Former Polk County soccer standout Caroline Lee has been named a recipient of the 2020 Steve McCarty Citizenship Award by the Southland Conference.
The McCarty award recognizes a male and female student-athlete who exhibit outstanding qualities in citizenship, sportsmanship, leadership and community service. The honor is named for the former Stephen F. Austin athletic director, who served at the school for 21 years, including 15 as athletic director.
Stephen F. Austin men’s basketball student-athlete Nate Bain was the male receipient.
Lee was a four-year defender on the Southeastern Louisiana soccer team, earning Commissioner’s Honor Roll recognition each season. Additionally, she has been the Southland Conference national SAAC representative for the past three years. In that role, she has represented her fellow student-athletes in Southland Advisory Council meetings and has earned national recognition on various NCAA Committees.
Her Southland SAAC duties have led her to a vice-chair position on the NCAA Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and she was recently selected to serve as a student liaison on the newly formed NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports and the NCAA COVID-19 Advisory Committee. Last month she participated on the panel of the NCAA’s Social Series, along with NCAA Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brian Hainline, regarding the importance of mental health.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Lee has been working directly on the healthcare frontlines as a respiratory therapist for North Oaks Health System in Hammond.
Over the past few summers, Lee participated in missionary work and lived in an all-girls orphanage in Honduras. She started a service club working with local ESL elementary school students and also found time to coach a U6 girls soccer team in Hammond to give back to the game that gave her so much.
Lee graduated with honors earlier this month from Southeastern Louisiana. She will continue her work and plans to pursue her master’s degree and hopes to become a physician’s assistant.