By David R. Cohen

david@atljewishtimes.com

Emory grad student Megan Light has been awarded the NCAA’s Today’s Top 10 award.

Megan Light

Light, a two-year captain of the Emory softball team, was one of 10 student athletes honored for her work on the field and in the classroom and for her contributions to society. The selection was based on the 2013-14 sports season when Light was a senior at Emory.

“It’s really rewarding personally to be recognized,” Light said. “It’s not just an award for athletics; it’s an award for athletics, academics and leadership. So to see how much all that hard work has paid off is really rewarding. All the studying, all the practices and all the other commitments that I have grown to love throughout the years, they have all been recognized.”

As Emory’s career leader in home runs, slugging percentage, runs batted in, doubles and total bases, Light’s on-field résumé speaks for itself. She also served four years as the softball team representative on Emory’s campus and in 2013 was selected to play for Team USA in the World Maccabiah Games, where she won a gold medal.

Her volunteer work includes stops at Atlanta homeless shelters and at Global Health Action, where she worked with donors on the Left-Behind Children program in China. Light grew up as a member of Temple Emanu-El in Sandy Springs and attended North Springs Charter High School.

“For me, I knew going into college that I was not going to be a professional softball player,” Light said. “Going to a school like Emory, I knew that I wanted to get an education that was going to lead me into a career of doing something that I loved. Playing a sport helped facilitate where I wanted to go to school, but it was really only a small part of it. I wanted to be able to be well rounded and have experiences that would help me in my career.”

She is pursuing a master’s at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health.

Light has been to Israel twice and said her favorite Jewish athlete is Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax. She was also one of nine finalists for the 2014 NCAA Woman of the Year award and was awarded the Charles Shepard Scholarship for her postgraduate studies.

“Winning this award and being Jewish is a boost of confidence to Jewish athletes,” she said. “It really doesn’t matter what religion you are; you can find a college to play sports at where you will feel comfortable.”