Florida Institute of Technology student-athletes Marina DeBiasi and Thomas Steenberg won both of the Sunshine State Conference’s 2017-18 Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards, a first-ever sweep of the national honors for Florida Tech.
DeBiasi was named SSC Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year and Steenberg SSC Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year, the conference announced this month. Voting for each award was conducted among athletic directors, senior administrators, athletic communication directors, and faculty athletic representatives from each of the 11 SSC member institutions.
DeBiasi and Steenberg are just the second and third student athletes in Florida Tech history to receive the awards, which were first bestowed in 1995-96. Kari Wanat, a volleyball player for the Panthers, won in 1999-00.
A Plymouth, Michigan, native, DeBiasi graduated summa cum laude from Florida Tech in May with a 3.92 GPA in chemical engineering. She also completed a graduate certificate in energy systems engineering. This past year, she won “best in show” at the 2018 Northrop Grumman Engineering & Science Senior Design Showcase, earned FIT Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors, and was a repeat U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Academic All-Region selection.
DeBiasi earned Dean’s List honors each semester during her time at Florida Tech (2014-18) and was a four-time member of the FIT Athletic Director’s Honor Roll as well as the SSC Commissioner’s Honor Roll. She was awarded Florida Tech’s Distinguished Student Scholar award three times (2016-18) and was named the Most Outstanding Junior for the chemical engineering department in 2017. DeBiasi is a member of the Phi Eta Sigma, Tau Beta Phi, Phi Kappa Phi, Kappa Theta Epsilon, and American Institute of Chemical Engineers honor societies.
On the course in 2017, DeBiasi finished ninth at the SSC cross country championship with a time of 23:27.09 in the 6,000-meter race. She then went on to finish 18th at the NCAA Division II South Region Championship. Her time of 22:53.87 placed her seventh among SSC finishers. Following her conference and regional performances she earned Second Team All-SSC honors and All-South Region honors.
Steenberg, from Skodsborg, Denmark, also graduated summa cum laude from Florida Tech in May, with a 3.97 GPA in global management and finance. This past year, he was named the Nathan M. Bisk College of Business Distinguished Scholar, Florida Tech Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year, and Google Cloud Academic All-American At-Large. Steenberg earned Dean’s List honors each semester during his time at Florida Tech and was a four-time member of the FIT Athletic Director’s Honor Roll as well as the SSC Commissioner’s Honor Roll.
A four-time All-American for the Panthers and two-time captain of the swim team, Steenberg and his teammates were crowned SSC champions in the 400 Freestyle Relay, setting a new school record and reaching a provisional NCAA qualifying mark. He helped lead Florida Tech to a fourth-place finish in 400 Freestyle Relay and fifth in the 200 Freestyle Relay at the 2018 national championship. Individually, Steenberg finished seventh in the 100 Freestyle and 14th in the 200 Freestyle at the conference championship.