Shanice Howard

Shanice Howard

President's Scholar

College of Applied Sciences and Arts

Why did you choose your major?

As a freshman at San Jose State (2007-2008) taking general education courses, I spent a lot of my spare time trying to decide which career path I wanted to take.  It was, in fact, one of these GE classes—EDCO4—that helped me narrow down my options to English, athletic training, or physical therapy.  I have always loved to write, so I considered having a career as a novelist.  However, my years of involvement in athletics and my personal experiences with injuries exposed me to the world of medicine and instilled in me a passion for the treatment of bodily injuries.  Undecided, I developed a list of all of my work values and the things that I want to get out of my work.  Eventually I decided that my desires to work closely with people and enhance their well-being in addition to my distaste with the idea of sitting at a computer all day led me to declare myself a kinesiology major and pursue a career as a physical therapist.

What does receiving this particular award mean to you?

I am extremely pleased to be receiving the President’s Scholar Award.  It is a testament to all of the hard work I put into every aspect of my academics.  I am a perfectionist in my work, and I have high expectations for myself.  It is immensely gratifying to have my efforts recognized and commended by my university and my professors.

Who has been instrumental in your life and/or who has contributed to your academic success?

Without question I would not have achieved academic success without the support and encouragement of my mother, Ida Martin-Howard.  Her bright mind and commitment to achieving excellence taught me everything I needed to know about how one should approach every task in life, including academics: put in your best effort and you will see results.  As a college student, the San Jose State Gymnastics team has also been instrumental to my academic achievements.  As a senior on the team, it is easy for me to reflect back on the countless times that my teammates and I sat down and outlined our team’s main goals for the year—every year “top team GPA of all SJSU sports teams” has been one of our goals.  Thus, by striving for top grades in my classes I know I am contributing to my team’s goal.

Did you overcome any hardships or adversities during your life, that has helped shape who you are today?

The summer before entering my freshman year of high school I quit gymnastics, a sport that I had been doing since the age of five.  A year and a half went by before I realized that I was still in love with the sport, and I decided to try to make a comeback.  I can honestly say it was one of the hardest things I have ever done.  I had to push through physical challenges, overcome setbacks, including injuries and fear, and fight the urge to simply give up when it seemed like I would never achieve my former skill level.  But after 10 months of strenuous training I was finally ready to compete again.  My “great comeback” resulted in an athletics scholarship to SJSU, enabling me to continue participating in gymnastics and furthering my educational aspirations.

What would you say to other students to encourage or inspire them to attain academic excellence?

If you have a dream, only you can make it come true.  Take it upon yourself to do whatever it takes to reach it.  Realize that exceptional performance in your academics will open many doors for you in the years after college; so it is absolutely worth the effort.  In the words of Abraham Lincoln, “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.”

Where would you like to be in 5-10 years?

In the next five years I will have completed graduate school and begun my work as a licensed physical therapist.  In ten years, I will be running my own physical therapy practice, starting a family, and loving my life.

A few words from her nominating professor:

"She's a star of the women's gymnastics team, has an amazing GPA and a really 'nice' person! She received the award for the highest athlete GPA this year."
-Dr. Shirley Reekie