Wednesday afternoon, Sharonda Johnson LeBlanc will defend her doctoral dissertation in the field of nanoscale science entitled: Electric Field Dependent Spectroscopy of Single Nanocrystal Systems.
On average, this is not a headline often found on the sports pages.
But Sharonda Johnson LeBlanc is not average, by any stretch of the imagination.
Johnson is a former all-America triple jumper for the Charlotte 49ers. She earned her undergraduate degree in chemistry with a 3.89 GPA. She was a three-time academic all-America. In fact, in 2003-04 she became the first 49ers student-athlete to earn both athletic and academic all-America honors in the same season. She went on to earn a second NCAA all-America honor in the triple jump during the 2006-07 season.
She was named the Arthur Ashe Jr. National Female Sports Scholar of the Year in 2005, becoming the first 49er student-athlete to be recognized with that National Scholar-Athlete of the Year award.
She continued her studies at UNC Charlotte in nanoscale science -- and is now defending her dissertation.
"Our goal is to develop quality individuals who perform well in the classroom, on the playing fields and in community service," Director of Athletics Judy Rose said. "Sharonda is the epitome of everything we strive for. She is a wonderful individual -- accomplished, bright, driven. We could not be more proud of her."
Johnson earned Academic all-America honors in 2004, 2006 and 2007 and was an NCAA all-America in the triple jump at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2004 (11th place) and the NCAA Indoor Championships in 2007 (11th place).
She won the Conference USA Championship in the Indoor Triple Jump in 2004 and 2005 and the Outdoor Triple Jump in 2004. In the Atlantic 10, she claimed the indoor title in the high jump in 2007 and the outdoor titles in the triple jump in 2006 and 2007 and she qualified for the NCAA championship in the triple jump four times. She also helped the 49ers women's track and field team sweep four Atlantic 10 titles in 2006 and 2007.
The 49ers have a proud history of academic excellence. The 49ers have had a cumulative departmental GPA of 3.0 or higher for each of the last six years.
Johnson-LeBlanc owns three of the 49ers 39 academic all-America honors, which includes 27 since 2003-04 when she won her first.
Since joining the Atlantic 10 seven years ago, Charlotte has won eight of the possible 14 male and female Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards.
And while Johnson was the first, the 49ers have had several student-athletes follow her as both academic and athletic all-Americas.
Maybe earning her PhD in nanoscale science will be trend-setting as well.
JOHNSON'S HIGH HONORS
2003-04- Sharonda Johnson, Triple jump (Outdoor, 11th)
2006-07- Sharonda Johnson, Triple jump (Indoor, 11th)
Academic all-America presented by CoSIDA:
2003-04: Sharonda Johnson (Women's Track & Field) Chemistry- 3rd Team
2005-06: Sharonda Johnson (Women's Track & Field) Chemistry- 2nd Team
2006-07: Sharonda Johnson (Women's Track & Field) Chemistry- 2nd Team
Arthur Ashe Jr. Female Sports Scholar of the Year:
2004-05: Sharonda Johnson (Charlotte, Women's Track & Field)