Emily Gibson has a college career that’s tough to beat – quite literally.

The Johnson City native played defense for SUNY Broome’s Hornets Women’s Soccer team, which won the national championship last fall, the third in their history. She was named the Most Valuable Defensive Player during that 3-0 game against Erie Community College. Gibson, who allowed just 13 goals in 22 matches, also made the National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s Junior College Division III All-American Second Team.

And just recently, she scored the ultimate goal – joining the 77 recipients of SUNY’s 2016-2017 Scholar Athlete Award, which recognizes outstanding academic excellence and academic achievement.

“It’s recognition for all the hard work I’ve put in for my schooling and my education,” Gibson said of the Scholar Athlete Award, which was announced recently by SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher.

A Liberal Arts and Sciences major who graduated from Seton Catholic Central High School, Gibson is graduating this spring – but she’ll be back on campus in the fall. Her goal: Get the courses she needs to ultimately transfer into Binghamton University’s new School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Her mother, who worked in the medical field and came home with fascinating stories, inspired her career choice.

“In pharmacy, you almost know more than doctors do,” Gibson said. “I want to be able to help the community in a definite way.”

Gibson was initially accepted into BU, but opted for SUNY Broome after receiving the Presidential Honors Scholarship. The option to play soccer under Coach Bill Rich was also a draw.

“I wasn’t ready for the full university experience,” she admitted. “I figured it would be a good stepping stone.”

Gibson’s involvement in athletics augmented her college experience in unexpected ways. For one, it’s easier to adjust to college life when you have forged connections with 17 peers on the field even before classes begin.

Playing a sport also helped her academically, teaching her to plan ahead and prioritize her study-time.

“Soccer actually helped me with time management skills; you build your schedule around it,” she explained. “You can’t just study on the bus. It makes you work harder.”

Going forward, she hopes to keep on playing soccer, but not on a competitive level. She’s playing offense on her education, and looking forward to scoring a great career as a pharmacist.

In the classroom, she appreciates the accessibility and knowledge of her professors – and especially the small class sizes.

“The one-on-one attention really makes a difference,” she said.

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