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2 February 2022
UWC Student Awarded “Impactful” Scholarship
University of the Western Cape (UWC) student Carenna Neely’s academic year started on a high note after she was awarded the National Strength and Conditioning Association Foundation’s (NSCAF) Women’s Scholarship for 2022.

This $2000 (about R30 000) scholarship is designed to support women, ages 17 and older, to enter the field of strength and conditioning - and Nelly fits the bill.

She is registered with UWC’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Sports Science and Development (ICSSD) to pursue her doctoral study which aims to apply a human-centered design approach to engage township youth,  through weightlifting, for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

“This scholarship makes it possible for students like me to take a unique step forward in the field of strength and conditioning,” Neely commented. “It allowed me to expand the skills I have learned to reach people outside of the United States, specifically into low-income communities. My goal is to enhance sport for development initiatives by bringing new perspectives together to address socio-economic problems.”

Nely, a passionate athlete from Lancaster County in Pennsylvania, United States, said she was grateful to NSCAF for the scholarship. “To me, this scholarship demonstrates the NSCAF’s commitment to reaching people in impactful ways. It shows people around the world that sport is a valuable tool for addressing social ills, and that strength and conditioning can amplify those benefits. Winning this award encourages me to keep moving forward in my pursuit to engage more people for our Global Goals”.

"Congratulations to Carenna for this well-deserved honour," said Dr Nicole Dabbs, NSCAF Foundation Board President. "She is an outstanding student with an extremely bright future. We are proud to support Carenna in her studies to be a future leader of the strength and conditioning industry.”
Neely passed the National Strength and Conditioning Association Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist exam and graduated from Shippensburg University with her B.S. in Exercise Science in 2014, with a minor in Coaching. Upon graduation, she worked for a year as a Field Hockey and Strength and Conditioning Coach at Transylvania University, before taking an opportunity to play field hockey in Spain.

In 2017 she moved to South Africa to complete her M.S. in Sport Science at Stellenbosch University. During her time there she founded a non-profit organisation, REN Hockey, which is focused on addressing socio-economic inequalities through sport. She presented at the BRICESS conference in 2019 and the ICSD Conference in 2021.

The NSCAF Foundation was founded in 2007 with the aim of supporting the advancement of strength and conditioning practical applications. Since its establishment, the foundation has awarded 120 grants and 440 scholarships, totalling over $2 million, to outstanding individuals within the strength and conditioning community.