Mullarkey Named Rhodes Scholar

Swarthmore senior Cait Mullarkey is the winner of a Rhodes Scholar for 2009, one of 32 named this past weekend.  She is the 17th student-athlete to earn a varsity letter and a Rhodes Scholar while at the College.

Mullarkey (Wilmington, Del. / Ursuline Academy), an honors biology major, becomes the 30th Swarthmore student (fifth female) to receive the honor and the sixth since 2000.  The award provides $50,000 a year to study at the University of Oxford in England.

Mullarkey has been a central figure in Swarthmore athletics since coming to campus in 2005.  She has earned varsity letters as a member of the women’s soccer team, the indoor and outdoor track & field teams, and played one season on the College’s basketball team.  In 2007, Mullarkey received the Eleanor Kay Hess Award from the Swarthmore head coaches, given to the sophomore woman who exemplified a love of athletics, leadership, hard work, fairness and objectivity, and contributed to her sports through skill and dedication.  She has served on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and written articles for The Phoenix, the College’s student-run newspaper.

A two-time team captain of the Garnet women’s soccer team, Mullarkey has been the central figure of the program’s turnaround. In 2008, the Garnet (10-4-6 overall, 5-1-4 CC) won a second consecutive Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (E.C.A.C.) South Region Championship, appeared in the Centennial Conference playoffs for the third straight season and traveled to the top-ranked team in Division III, winning 4-3 at the College of New Jersey.  It was just the second time in 10 years the Lions’ suffered a home loss.

Mullarkey recently became the first defender to earn All-Centennial First-Team honors all four years and has been named All-Region twice by the National Soccer Coaches of America Association (NSCAA).  Mullarkey is the vocal leader on a Swarthmore defensive unit that is second in the Conference in goals-against average (0.56), goals-allowed (12), and shutouts (13).

Mullarkey has excelled on the track as well, winning the Conference indoor 800-meter event in 2007 while holding the school record in the 3000-meter steeplechase.  She has collected eight medals at the Conference track championships and is listed six different times on the College’s top-ten performance lists.  During the 2008 outdoor season, she ranked in the top-30 in Division III for both the 800 and 3,000 steeplechase.

Off the field, Mullarkey has garnered a host of academic honors.  She was recently named to ESPN the Magazine Academic All-America team (the 10th Swarthmore student-athlete), has been listed on the Centennial Conference Academic Honor Roll seven times, and was named Philadelphia Inquirer Academic Performer of the Year for women’s soccer by the Philadelphia-Area Sports Information Directors Association (Philly-SIDA) at the end of last season.

On campus, Mullarkey is active on the Student Activities Advisory Board and conducts cell biology research.  A McCabe Scholarship recipient upon admission to Swarthmore, she spent last summer at Georgetown Medical School researching malignant glioma, a type of brain cancer discovered in the diagnosis of Senator Ted Kennedy.

Mullarkey is the second Swarthmore female student-athlete to win the Rhodes Scholar, joining Janice Hudgings ’91 (women’s soccer), and the third three-sport varsity letter recipient (first since Franklin J. Apfel ‘67).

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