Iona Alumna receives Arthur Ashe Jr. Award


Matthew Chaves, Sports Editor

Class of ’20 Iona College graduate Tamantha Pizarro has received the Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Award after graduating with a 3.65 GPA. 

The award is given by the NCAA to students of color who perform both in the classroom and out in their sport. Recipients also show a strong commitment towards their communities and student leadership, according to 

Pizarro is studying to get her master’s degree in applied mathematics at Arizona State University after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Iona. She raced with the track and field team during her time with the Gaels. She also earned 12 different Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference All-Academic Team placements in that time span. 

It takes discipline and balance to receive such an award, and Pizarro had both throughout her undergraduate career. It was a tough in the beginning, though. 

“It was a bit of an adjustment for me,” Pizarro said via phone call. “I would say probably my second year, I started getting more adjusted to that discipline and structuring my schedule.” 

Once Pizarro got into the rhythm of things, she rode that momentum all the way to graduation, even achieving at 4.0 GPA in the 2019 fall semester. The amount of discipline that got her to that point during her undergraduate career won’t be enough for graduate school though, according to Pizarro. 

“I have to be even more strict, I would say, with doing homework and being on top of it,” Pizarro said. 

While the run at Iona was a great one for Pizarro, with her last wins in track and field being the 200-meter at Army West Point Twilight and the 400-meter at the Brian Horowitz Invitational, there’s still things she would’ve done differently, mostly around the beginning of her undergraduate career. 

“I wish I was a bit more on top of the classes I struggled with,” Pizarro said. “I wasn’t used to struggling in classes.” 

Balance wasn’t the only trait Pizarro learned during her time at Iona. Being present and performing when she needed to be is a major trait that has been engrained into Pizarro’s work ethic after working with one of the best track and field teams in the MAAC. The mindset of knowing that hard work will pay off has become part of her everyday mentality, Pizarro said.  

Pizarro still keeps in touch with friends and family here in New York while she studies for her master’s in Arizona.