UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Former Penn State Nittany Lion fencer Gavin Turner has been awarded the prestigious Walter Byers Graduate Scholarship. Turner earned four years of letters at Penn State, competing in men’s saber. He becomes the first Penn State athlete, male or female, to be honored as a scholarship recipient.
Turner graduated from Penn State in 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences and Health Professions. During his academic career, he was an undergraduate researcher for the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Penn State for 2.5 years. After graduating, he was accepted into the University of Pennsylvania Medical School where he received his MD – MD in August 2021.
He is now enrolled at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania after serving as research program coordinator at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, a position he held since June 2020.
In 1988, the National Collegiate Athletic Association established the Walter Byers Scholarship to recognize the former executive director’s contributions in encouraging academic excellence in student-athletes. Each year, one male student-athlete and one female student-athlete are awarded a $24,000 Walter Byers Scholarship in recognition of their outstanding academic achievement and potential for success in graduate school. It is expected that a person named Scholar Byers will be recognized as one who has combined the best elements of mind and body to achieve national honor for their achievements and promises to be a future leader in the career field that she chose. .
The Walter Byers Graduate Scholarship is separate from the NCAA Graduate Scholarship, which offers numerous annual awards with smaller stipends. The stipend for each Byers scholarship is $24,000 for one academic year. If the graduate school where the Byers scholar is enrolled provides evidence of the scholar’s satisfactory performance and progress, the grant may be renewed for a second year. Therefore, in a single year, scholarships worth $96,000 are awarded ($48,000 to current year winners and $48,000 to previous year winners for their second year graduate studies).
Turner had 82 career wins for Penn State during his four years as a competitor. He was also a three-time Academic All-Big Ten winner.