Lycoming student-athlete to be honored at NCAA Convention

Jessie Gallagher, a native of Cheltenham, Pa

Jessie Gallagher, a native of Cheltenham, Pa

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — On Wednesday, Jan. 14, Lycoming College senior swimmer Jessie Gallagher will not be swimming in the Warriors tri-meet with King’s and FDU-Florham. In fact, she won’t even be in the same state as the rest of her swimming counterparts.

Towards the end of the summer, Gary Brown of the NCAA’s Champion magazine, sent out a mass e-mailing to all sports information directors in the country. He was searching for any talented student-athletes that excel in their respective sport and show unique artistic abilities.

The initial process involved sending the names, academic and athletic accomplishments, and art samples to the editors of the magazine. They received work from more than 100 qualified student-athletes competing in all divisions across the country. Amongst the masses was Gallagher’s list of accomplishments and samples of her digital photography.

A few days later, Brown e-mailed personally to express his excitement about a unique realm of digital photography Gallagher had experimented with. Amongst the samples initially sent in were two photographs taken underwater. The idea of combining the passion for the pool with her artistic passion excited the editors, who asked to see more underwater photographs.

After getting some new equipment and spending a weekend with her favorite model, her younger sister Lauren, Gallagher submitted a new batch of underwater photos.

Again, a personal e-mail from Brown was sent, acknowledging how impressive the editors felt her unique photographs were.

A few weeks later, Gallagher was informed that she had been selected as one of the finalists and was going to be featured in the next online issue of the magazine. Along with being publicized, she will be given a unique opportunity that only 20 student-athletes in the country will have.

The NCAA invited all 20 finalists to its annual convention in Washington, D.C., to display their work and be celebrated for the accomplishments. Gallagher, and 19 other student-athletes from across the country, will have her work displayed in a gallery throughout the convention that runs from Jan. 13-17 at the elaborate Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center.

On the 14th, she will be honored at a reception to officially mark the opening of the art show, titled “Statements.”

While her passion for swimming remains strong in her senior season, she knew this opportunity was one she could not pass up. Head coach Jerry Hammaker knew it as well, only telling her that she had to go the convention and not to worry about the meet.

Gallagher, a native of Cheltenham, Pa., will graduate this May with a degree in photography and commercial design. She has been a member of the Dean’s List in each semester at Lycoming and serves as the secretary for Kappa Pi, the art honors society. She has also earned multiple All-Conference honors in the pool and is the top butterfly swimmer on the Lycoming women’s team. Along with her responsibilities with the swim team and Kappa Pi, Gallagher also works in the sports information office, helping with photography and design for the Web site and athletics publications.

Last summer, she had the privilege of working with 1996 Nobel Prize winner Dr. Baruch Blumberg, who earned the distinguished honor in 1996 after developing a vaccination for the Hepatitis B virus. She spent the summer working as a personal assistant in Blumberg’s office.

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