Indianapolis, Ind. (July 30) -- MIT women's volleyball senior Abby Bertics (La Jolla, Calif.) has been put forward by the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) as one of the league's two NCAA Woman of the Year nominees. Bertics was one of a record 585 institutional nominees from three Divisions and joins Smith College's Lauren Bondi as the two NEWMAC nominees.
Established in 1991, the NCAA Woman of the Year award recognizes graduating female college athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves in academics, athletics, service and leadership throughout their collegiate careers.
Bertics was selected as the Google Cloud Academic All-America Team Member of the Year for women's volleyball and was an Academic All-America First Team selection for the second straight season. In addition, she became the fourth MIT student-athlete to be honored as the Google Cloud Division III National Academic All-America Team Member of the Year.
In 2018, Bertics was named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association All-America Third Team for the second year in a row. She was tabbed for her second NEWMAC Athlete of the Year honor, becoming the second player in program history to receive this award multiple times.
Bertics earned a spot on the NEWMAC All-Conference First Team, as well as the New England Women's Volleyball Association All-New England First Team. She finished first in Division III in kills per set (4.97) while ranking fifth across all NCAA divisions. Bertics led the NEWMAC in kills (437) and kills per set and placed fifth in hitting percentage (.304).
A three-time NEWMAC Academic All-Conference Team qualifier, Bertics graduated as a double major in electrical engineering and computer science with a minor in linguistics. Last summer as a software engineering intern at Google, she contributed to Google Analytics' system of answering natural language queries and added capabilities to parse a query in multiple ways, increasing the quality of query understanding as well as allowing more versatility in the types of answerable queries. While conducting a UROP in natural language processing with CSAIL, Bertics applied natural topic and semantic analysis techniques to extract ascertainment sentences from cancer research papers for meta-analysis.
The NCAA encourages member schools to honor their top graduating female student-athletes each year by submitting their names for consideration for the Woman of the Year award.
The selection committee will determine the top three honorees from each division from the Top 30 and announce the nine finalists in September. From those nine finalists, the NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics then will choose the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year.
The Top 30 honorees will be celebrated and the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year will be named at the annual award ceremony on October 20th in Indianapolis.