WSU swimmer earns ’29 Who Shine’ award

WESTFIELD – Westfield State University senior student-athlete Carly Thibodeau (Mendon) has been recognized as the University’s “29 Who Shine” award recipient for 2020.
The “29 Who Shine” awards are presented annually by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education to graduates of the 29 state colleges, community colleges and universities throughout the Commonwealth, who exemplify the values of community service and academic experience. Each school’s candidate is nominated by a faculty or staff member.
Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, this year’s ceremony, scheduled at the State House in Boston, was canceled. Westfield State honored Thibodeau’s accomplishment at the Westfield State University Board of Trustees at its quarterly meeting, held virtually on April 30.
An economics and environmental science major with a 4.0 cumulative grade-point average, Thibodeau is a recipient of the Westfield State University President’s Award for Excellence in Leadership and completed a senior honors thesis titled “Consumer Preferences for Sustainable Certification in Costa Rica’s Tourism Industry.”
Her involvement and leadership on campus included serving as captain of the women’s swimming and diving team, president of the University’s student ambassadors, an assistant in the Office of Student Affairs, a tutor for the Banacos Academic Center, and a lifeguard at the University’s pool.
“To be Westfield State’s 29 Who Shine Award Recipient honestly is a feeling hard to put into words,” Thibodeau said. “I have worked so hard to be involved in as much as I can at WSU, and get the most out of my time here. Though it has been cut short, receiving this award has made the loss a little easier knowing that I experienced all I could at Westfield State, and made memories (including receiving this award) that I will cherish forever.”
After graduating from Westfield State, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in sustainability at Tufts University. “I hope to work to improve sustainable practices in large corporations, by promoting strategies for reducing carbon footprints and implementing business policies that lead to a healthier planet,” said Thibodeau.
Thibodeau is a four-year member of the women’s swimming and diving team, serving as captain as a senior. She was a top performer in the butterfly events for the Owls, placing 14th at the New England Intercollegiate Swimming and Diving Association championships this winter.
Thibodeau is the third Westfield State athlete to receive the honor in the last five years. Javelin national champion Travon Godette ’16 and cross country and track and field All-American Jessie Cardin ’18 were previous honorees for Westfield State.
The 29 Who Shine Awards were first instituted in 2011, and recognize students who show exceptional promise as a future leader in civic affairs or in business or professional activity in Massachusetts; intend to pursue a career track or interest for which there is a demonstrated need in the Commonwealth, such as high-demand STEM-related careers, start-up business that will produce jobs, or community service roles to better the lives of fellow Massachusetts citizens; and plans to continue living and working in the state upon graduation. – Courtesy of Westfield State University Sports

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