April 23, 2018

Monica Velazquez-Stiak: Big Ten Medal of Honor Finalist


After being an outstanding student-athlete at the Ohio State University for the last four years what has been the most rewarding experience or opportunity during your time here? 

The most rewarding experience I have had during my time at Ohio State is being introduced to people and opportunities that fostered my growth not only an athlete, but as a person. Our coaches want us to be successful, strong women outside of the pool as well as in it, and make it their mission to foster our growth in that way. Ohio State and SASSO also do everything they can to make sure we are set up to be outstanding employees as we graduate and move on from athletics. I am so grateful for the opportunities I have been granted with and the people who have put so much effort into our growth as athletes and as people.


What makes you a good candidate for this award? Is there anyone in particular you would like to thank for helping you during your time at Ohio State?

I am honored and humbled to be nominated as a candidate for this award and to stand among my fellow student-athletes who are incredibly successful and decorated athletes as well as students. Each one of us has been dedicated to the Buckeye Nation and to being leaders on the field and in the classroom. It has been such a privilege for me to compete for Ohio State and end my career as a 3-time national champion, 3-time scholar athlete, and 4-time All-American. I would like to thank my coaches, Holly and Suzanna, a thousand times over for always believing in me and pushing me in every aspect of my life. I would also like to thank TJ Shelton for being an incredible mentor and always giving me encouragement and support.

In your opinion what does it mean to be a student-athlete, especially at a university like Ohio State?

To me, being a student-athlete means having the responsibility to influence those around you and even a larger population. We, as student-athletes, have the power and opportunity to influence people especially since we are part of a large university that has many eyes on us at all times. We have the opportunity to be stewards of the reputation of The Ohio State and to help people see how much we value the people and the tradition of our university.


After graduation how do you plan to take what you have learned as a student-athlete into the business world/professional athletic endeavors?

Ohio State has taught me a plethora of values including integrity, commitment, and passion. I plan to use these values that have been instilled in me to be the best employee I can be as I enter the business world. Being a student-athlete has taught us how to commit to a goal and strive to achieve it through our passion for the mission and that is something that will set us apart from other employees.