MIAMI LAKES -- Barry University women's tennis player Akemi Maehama was awarded with a student-athlete scholarship Tuesday night during the Women's Athletes: Reach for the Stars ceremony at Don Shula's Hotel & Resort's Grand Slam Ballroom. The award was presented by Delta Psi Kappa and The Sports Society, which honors Miami area athletes.
Delta Psi Kappa is a national professional physical education organization whose purposes are to promote interest in health, physical education and recreation, while providing opportunities for professional growth. The Sports Society is an organization of community leaders in business, industry and education whose mission is to promote opportunities for women and girls in sport.
Maehama received the lone college athlete award during the presentation.
Barry University's former Human Performance & Leisure Sciences Dean Dr. Jean Cerra also was honored during the evening's award presentation. Cerra received a lifetime contributions award for her dedication to physical education and athletics, notably at Barry University.
Maehama, a sophomore from North Miam Beach, received the award based on her academics, athletics and personal need. The oldest of five sisters, Maehama moved to Florida from Japan on July 4, 2007.
Maehama carries a 3.84 grade point average in physical education. As a tennis player, she is 18-0 as a singles player in her two-year career. She is 8-0 in doubles in her first two seasons with the Buccaneers. This year, Maehama is 10-0 in singles and 4-0 in doubles, playing as high as No. 3 singles and No. 2 doubles.
Her advisor, Dr. Tal Amasy, encouraged Maehama to apply for the scholarship. As part of the application process, she had to explain how she would use the award, why she needed it, and how she would apply it to gain more experience in her field of study.
"It was very surprising," Maehama said. "I wasn't expecting on winning it. God really blessed me with this scholarship. It's very helpful for me and my parents to win this award. I would like to thank everybody who helped through all the critical moments and hard times."
Maehama, a member of Barry's 2011 NCAA Division II National Championship team, will compete with the No. 2 nationally-ranked Buccaneers next week at the national championships in Louisville, Ky.