By Ann Gill (M.A., ’76)
The recipient of this year’s Albert C. Yates Student Leadership Award, Ally Murphy Pauletto (B.A., ’21; B.S., ’21), has left her mark on athletic record books, campus organizations and activities, and the memories of those with whom she interacted. The future of this extraordinary Ram will be something to behold.
Ally fell in love with soccer at age 4 or 5 while watching the women’s World Cup game on television. She grew up in Boulder and led her high school team to the U18 National Cup in 2016. It wasn’t long after committing to play for the Rams that she made a tremendous impact. In the first week of September 2017, she set two CSU records ̶ single game points (6) and single game goals (3, known as a “hat trick”). That performance led to her being named NCAA Soccer Women’s Player of the Week and Mountain West Women’s Offensive Player of the Week.
She did not let soccer deter her from outstanding academic achievement. Three years running she was named Mountain West Scholar Athlete and Academic All-Mountain West. She graduates this spring with degrees in two majors, international studies and ecosystem science and sustainability. She also completed minors in Spanish and international development.
In addition to academic and athletic excellence, Ally played a leadership role in several organizations, including the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and Rambition, an organization for female student athletes. She fondly recalls all she learned from Kim Mbadinga-Nzamba, Assistant Director of Diversity and Inclusion, and Marie Tyrrell, Assistant Director of Student-Athlete Support Services. In her nomination of Ally for the student leadership award, Tyrrell wrote:
Ally has paved the way for student-athletes on our campus. She represents quite a few firsts for student-athletes. She was the first student-athlete who performed an internship with the Office of General Counsel through the Student-Athlete Summer Career Experience. This year, she became the first student-athlete accepted to the competitive Presidential Ambassadors program.
In referring to her experience with Presidential Ambassadors, Ally explains, “I loved talking to people and making connections with alumni and donors.”
She also participated in a student-athlete service trip to Jamaica. In addition to interactions with the family she stayed with, she valued the time spent with trip leaders Dr. Albert Bimper (B.S., ’06), Senior Associate Athletic Director for Diversity and Inclusion, and Dr. Blanche Hughes (M.Ed., ’84; Ph.D., ’95), Vice President for Student Affairs. “I learned so much from them during those 10 days.” She recalls Dr. Bimper giving the student athletes an invaluable perspective before the trip: “They don’t need our help; we are going to learn from them.”
Explaining that her motivation to succeed at everything she does comes from her mother, Ally calls her a “jack of all trades” ̶ teacher, principal, and business owner. With her mother as a role model, Ally knew she “didn’t have to be pigeon-holed.” She also has two brothers; one, Ben, currently is a CSU student.
This driven young woman plans to spend the summer training. Her immediate goal is to play professional soccer in Europe. After that, she will apply for law school. Logic and writing were among her favorite subjects at CSU, and she “enjoys gathering arguments.” The long-term goal is to use her law degree in an athletic administration career.
Among her favorite memories of CSU will be the soccer team’s celebrations after goals. In particular, she cites an overtime win against the University of Denver, when the entire CSU team jumped in a huge celebratory pile on the field. She also will recall fondly times spent studying with teammates on the Warner College balcony. Ally will be missed on campus, but we cannot wait to see what amazing things this young alumna does next.