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June 21, 2010

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Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) senior field hockey standout Kelly Johnson of Buxton, Maine, was selected to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America At-Large team by the College Sports Information Directors of America (Co-SIDA) on June 10, 2010. Johnson, who graduated May 15, took home first-team honors and was named a first team All-New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference defender.

Johnson joins Ben Gilde '09 as WPI's only other three-time Academic All-America student-athlete.  She was a second team recipient in the at-large division last spring, and is the eighth Engineer in any sport to be named first-team Academic All-America.

To be eligible for Academic All-America consideration, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.30 on a scale of 4.00, have reached sophomore athletic and academic standings at his/her current institution, and be nominated by his/her sports information director.

A mechanical engineering major and entrepreneurship minor with a perfect 4.00 GPA, she was the team's top scorer with 11 goals and one assist. A member of the Alpha Phi Omega co-ed fraternity and president of SocComm (WPI's social committee), she is a two-sport standout who was named to the 2010 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Softball College Division second team last month. As a senior, Johnson led the WPI field hockey team to a 12-7 record. And, in 2009, she served as team captain, leading the New England Women and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) with 10 defensive saves that same year. As a first-year student in 2006, Johnson was named NEWMAC Rookie of the Year for field hockey.

In her academic career, Johnson completed one of her two required research projects in Thailand in 2009, where she and her fellow teammates focused on ways to improve the food delivery system at the Queen Sirikit Centre for Breast Cancer. For her senior capstone project, she researched how to improve the design of walkers. This fall, Johnson will attend graduate school at Stanford University. 

Playing sports provides the structure that is essential for students, who must be effective time managers if they are going to succeed at WPI, according to Johnson. "You really need a structure at WPI," she said. "Sports provide that. It also gives you an instant group of friends, a team whose support, resources, and connections you can rely on."

Read the Portland (Maine) Press Herald article about Johnson's achievement.