HADLEY, MASS. - A total of eight women, representing seven institutions, have been nominated to represent the NESCAC as its NCAA Woman of the Year nominee. A committee of conference administrators will select the NESCAC's representative for the award.
Two of the eight nominees are from Williams College. Women's soccer standout Nkem Iregbulem who was started in the back on two Eph NCAA title teams in 2017 and 2018 and track and field standout Summer-Solstice Thomas who was a key member of the Eph indoor team that won the 2019 NCAA title.
The NCAA Woman of the Year Award honors graduating student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, service, and leadership.
Nkem Iregbulem, Williams – Women's Soccer
Iregbulem, a member of the women's soccer team at Williams, graduated with a 3.61 GPA as a double major in economics and mathematics. A four-time Dean's List student, she was also a three-time NESCAC All-Academic selection while also earning United Soccer Coaches (USC) Scholar All-America honors.
Iregbulem contributed in several areas of the Williams campus community. She was a Shift Leader at WRAPS (Williams Recovery of All Perishable Surplus), a program that packages surplus dining hall food into individual meals and delivers them to nearby low-income homes. She served as the Public Relations Manager of the Economic Student Advisory Committee and participated in the Figure Skating Club and Board Games Club. She also volunteered at the Head Start Program in Lomita, Calif., the Lomita Magnet School in Lomita, Calif., and at the George de la Torre Elementary School. Iregbulem also worked as a student manager in the Office for Information Technology at Williams and was an economics teaching assistant.
A defender, Iregbulem earned United Soccer Coaches First Team All-America honors as a senior and was an All-NESCAC and all-region selection this season. She helped the Ephs win back-to-back NCAA Championships in 2017 and 2018 and reach the Elite 8 in 2016 and 2019.
Summer-Solstice Thomas, Williams – Women's Indoor & Outdoor Track & Field
Thomas graduated cum laude as an environmental studies major at Williams and competed on the indoor and outdoor track & field teams. She posted a 3.85 GPA, was a Dean's List student every semester, and earned the Williams College Class of 1925 Scholar-Athlete Award in 2020. She was selected as Class of 1960s Scholar in environmental studies and a Henry Luce Scholar, as she will continue her studies in Cambodia where she will work on reforming water quality regulations. She earned honors in environmental studies for publication of an original senior thesis and is an associate author of a paper to be published this fall in the Journal of Basic and Applied Ecology. Thomas was also elected to associate membership in Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society.
Thomas co-founded Educating for Change, an initiative to increase education on the Williams campus about issues of difference, power, and equity, and was a member of the Claiming Williams organization, a group that ran events designed to promote more conversations and learning about issues of difference, power, and equity. She was one of six captains selected to the Williams Captains Council, which represented the 85 team captains in athletics. The Captains Council advises the athletic department and student-athlete advisory committee. Thomas also served as the event coordinator for Anything But Straight in Athletics.
Thomas worked as a teaching assistant in the Geoscience and Chemistry Departments, was a veterinary extern at the California Wildlife Center, and was a research intern for the Center of Health, Environment and Justice. She also worked as a research assistant for the Hoosic River Watershed Association and the Williams Geoscience Department.
Thomas was a six-time NESCAC and USTFCCCA All-Academic selection in addition to being a six-time All-American. She placed fifth in the pentathlon at the 2018 and 2019 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships, and finished sixth and fourth in the high jump at the 2017 and 2018 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships, respectively. She posted a sixth-place finish in the high jump at the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Thomas helped the Ephs record three straight NESCAC Women's Outdoor Track & Field titles, three straight New England Indoor Track & Field crowns, an NCAA Indoor Track & Field Runner-Up finish in 2018, and an NCAA Indoor Track & Field National title in 2019.