ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - To say that UCF women's soccer forward Tishia Jewell is a go-getter is an understatement.
She has won nearly every award there is to win as a player. She graduated with her bachelor's degree two years after stepping foot onto UCF's campus. And when she made the decision as a high school freshman to enroll full time at Brevard Community College, she wasn't about to let a little thing like age hold her back.
"I just remember my first semester the other students were all in their 20s and I was 14," Jewell said. "I was being dropped off at the community college by my mom.... I was the quiet kid who just sat at their desk and did everything the teacher said."
Jewell, now a dual-masters student at UCF, epitomizes the term student-athlete. She graduated with her bachelor's degree in psychology in spring 2011 prior to a stellar fall campaign on the soccer field, where she helped the Knights advance to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Championship for the first time in 24 years.
Did we mention she also earned All-American recognition both on the field and in the classroom in the process?
"She's a very hard worker. She just has great character and work ethic," said Sarah Hill, assistant director of academic services for student-athletes. "She's always smiling, happy and great to work with. She's just a good person to be around."
Jewell began playing soccer at the age of four. She grew up in an active family with three siblings, but soccer called to her more than the others.
"I just always enjoyed playing, and I knew I was good at it because I enjoyed doing it," Jewell said. "That's why I stuck with it."
In high school, she shined brightly as a leader for Satellite High in Satellite Beach. She was named as the 2007 FSHAA 5A Most Valuable Player while helping the Scorpions to a state championship that year and a state runner-up finish in 2008.
She also dominated in the club circuit with multiple U-17 team championships and as part of the Florida State Olympic Development Team from 2005-08.
For every achievement on the field, one in the classroom matched it.
Growing up, Jewell always prioritized school first and considered soccer a hobby. It wasn't until later and soccer became more competitive that the two equalized, and by then, Jewell was already accustomed to mostly straight-A report cards.
"I never liked getting low grades," Jewell said with a smile. "I just always made sure to get my work done."
By the time she enrolled at UCF as a freshman in 2009, Jewell had already received her associate's degree and had 90 college credit hours to her name.
"I have never worked with a student that brought in so many credit hours as a freshman. To me, three hours, six hours, nine credit hours - that's a good start," Hill said. "But Tishia brought in an entire AA degree. I remember my first thought was, what classes do I put her in, all of her General Education courses were done. She was taking 3000 level classes as a freshman, which was difficult for me to grasp as an advisor because that doesn't happen very often. She did so well academically, and was really prepared to take those upper-level classes."
Jewell did not miss a beat while juggling the demanding schedule of a collegiate student-athlete. She has been named to the Conference USA Academic Honor Roll every year and earned the highest academic honor in collegiate soccer last season as a NSCAA/adidas Collegiate Scholar All-American.
She is one of the most decorated women's soccer athletes to don the Black and Gold as a two-time conference champion, a two-time conference all-first team selection and a two-time NSCAA All-Central Region first team selection.
This season, she was named to the Hermann Trophy Watch List - the highest individual award in intercollegiate soccer -- and is a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award, which is presented annually to a senior who has made notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.
Her final year as a Knight is ticking away at a rapid pace, and Jewell is preparing for life in the real world. Her double major as a graduate student is in public administration and non-profit management, but she plans to focus on the non-profit side.
Jewell points to her early graduation and multiple degrees as her greatest academic accomplishments. As for her greatest field accomplishment, the individual praise is nice, but she takes more enjoyment in her team's successes.
"My greatest soccer accomplishment is split between getting as far as we did - being All-American and helping the team last year - and just getting the team as far as we can this year," Jewell said. "Hopefully we can get further this year, and then that will be my greatest accomplishment."
This story appears in the November issue of Knights Insider magazine. The publication, which is published six times per year, provides an inside look at UCF student-athletes, coaches and alums. To order the magazine, click here.