In 1972, the historic Title IX was passed, granting women equality in education and athletics. Since its implementation, female student athletes across the nation have taken advantage of their opportunities to compete and receive an education.
Saint Louis University Athletics promotes opportunities for women through the Get Her in the Game Scholarship. This scholarship is annually awarded to one female student athlete at SLU who may be financially unable to pursue her education. The scholarship is usually gifted to an incoming freshman to be used for four years. This year’s recipient was a different case. Field hockey junior Mica Diaz received the scholarship amounting to $6,000 per year.
The forward from Buenos Aires, Argentina fell into a difficult situation recently. With increasing inflation in Argentina, the financial burden was increased on Diaz and her family. Money for college shrank as USD conversion fell and devalued savings for Argentinians across the country.
“Our goal is to bring our community together,” said Senior Associate Director of Athletics Dr. Janet Oberle on the scholarship, “and really celebrate the role that young women play and that sport plays in their life.” Oberle helps select a candidate from coach recommendations, and this year, Diaz was chosen.
Head coach Danielle Baumgardner recommended Diaz for the scholarship with knowledge of the issues in Argentina and the importance that SLU and field hockey have had on her. Diaz accepted the scholarship and was well received by a vast network of scholarship donors. The Get Her in the Game Scholarship is funded through direct donations at the annual Lewis Rice Get Her in the Game Women’s Sports Luncheon. Started in 2006, the luncheon promotes scholarship and athletic opportunities for female student athletes at SLU. This year’s luncheon, held Sept. 25 at Lorenzini’s Restaurant inside Chaifetz Arena, raised over $80,000 for scholarship recipients, more than any year prior.
The keynote speaker was Enterprise Holdings Foundation president Carolyn Kindle Betz whose name may be familiar because of her involvement with the new St. Louis MLS team. Betz talked about the importance of following one’s dream and never giving up. Diaz said it was just what she needed to hear. “She gave me her contact info,” Diaz said. “She’s the kind of woman I want to be in the future.” And that is the crux of the scholarship: investing in the next generation of female leaders.
Diaz said the event was intimidating at first. With no academic or field hockey awards, she initially felt undeserving of the praise, but she got acclimated seeing people’s genuine care for her story. Diaz met a lot of great people, one of whom stood out because of some common heritage.
Committee member Aimee Oyenard married a man from Argentina, and that connection spoke to Diaz, who thinks a lot about home. Talking to Oyenard reminded Diaz how grateful she is for the opportunity to be in St. Louis, saying, “Most of the people back there [in Argentina] don’t want to be there. They would die for the opportunity I have.” It was reassuring for Diaz to know that she had another person who understands her situation, and also to know that Oyenard would have her over for an Argentinian meal anytime she feels homesick.