Track and field phenom Nadia Lee ’17 bound for BU Law


When asked to describe Nadia Lee, her coaches can’t help but gush. According to one, “She is the type of person a coach may get a few times in their career, if they're fortunate: the total package student–athlete.”

A native of Tucker, Georgia, Lee, 22, is a member of the College’s Class of 2017, having recently graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a minor in Spanish. Though less than a month out from graduation, Lee is already making her mark as an alumna, due in part to her unrelenting drive and follow-through. Those characteristics alone do not amount to Lee’s total impact, however.

A dignified, compassionate and service–oriented scholar, Lee endured many challenges to work, study, practice and compete. Thanks to her determination, Lee overcame those challenges, ultimately excelling at LEC as a standout member of the track and field team in addition to her academic and extracurricular pursuits. She credits the community at LEC for helping support her success.

“I needed to develop a certain level of discipline to be successful,” she said. “The faculty were flexible enough that I could do it all, but strict enough that I had to learn more precise management skills.”

In her many endeavors, Lee’s method resembles that of the triple jump, her main track event: a hop on the takeoff foot, a step on the other and a jump into the landing area. Most recently, her approach helped her land a full scholarship to the prestigious Boston University School of Law, a top-20 program, where she will begin classes in the fall of 2017.

“While it was exciting to watch Nadia represent the Storm at the national level in her sport, it was more fulfilling watching her attain her dream of enrolling at a top law school,” said Athletic Director Reid Guarnieri, recognizing Lee’s grueling application process which involved applications to nine schools overall.

To realize her dream of attending law school, Lee took on tough courses in the Honors and political science programs and worked as a resident assistant, an experience she views as a key component of her personal development.

“As an RA, I learned to be a more effective communicator and a better relationship–builder, which is key for becoming a lawyer,” she said. “Part of applying to law schools was showing them that I can handle the rigors of a legal education—that I was prepared to think critically and logically.”

The quintessential role model, Lee devoted herself to improving the local community in her four years at Lake Erie College. Campus leadership opportunities such as her RA position opened the door to challenges that forged a dynamo. She distinguished herself as president of the student government in her senior year, one of the roles she credits with building her sense of accountability and her instinct for taking smart risks. In office, she notably popularized the motto, “It’s a great day to be a storm.”

Through her service as co-president of the Black Student Union, Lee performed a vital function in the development of her peers. Her inquisitiveness and notoriously precise criticisms inspired classmates, teammates and her residents to elevate their minds, characters and works. Her mentors and peers have called her a “positive influence” and “team leader” with a “consistently great attitude.”

Lee’s leadership skills and positivity helped to land her several fulfilling internships during her time at LEC, including a counselor position at Fitchburg State University’s Upward Bound, a college preparatory program for disadvantaged, first generation college hopefuls. Lee hopes to specialize in educational law to provide opportunities and protections for students. She is completing an internship with the Lake County Port Authority this summer as well, prior to starting law school.

To round out her successes as of late, Lee recently received the honor for LEC Female Scholar–Athlete of the Year, an award recognizing her many impressive athletic achievements, which command respect. On top of a packed schedule and excellent academic record, Lee was named five times to the GLIAC All Academic Excellence Team, in addition to winning the D2 Indoor and Outdoor All-Academic Award in 2014, ’15, ’16 and ’17. She capped off her collegiate career with a 12.40-meter jump at GLIACs, a nearly 41-foot leap, which was one of her 26 overall wins in the triple and long jump events. Lee has been a 7-time All-GLIAC performer in the Triple Jump (soon to be 8-time), 4-time All-GLIAC in the Long Jump (soon to be 5-time), 2-time National Qualifier and 2-time All-Region. She holds the school record in the indoor and outdoor triple jump.

An athlete’s career is never certain, and Lee’s has been no exception. She missed qualifying for the national championships by mere centimeters on several occasions, but by way of her admirable tenacity, she rallied for peak performance in her final outdoor track season. The 2-year team captain will gun for All-American at the 2017 D2 National Championships in Bradenton, Florida this weekend.

“Nadia has had a fantastic career at Lake Erie,” said Track and Field Head Coach Grant Lofdahl. “She's given more to this school than any coach has a right to expect from a student-athlete.”

A combination of close mentorship, encounters with diverse perspectives and lengthy commitments led to many defining experiences in this alumna’s life. All of us at Lake Erie College are incredibly proud of Nadia Lee and wish her the best in her future endeavors. As she likes to say, “It’s a great day to be a storm.”

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