CORVALLIS, Ore. — The Dr. Leroy Walker Champions of Character Award is one of the most prestigious awards in the NAIA. It recognizes a current student-athlete with at least a junior academic status who has demonstrated outstanding academic achievement, campus and community leadership, embracing the five core character values of the NAIA Champions of Character initiative, athletic achievement and future ambition.
Carroll College’s Taryn Neameyer embodies just that. She is a four-time All-Cascade Collegiate Conference honoree, but it’s her work off the field that shows her true character. The senior women’s soccer player intentionally practices the five core character values of the NAIA Champions of Character initiative: integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership daily.
“It is an honor to represent the Cascade Conference for the Dr. Leroy Walker Champion of Character award,” said Neameyer. “For me, this honor means that I have been blessed by the best. I cannot receive this honor without giving it back to everyone in my life. I am very grateful for the gifts that God gave me, especially my family, teammates, coaches, professors, and those I have had the opportunity to serve, who have shaped me into the person that I am today.”
Neameyer, a midfielder for the Saints, graduated this past spring Magna Cum Laude with a degree in nursing. She was named to the Dean’s List all eight semesters, was a three-time Academic All-CCC selection and a two-time NAIA Scholar All-American. Neameyer also was honored the Carroll College St. Sebastian Halo Award – which embodies qualities of courage, honor and service – as well as the Hunthausen Citzenship Award – awarded for outstanding contributions to the college and community through service.
The Bismarck, N.D., native volunteers what spare time she has as a Peer Minister, which supports freshman women at Carroll College throughout their daily lives. She helped lead the women to deepen their faith by attending mass, praying, reading the Bible and how they interacted with peers. She led faith-based small groups, as well as weekend retreats and weeklong service trips.
While most college students take the time during Spring Break to get an escape from school by sleeping or vacationing, Neameyer traveled with a group of students to Denver (2017) and Chicago (2018, 2020) to serve those living on the margins. She served food to people living in poverty and homelessness, treating each individual as a child of God.
Neameyer also volunteered as a Young Life Leader, spending 10 hours a week ministering to high school students, and was a Special Olympics track coach, training Special Olympic athletes to compete in running, throwing and jumping events.
As a nursing major, Neameyer spent 750 hours in clinics, assisting with a variety of different health departments. She helped with labor and delivery, Veterans, disorders, elderly and more.
Between studying for her nursing finals, volunteering countless hours to the community, and practicing with the Saints, Neameyer has shown she embodies what it means to be a Champion of Character.
“I was humble to be nominated to represent Carroll College for this award,” Neameyer said, “and it is even more humbling to now represent the Cascade Conference.”
— Cascade Conference1 comment