2020-21 KEVIN HIGGINS COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENT
PENN STATE UNIVERSITY
Zoë DeMassa describes rugby as her personal “cheat code” to life. DeMassa has learned life lessons both on and off the pitch that have shaped her into the young woman she is today and says she is consistently inspired by the game’s influence to push her to become a better and more dedicated person and player. When DeMassa needs the answers, she turns to rugby. She was a member of Fairfield Rugby Club for three years and also played for Connecticut All-Stars for one year. For Fairfield, she has served as a leader on the pitch as both captain of the forwards and captain for the U-16 side. She was selected to the Atlantis High Performance team in 2018 and the Atlantis High Performance team – elite side in 2019, and appeared in matches at the Randall’s Island New York 7s.
DeMassa graduated with honors from Fairfield Ludlowe High School in Fairfield, Connecticut. In addition to her excellence on the rugby pitch, she excelled in the classroom having been named to the Headmaster’s list, High Honor and Honor Roll, and received the Dori Caviello Science Award for her academic achievement. She was an active volunteer in her community, serving as a lifeguard and swim coach at the Country Club of Fairfield, traveled abroad to Nicaragua to serve with Builders Beyond Boarders in 2017, and is a Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership Seminar alumnus. Zoë was also involved in numerous athletic activities including volleyball, competing in field events in both indoor and outdoor track and field, and still remains undefeated in competition for Jiu Jitsu. Zoë will continue her athletic and academic career at Penn State University, where she will play for the Nittany Lions. She plans on working hard in her freshman year to achieve the grades to get accepted into the Smeal College of Business and aspires to attend law school upon earning her undergraduate degree from PSU. She would like to become a sports agent and stay involved in the rugby world by representing professional players.
In the future, DeMassa would also like to start her own business where she would mentor and coach middle school to high school aged kids in sports and in life skills. She is currently strategizing her business plans and is excited for the future. At the college rugby level, Zoë has intentions to fine tune her physical fitness, endurance, and rugby IQ to help her reach her goal of starting on the Penn State A-side by the time she reaches her junior year. “Since arriving on campus she has been dedicated not only to rugby, but her academic success as well. Zoë was quick to integrate herself with the team even though we were in a majority virtual environment, meeting up with her teammates to lift, train, or do extra skills as the pandemic allowed. She was chosen by her peers to be the freshman class leader and it is apparent she cares deeply about making a positive impact on her teammates and this program,” said Kate Daley, Head Coach for Penn State University Women’s Rugby. In the long run, she would like to extend her rugby career for as long as she can, whether that be at the professional or Olympic level, or just having fun with her old college teammates. Zoë’s determination to succeed is the driving force that sets her apart!