« Softball 2012

Julie Fernandez

School

Lehigh

Position
First Base
Major
Behavioral Neuroscience
AVG
.445
R
18
H
69
FLD%
1.000
RBI
45

Classroom

Fernandez has excelled in the classroom, posting a 3.33 grade point average in Lehigh’s rigorous Behavioral Neuroscience program, while minoring in Spanish. A multi-year member of the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll, Fernandez has also received numerous Lehigh Faculty Athletics Council Academic Awards for posting semester GPAs of 3.20 or better. Fernandez’s top academic semester was a 3.76 GPA in the fall 2010. Fernandez earned the 2011 Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sport Scholar Award (as named by Diverse Issues in Higher Education) while also garnering Lehigh University’s Class of 1904 Scholarship Award. Last spring, Fernandez was named to the inaugural Academic All-Patriot League softball team. She is currently applying to medical schools and aspires to become a pediatrician. She has spent time during the summer shadowing a pediatrician in Santa Monica, Calif., while also participating in research at UCLA Medical Center.

Character

Fernandez is so well respected by her teammates that she was voted a captain prior to both her junior and senior seasons. Her on-field success did not come without overcoming hardship. As a freshman in 2009, Fernandez was the Patriot League’s Rookie of the Year. In the first inning of Lehigh’s final game of the season, a loss to Florida in the NCAA Gainesville Regional Final, Fernandez tore her ACL in a collision at first base. She not only had to endure the sadness and frustration of seeing her team’s season come to an end, but also knee surgery and months of rehab. Fernandez persevered through the adversity and was back on the practice field well before the start of her sophomore season. In addition, Fernandez hit a blistering .442 for the season and was named Patriot League Player of the Year.

In addition to her softball captain duties, Fernandez has been heavily involved in Lehigh’s athletic department, as a Student-Athlete Mentor and as a member of the Lehigh Athletics Leadership Academy. In the Student-Athlete Mentor (SAM) program, Fernandez helped facilitate discussions for the Lehigh P.R.I.D.E. program and served as a resource providing guidance to Lehigh’s freshmen throughout the year. In the Leadership Academy, Fernandez graduated from the Emerging Leaders program, where she learned how to be an effective vocal and leader by example on her team and within the Lehigh community; and the Leadership Legacies program where she learned how to interact with coaches and teammates in order to effectively lead a team as a captain.

Community

Fernandez has been heavily involved in Lehigh’s award-winning community outreach C.O.A.C.H. (Community Outreach by Athletes who Care about Helping) program. She has been part of groups that visited local schools to talk to children about the importance of leadership, responsibility and education. The C.O.A.C.H. program does numerous presentations to student groups in settings ranging from team meetings to school assemblies to sports banquets. They also run sports clinics with an educational theme, group outings to Lehigh athletic events and more. One special event, which Fernandez and the C.O.A.C.H. program have coordinated, is an annual Adopt-A-Family around the holidays. Each Lehigh Athletics team adopts an underprivileged family; they then raise money throughout the semester to purchase holiday presents for their adopted family. The event wraps up with an event where all the student-athletes present the gifts to the families. Last year, the Mountain Hawks raised nearly $30,000. In the offseason she has volunteered her time as a hitting instructor for girls ages 14-18, teaching hitting technique through practice, drills and mental preparation.

Competition

Fernandez has enjoyed a stellar playing career thus far for the Brown and White, as she will enter her fourth year as a starter at first base for the Mountain Hawks. In three seasons, she has been named to the All-Patriot League first team. As a freshman she was named Patriot League Rookie of the Year and as a sophomore moved up to win the league’s Player of the Year Award, one year after suffering a torn ACL in the NCAA tournament. Fernandez was a first team NFCA Mid-Atlantic All-Region selection following both her freshman and sophomore seasons. She also won Lehigh’s John S. Steckbeck Award in 2009, given to the Lehigh Athletics Department’s top first year female student-athlete. As a freshman, Fernandez batted .382 with four home runs and 31 RBI. The average rose to .442 in her Patriot League Player of the Year sophomore season, while as a junior Fernandez enjoyed her best all-around season with a .364 average, 64 hits, five home runs and 40 RBI. Fernandez enters her senior season with 42 career doubles, leaving her nine shy of Lehigh’s career record. She also ranks third in school annals in career batting average (.397) and second in bases on balls (79), a record she should break early in her senior season. Most importantly, Fernandez has helped her team win games. She has been the starting first baseman and No. 3 hitter for Patriot League Championship teams in 2009 and 2011 and has played in a pair of NCAA Regional tournaments.