic, motivation, inspiration, respectfulness to others, integrity and intellect. The recipients come from across the university and are defined by their service to others, selflessness and their academic excellence.
The Forward, Together Forward scholarships are presented to five current NIU undergrads each year dating back to 2009. The scholarships honor the memory of five NIU students who lost their lives on Feb. 14, 2008.
The Naperville, Ill. native carries a 3.87 cumulative GPA as a speech-language pathology and audiology major. The standout junior has been named to the Academic All-MAC women's team twice as well.
She has also been successful in the Huskies back line since she was freshman in 2011, earning 49 career starts in her three seasons with NIU. During her sophomore season, Noonan was a part of the defense which tied a Mid-American Conference best that allowed only 19 goals in the regular season.
But Noonan's contributions off the pitch have been what have gained her accolades from her peers and her service to the community has been one of her most attractive assets.
For the past two years, the Huskies defender has mentored a student from Clinton Rosette Middle School in DeKalb. The eighth grader has a lot to deal with outside of school and lives a difficult life while not inside its protective walls so Noonan visits the school twice a week while offering advice, support and encouragement.
She's also a regular at the DeKalb County Rehab and Nursing Center during Bingo Night. For almost every Tuesday night during the past two years, Noonan has been at the center. Through this, the defender has created close relationships with one special resident who has, in her words, become almost like "another grandfather" to her.
The junior is involved in community service events held at local schools and helps with charity projects with the NIU women's soccer team. She is also a LEaD (Leadership Enhancement and Development) Huskies member.