Macalester College's Jeffrey Yamashita Named 2011 CWPA Men's Collegiate Club Scholar-Athlete of the Year

Jeff Yamashita
Jeff Yamashita

BRIDGEPORT, Pa. -- The Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) announces the selection of Macalester College senior Jeffrey Yamashita (Sr., Honolulu, Hawaii/Iolani School) as the recipient of the 2011 Men's Collegiate Club Scholar-Athlete of the Year award.

The highest honor bestowed by the league to an active collegiate club player, the award recognizes an outstanding senior student-athlete who has achieved success in both the scholastic (3.25 or higher cumulative grade point average) and athletic arenas while possessing a spirit which provides service to the community.

Athletes were nominated by their respective Department of Athletics with each CWPA institution eligible to nominate a female student-athlete for the award with the recipient being selected based on a points system derived from Community Service, CWPA Academic Honors, Scholastic Achievement and All-Conference/All-National Collegiate Club Tournament selections over their career.

It marks the second individual student-athlete award presented to Yamashita in the past month as he was recognized as the Macalester College Senior Male Varsity Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Further, it marks his third honor in two seasons as he also garnered the 2010 Macalester College Junior Scholar-Athlete of the Year award.

A History and American Studies major who completed his studies with a 3.85 cumulative GPA, he achieved success both in the water, the classroom and in his community to garner Scholar-Athlete accolades from the league.

Named to the All-Heartland Division first team three times (2008, 2009, 2010), he garnered All-America second team nods in both 2009 and 2010.  In addition, he notched Superior (2008) and Outstanding (2009, 2010) CWPA Scholar-Athlete Team nods during his career while serving as the primary contact for the Macalester men's water polo club during the past three seasons.

A varsity swimmer at Macalester, he helped the Scots swimming team set a record this past winter in the 200-yard medley relay and holds Top-Five times on the program's all-time honor roll in the 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle and 200-yard butterfly.  In addition, he scored points for the Scots at this year's Minnestoa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) Championship in three different events. 

Away from the pool, Yamashita exceeded his water polo and swimming accomplishments in the community serving the collegiate community on a number of committees and boards at Macalester.

He gave back to the Macalester Department of Athletics by serving on both the Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC) and the Student-Athlete Perception Focus Group.

On the SAAC (2008-to-2011), he served as the swimming team representative and was active in assisting the Department of Athletics in recruiting more athletes of color.  In addition, he was active in a variety of community service projects that spanned from supporting Breast Cancer Awareness month to exposing children in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul to various sports.

The Co-Chair of the Student-Athlete Perception Focus Group (2009-to-2011), he worked to create a more inclusive community at Macalester and to dispel the myth that the athletic department was an unsafe environment for minorities - women, racial minorities and gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered individuals.

In the general campus community, he served as a member of the Asian Student Alliance  (ASA) from 2008-to-2011, including a term on the organization's Executive Board.  During his tenure on the ASA board, he helped shape the ASA's mission of "promoting the awareness, education and outreach of/for Asian and Asian-Americans on campus and in the Twin Cities by supporting civic engagement, community building and campus awareness."  While a member of the ASA, he assisted and led a number of community service projects, including assisting Hmong immigrants through collegiate programs.

During the same period, he served as a member of the Asian Pacific Awareness (APA) Month, an organization directed towards celebrating the visibility, education and solidarity of Asian, Asian-Americans and allies on the Macalester campus.

Active in the academic community, he served as a research intern at Kapiolani Community College (May 2008-to-August 2008) and Amicus, Inc. (August 20-to-May 2010).  At Kapiolani, he analyzed Japanese-American oral interviews and supplemented them with historical information in contributing to the "The Hawaii Nisei Story: Americans of Japanese Ancestry during WWII" project. 

During his time at Amicus, a legal services company, he continued his work with Hmung ex-inmates, refugees from the Laotian Civil War, at Amicus researching ways to serve the group in regards to housing, employment, and emotional support.  He completed his tenure by creating a briefing booklet which addressed the situation of the Hmong in the Twin Cities and possible solutions to assist the Hmong ex-inmate population.

A Moore Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (MURAP) Fellow from May 2010-to-June 2010, he worked with Dr. Jennifer Ho at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill on a comparative study between Japanese American soldiers and draft resisters during World War II.  He completed an independent Research Project entitled “No-Yes Men: Japanese American Racialized Masculinity and Citizenship during World War II.”

Following his time at MURAP, he served as an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Recruitment of Teachers (IRT) from May 2010-to-March 2011, assisting in IRT's  mission "to reduce over time the critical under-representation on school faculties of certain minority groups, as well as to address the attendant educational consequences of these disparities."

In addition, he served as a Mellon Mays Undergraduate (MMUF) Fellow with Dr. Christopher Scott at Macalester College to complete a transnational comparative study between the Japanese-Americans in the U.S. Army with the Korean soldiers in the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II.  He completed his fellowship by authoring an  Independent Research Project entitled, "Minority Cannon Fodder: Japanese American and Korean Resistance during World War II.”

A recipient of a Eugene Cota-Robles Fellowship and a Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship Honorable Mention, Yamashita is currently pursuing Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies at the University of California-Berkeley with a 2016 anticipated completion date.

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