Tess Wei '17 is one of two student-athletes selected to represent the Centennial Conference as a nominee for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award, which is presented annually to a graduating student-athlete who has distinguished herself throughout her collegiate career in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, service, and leadership.
Wei, a cross country and track and field standout from Philadelphia, Pa., graduated this spring as an honors major in studio art with an honors minor in sociology & anthropology and a course minor in art history. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and was Swarthmore's nominee for the Rhodes and Marshall scholarships in 2016.
Wei's passion for art extended beyond the classroom into the List and Kitao art galleries on campus. As an intern, Wei researched, designed, wrote, and published the List Gallery's 25th Anniversary Catalog. Wei also served as the campus arts director for the student-run Kitao Gallery in her senior year.
"Advocating for the outreach of the arts on campus is something I am invested in because the arts present a unique site wherein interdisciplinary ideas, conversations, and innovations come to fruition through visual language," she wrote in her personal statement. "The visual arts are catalysts for bridging disciplines, inspiring discourse, and providing depth and breadth to the culture of a community."
In addition to her work at Swarthmore, Wei interned at the Barnes Foundation's art conservation department in Philadelphia and held an art residency at the Ballinglen Arts Foundation in Ballycastle, Ireland. Pieces from her senior exhibition will be purchased by the College through the Art Department's Frank Solomon Jr. Student Art Purchase Fund, which recognizes one student per year.
After playing varsity soccer in her freshman year, Wei joined the cross country team as a sophomore. In her junior season, she was named to the All-Centennial Conference Second Team with a 13th-place finish at the championship meet. Wei also earned NCAA Mideast All-Region Honors that year as the Garnet's top regional finisher, finishing 23rd among 334 participants. She rounded out her breakout season as a member of the Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area Team and as the Centennial Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award for women's cross country, given to the All-Conference team member with the highest GPA. In 2016, Wei ran the Philadelphia Marathon in 3:05.16, finishing sixth in her age group and 39th among women overall.
The Woman of the Year selection committee will select the top 30 honorees – 10 from each division – from the conference nominees. From among those 30 candidates, the selection committee determines the top three in each division and announces the top nine finalists in September. The NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics will then vote from among the finalists to determine the 2017 NCAA Woman of the Year. The top 30 honorees will be honored and the 2017 NCAA Woman of the Year winner will be announced at the annual ceremony in Indianapolis on Sunday, Oct. 22.