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Mason alum Sharon Dorsey runs a race on a track

Sharon Dorsey, a 2018 Mason graduate, was a six-time Atlantic 10 Conference sprint champion and three-time Provost Scholar Athlete Award winner. She is also one of 152 nominees nationwide for NCAA Woman of the Year.

Dorsey in Running for NCAA Woman of the Year

For Sharon Dorsey, being a star member of Mason’s track team raised her campus profile. But she said it was her classes and experiential learning opportunities that paved her post-graduation path.

“I matured through college because of my experiences,” Dorsey says. “They gave me more confidence that I know what I am doing.”

Dorsey, who graduated in May 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in environmental science, works for KCI Technologies in her hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. As part of the company’s Natural Resources Management Division, she does bio-assessments and inventories of forests, wetlands, and streams on client properties.

Nena Rogers, Mason Athletics’ senior associate athletic director for academic services, says she isn’t surprised Dorsey is on a fast track.

“Sharon, from the start, presented herself as one of those unique and extraordinary individuals,” Rogers says. “She was willing to step into not only the Mason community but a leadership role.”

Dorsey received the 2018 Susan A. Collins Leadership Award, given to the Mason athlete who best exemplifies the leadership qualities set by former Mason senior associate athletic director Sue Collins.

She is also one of two nominees from the Atlantic 10 Conference for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award. The next step is for the NCAA to cut the pool of 152 conference nominees to the top 30.

The award, to be presented in October, honors graduating female college athletes who have exhausted their athletic eligibility and distinguished themselves in academics, service, and leadership.

“Very humbling and a very big surprise,” says Dorsey, a six-time Atlantic 10 sprint champion, of her nomination. “I’m happy [Mason] felt I gave a little back to the program.”

Dorsey was a member of the Honors College while at Mason, and a three-time winner of the Provost Scholar Athlete Award. She was also vice president of the Student Athlete Advisory Council, a founding member of the Honors College Multicultural Alliance, treasurer of a Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter, and an Atlantic 10 Conference student representative.

Through Mason’s Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research (OSCAR), Dorsey researched how treated wastewater affected plant growth. A summer internship at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge gave her experience in saltwater and salt marsh integrity studies.

“She took advantage of what you tell students all the time, ‘Get involved. Those experiential learning opportunities —take advantage of those,’ ” Rogers says, “and she did that.”

“It gave me confidence going forward,” Dorsey says. “I know my skill sets. I know my abilities. When I’m given a task, I know I can rise to the occasion because I’ve been through these situations before.”

“Everything I’ve done has been a learning experience,” she adds. “I give my resume to potential employers, and they are amazed.”

And they haven’t even seen her run.