Riyana Owens, of Red Lion, is a 2021-22 recipient of Lock Haven University's (LHU)
Frederick Douglass Emerging Leader Scholarship. Owens is a senior dual majoring in
biology (pre-medicine) and psychology with a chemistry minor.
Outside the classroom, Owens is a standout sprinter for the LHU track team. She received the Frederick Douglass Emerging Leader Scholarship for her leadership skills both in the classroom and on the track.
Along with boasting a GPA above 3.8, Owens competes in the 60, 200, 400, 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 meter relays. She finished second in the 60m at the 2021-22 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Indoor Championships, and also scored for the Bald Eagles in the 200-meter event.
In February, she became the first woman in LHU history to break the 25-second mark in the 200-meter dash. Owens also set the school record in the 300-meter dash in December. Her 41.88s effort in the 300m destroyed the previous school record, and her 7.55 showing at the PSAC Indoor Championships set a new school record in the 60m, earning her a trip to Nationals.
"It means a lot for me to be a member of the LHU track team," Owens said. "If I had not spent the last four years on the team, I believe I would be an entirely different person. Being on the team has helped me stay focused on my academics and keeps me motivated to better myself, whether that be on or off the track."
Owens also lauded her scholarship as being pivotal in aiding her academic and athletic success. Not only because of the financial boost it provides, but the cascading impact the assistance has on her ability to manage her time and nurture her mental health.
"Receiving a scholarship is very helpful because instead of having to make time to find an off-campus job to help pay for my education and living expenses, I can spend that time and energy focusing on my studies, as well as my own personal wellbeing," Owens said.
"I would encourage all students to apply for scholarships," She added. "Having one less stressor that comes with financial uncertainty will allow students to place their time and energy on their academics and other beneficial extracurricular activities."
The family-like atmosphere at LHU is something else Owens credited as part of her success at The Haven. She said her coaches have had a tremendous impact on her development and said faculty are extremely helpful and supportive as they push her toward achieving her academic goals.
Owens said her main draw to LHU was the strength of its health science program. In the future, she aims to attend medical school to become a medical doctor, and to work in the fields of neuroscience and neurodevelopment.
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