Gophers Recognized for Outstanding Community Service
Jan. 23, 2018

A few of our University of Minnesota student-athletes were honored this year at every football game this season. The reason for their recognition? Going above and beyond in their local community. Read here as these Gophers made a difference in their community.

Sophie Skarzynski is a junior women's hockey defenseman from Lake Forest, Ill., has been active in the community throughout her athletic career. She has volunteered numerious hours with multiple organizations, including Athletes Answer to Hunger, The Herb Brooks Foundation, Masonic Children's Hospital and Unlimited Dance Marathon. She has also volunteered with the Gopher Experience program, which focuses on sharing the importance of education and athletics to local middle school students.

Mehvish Safdar, a senior women's tennis star from Mason, Ohio, has been a staple in the Gopher Athletics community service program. She has volunteered numerous hours with multiple organizations, including Masonic Children's Hospital, HopeKids, Camp Odayin and is a frequent visitor at local elementary schools. She also has gained valuable experience as a student-athlete development intern. Safdar has also volunteered with Inner City Tennis to share her love of the sport with inner city youth.

Sam Carlson, a junior men's cross country runner, hails from Bemidji, Minn. Carlson has volunteered his time with many organizations over the course of his career. Some of which include Big Brothers Big Sisters, HopeKids, as well as a frequent volunteer at the UMN Fairview East Bank Emergency room. Carlson aspires to attend medical school and continue to serve the community as a physician.

Palma Kaposi, a junior women's basketball player from Pecs, Hungary, has been active within the community since she first arrived on campus. Kaposi spent many hours with the Special Olympics Minnesota, Twin Cities Marathon and Masonic Children's Hospital. She also enjoys spending time with local elementary youth to stress the importance of education and living a healthy lifestyle.

Nicolle Murphy is a red-shirt senior thrower from Arkansas City, Kansas. Since arriving on campus, Murphy can also be found as an active member in her community. She has volunteered numerous hours with the Ronald McDonald House, Masonic Children's Hospital and the Unlimited Dance Marathon. She also advocated to elementary students the importance of living a healthy lifestyle (excerise and eating right) and was on the planning committee for the 2016 HopeDay Festival as a student-athlete development intern.

Nick Lackney is a junior pitcher from Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin. Since arriving on campus, Lackney has volunteered through multiple organizations, including Be the Match, Habitat for Humanity and the Highland Friendship Club. He has also been a part of ACES, an organization that focuses on educating students in the community.

Rylee Streifel, a sophomore from the wrestling program, hails from Prior Lake, Minn. Since coming to campus in 2016, he has already made an impact in the local community. He has volunteered at Feed My Starving Children, HopeDay, and a variety of youth wrestling clinics. Steifel has also visited local elementary schools and has spoken to middle school kids about being a U of M student-athlete.




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