With five years of NCAA eligibility under her belt, UCF alumna Kaye-Alese Green is one of 480 nominees for the 2015 NCAA Woman of the Year award.
The award, now in its 25th year, honors graduating female student-athletes across Divisions I, II and III programs who have exhausted their eligibility and have shown exemplary performance in academics, athletics, community service and leadership.
"It's such a large honor," Green said. "They have so many wonderful athletes that they could pick from, and to think that I was the one to be the representative in such a national pool of women, I was a little tickled and rather flabbergasted that they would pick me."
The former volleyball standout is one of 10 AAC candidates in consideration for the award and the only volleyball player representing the American for 2014-15.
Before her redshirt senior season, Green was the only student-athlete out of 20 members to be awarded UCF's most prestigious honor, Order of Pegasus — one of seven in school history.
"Kaye-Alese is the epitome of the term student-athlete," former athletic director Todd Stansbury said in a press release in February announcing her Order of Pegasus selection. "She has developed outstanding leadership skills during her time as a student-athlete here at UCF. We're very proud of Kaye-Alese and all that she has accomplished as a Knight."
She attended the Burnett Honors College as a LEAD scholar, made the 2014 AAC First Team and was a member of the President's Leadership Council for three consecutive years while most served only two.
Green also earned three Conference USA Commissioner's Academic Honor Roll honors and an American Athletic Conference academic award for the 2013 season.
"I'm a firm believer in you just make it work," Green said. "I'm one of those people who sort of tries my best at whatever I'm doing and just moves along through life."
In December 2013, she graduated with a bachelor's degree in psychology with honors and is graduating with a master's degree in public health and urban education in August. Her intentions are to attend medical school following graduation to pursue a career as a pediatric psychiatrist specializing in trauma.
Green said she wanted to concentrate in this field because a high school track and field coach enlightened her with a phrase that is now forever forested in her mind: "The richest place in the world is the graveyard because that is where most of the world's potential lies."
"So many people bleed out on living a full life because of things that happen to them," she said. "If we can meet people when they're young and give them the tools to succeed — and maybe we can't save that generation, but we save their kids. It is just now something that is bursting out of my heart and is a great encapsulation why."
Green said she never thought of herself as just an athlete and that she always had a desire to pursue other avenues outside of sports with her mindset as her greatest ally.
"I wanted people to know my name for me, and then to knew I played athletics second," she said. "I didn't want to be a volleyball player whose name was Kaye-Alese Green, I wanted to be Kaye-Alese, who happened to be an honors student, a volleyball player and a LEAD scholar.
"I've never been good at loving just one thing."
The American will be selecting two nominees to advance in the award selection process, which will be forwarded to the Woman of the Year selection committee, which will choose the top 30 honorees — 10 from each division.
Of this year's 480 nominees, 207 are in Division I schools, 93 are in Division II schools and 180 are in Division III schools.
The selection committee will narrow down the top nine finalists in September — three from each division. The winner will be announced at the annual award ceremony in Indianapolis on Oct.18.
Brian Goins is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future . Follow him on Twitter at @byBrianGoins or email him at BrianG@CentralFloridaFuture.com