Two-year captain of the multi-champion Great Danes women's basketball team, Cassandra Edwards points to a future of helping minority youth and sufferers of PTSD. (Photo by Mark Schmidt)
ALBANY, N.Y. (April 17, 2017) — One of the most well-known personages on the University at Albany campus, Cassandra Edwards is hardly a stranger to honors.
The Brampton, Canada, native, who graduates in May with an honors degree in Psychology, along with a minor in Criminal Justice, was a 2014 winner of a Spellman Achievement Award for academic achievement and in 2016 won a second Spellman, this time for distinguished leadership. The accolades reflect her undergraduate career as a scholar, research assistant and community volunteer.
Her greatest recognition, however, has come from being a four-year member of the women’s basketball team — the last two as captain — which in that time won four America East Conference championships and made four appearances in the NCAA Division I Tournament.
This spring, Wilson was named the winner of the Martin and Jean Goldsmith Scholarship for the third year in a row. The Goldsmith scholarship, generously established by Martin ’68 and Jean Goldsmith, provides support to a member of the women’s basketball team who has demonstrated high academic achievement.
“Cassie is an outstanding student-athlete and an amazing young lady,” said Great Dane Head Coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee. “She is a true role model for everyone. Her leadership and striving for excellence on the court and in the classroom will truly be missed.”
Edwards receives her Chancellor's Award from Nancy Zimpher and Interim President James Stellar.
Edwards has already started her graduate work as a UAlbany master’s degree candidate in Mental Health Counseling. After completing the Master’s, she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology.
A course that combined aspects of both her major and minor fields was her favorite, “Psychology, Cultural Diversity and Social Justice,” which explored the psychological effects of various types of oppression — i.e. racism, heterosexism and classism — as they impinge upon specific communities and individuals within the U.S.
“The class, taught by Kieran Maestro, was small and intimate and was very powerful, affecting my outlook on life and how I interact with others,” said Edwards. “The class discussions were important and vital to learning. I believe I am more understanding, patient and empathetic of others, and more aware of social issues than I was before enrolling in this course.”
In addition to her plans for graduate school, Edwards looks to future globetrotting. “Being a student-athlete, I had the honor of traveling throughout the U.S., but in future years to come I would love to visit the Caribbean, a few countries in Africa, and participate in a European tour,” she said. “I want to experience different ways of life and foods, and I think the best way to do so is to emerge myself in these different cultures.”
Ten years from now, she sees herself in research, helping minority youth and individuals suffering with substance-abuse or PTSD. “More importantly in 10 years I would like to be satisfied with all I have accomplished thus far, and settled down with someone I love, and potentially have a family of my own,” she said.
Edwards said she will value several facets of UAlbany: quality of academic preparation, “friendships and sisterhood” that will last a lifetime, and the mental toughness and such skills as time management and teamwork she acquired as a Great Dane student-athlete. “UAlbany also prides itself on diversity, and the appreciation of culture is something I will always take with me,” she said.