Chemical engineering alumna Ann Gleason has been named a 2011 Tau Beta Pi (TBP) Laureate. The award follows her amazing soccer career at Iowa State and her spring 2011 graduation with the distinction of Summa Cum Laude, a title bestowed upon graduates with a cumulative GPA of 3.9 or higher.
The TBP Laureate Program was established in 1982 to recognize extraordinary engineering students who have excelled in areas beyond their technical majors. Since the program formed, 74 Laureates have been named.
Throughout her college career, Gleason spent four years as varsity goalie for Iowa State’s soccer team, breaking team records and becoming an inspiration among her teammates and players for years to come. By the end of her time with the soccer program, Gleason had taken Iowa State’s all-time leader records in career wins, shutouts, and saves, and led the Big 12 Conference in saves for two years. She was also named an ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America second team in 2009, a feat no other Cyclone has accomplished.
Despite her heavy involvement in athletics, Gleason found time to keep high grades and participate in student organizations, including working as a project officer for the Iowa Alpha Chapter of TBP. Her involvement with TBP made her eligible to be a Laureate, while her performance academically and athletically sealed the deal.
She says was shocked and thrilled to receive the honor. “I am very thankful for all of the support I received from teachers, coaches, and especially the Iowa Alpha advisors. Without their letters of recommendation and time they put into my nomination, I wouldn’t have been selected for this distinguished award,” said Gleason.
Making time for school, sports, and other activities wasn’t always an easy task. With the demanding workload of an engineering student and the responsibility of being part of a team and a leader, Gleason sometimes found herself pulled in multiple directions. She admits to having doubts about her hectic schedule at times but feels the balance she had to create taught her important lessons in time management and personal responsibility. “There were certainly times I questioned why I was putting myself through it all, but the life-changing experiences and relationships that were developed are irreplaceable,” explained Gleason.
With so much going on, she says she occasionally had to rely on the support of people around her, and her aptly named “support team” helped shape her into the woman she is today. “I had coaches, training staff, teachers, advisors, and those behind the scenes I still may not know about who all helped me become successful in both academics and athletics,” said Gleason. “Additionally, I had the moral support and love of my friends and family who were there through all the rough and great times at Iowa State.”
Gleason also has a powerful drive to do her best that motivated her to simultaneously achieve success in higher education and play a sport she loved, and it’s something she feels truly blessed to have experienced.
As a Laureate, Gleason will be presented with a commemorative plaque and a cash award of $2,500 at the 106th annual TBP Convention in October, along with four other 2011 Laureates. She says the cash award will most likely go towards her wedding this fall and a place to live with her husband to be.
In June 2011, she moved back to her home state of Minnesota where she began her career as a process research engineer in the Corporate Research Process Laboratory of 3M. Her future plans are to enjoy her life as a newlywed, excel at her new job, and begin coaching soccer again.