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(L-R) Julie Karn, Jessica Lubert and Giuliana Pallotta are the finalists for the 2017 Outstanding Women of Laurier Award (Photo Credits: Kha Vo)
(L-R) Julie Karn, Jessica Lubert and Giuliana Pallotta are the finalists for the 2017 Outstanding Women of Laurier Award (Photo Credits: Kha Vo)
Outstanding Women of Laurier Award finalists
WATERLOO, Ont. (March 9, 2017) - Wilfrid Laurier University’s Department of Athletics and Recreation has announced the three finalists for this year’s Outstanding Women of Laurier Award. The annual award will be presented at a dinner on Thursday, March 23rd at Bingemans Conference Centre.

Being awarded for the 12th time, the Outstanding Women of Laurier (OWL) Award recognizes a female Laurier student who combines athletic and academic achievement with an active commitment to leadership and the development of young athletes through community teaching or coaching. The event has generated more than $325,000 for women's athletic programs, scholarships and Laurier's mentor coaching program since it began in 2006. 

Karina LeBlanc, a goalkeeper who was a member of the 2012 Olympic bronze medal winning Canadian women’s soccer team, will deliver the keynote address, while Susan Cook-Scheerer, Host and Associate Producer of the Region’s favourite talk show, daytime on Rogers TV, will host the event. 

The finalists for the Outstanding Women of Laurier Award include (in alphabetical order): 

Julie Karn: Karn is a third-year kinesiology and physical education major from Waterloo, Ont., and a midfielder for the Golden Hawks women’s soccer team. Joining the purple and gold back in the 2014 season, Karn has made 31 starts for the Hawks over her career, registering five goals and one assist. During the 2015 season, despite missing time due to an injury, the graduate of Bluevale CI was named an OUA Second Team All-Star as she helped Laurier win the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Silver medal and advance to the national championship. Away from the pitch, Karn, who has also danced professionally since the age of 14, has given her time to teach young dancers at various dance studios in Kitchener-Waterloo while also working with Education of the Next Generation which provides curriculum-based dance workshops to students in the Toronto Catholic School Board. She has also volunteered her time canvassing for the Canadian Cancer Society and the Heart and Stroke Foundation and is in the process of becoming an In-School Mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo.

Jessica Lubert: Lubert is a fifth-year education major from Elmira, Ont., and a midfielder for the Golden Hawks women’s lacrosse team. The team rookie of the year back in her first season in 2012, Lubert has been an integral part of a Laurier team that has won two OUA Bronze medals during her career, including this season when she helped the Hawks to a thrilling 12-11 overtime victory in the Bronze medal game. A team captain for the last three years, Lubert has been recognized with the OUA Academic Achievement Award three times in her career, including 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15. Outside of her time as a Laurier student-athlete, Lubert has given back to the community as a coach with the Kitchener-Waterloo Minor Lacrosse Association for the past four years and was recognized with the association’s Volunteer of the Year Award in 2016. Studying to be a teacher, Lubert has also been able to bring lacrosse into the public schools in Waterloo Region as she founded a middle school girls lacrosse league, a program which has run for the last two years during phys. ed. classes, after school or during lunch breaks.

Giuliana Pallotta: Pallotta is a fourth-year psychology major from Beeton, Ont., and a defenceman for the Golden Hawks women’s hockey team. Since joining Laurier for the 2015-16 season, after transferring back to Canada from Minnesota State, Pallotta has been one of the Hawks’ most reliable defenders and this season served as the team’s captain. Dressing in 47 games, Pallotta has one goal and nine assists during the regular season and added an assist in Laurier’s run to the conference semifinals a year ago. Away from the rink, she has volunteered her time with Toronto General Hospital by providing mentorship to young girls and families struggling with eating disorders. Pallotta was also actively involved in this year’s Bell Let’s Talk campaign, representing Laurier on a conference-wide discussion meant to break the stigma surrounding mental health. She has also served as a counsellor with Laurier’s Female Hockey School and represented student-athletes at the Athletics and Recreation fundraising golf tournament, the Laurier Golf Classic.

Leblanc, this year’s keynote speaker, enjoyed an outstanding college career at the University of Nebraska, where she was a finalist for the Hermann Trophy, awarded to the top female college player in the NCAA, in 2000.

She would go on to become Canada’s first two-time CONCACAF champion, winning titles in 1998 and 2010. She played in two Pan American Games as well, helping Canada win gold in 2011 in Mexico by stopping two penalty shots in the final. In 2012, she made her one hundredth appearance with the national team and finished her career with 110 appearances and 101 starts, finishing her career with 47 clean sheets.

Leblanc possesses a contagious energy and loves to ensure that everyone around her truly enjoys what they're doing as she challenges people to LIVE LIFE PURPOSEFULLY and being the best version of themselves daily. 

Outside of soccer, she has served in a number of different capacities including a UNICEF ambassador, motivational speaker, broadcaster, on-air personality, host and emcee. As well, this past summer, she was an Olympics Analyst with CBC and Yahoo! during the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. 

The Outstanding Women of Laurier luncheon leadership sponsors include: RBC Royal Bank and Miller Thomson LLP.

For more information about the Outstanding Women of Laurier dinner, or to purchase tickets online, please visit www.laurierathletics.com/owl.
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