Sophomore Morgan Radtke received the Jill Hutchison Leadership Award, the women’s basketball program’s most prestigious award in honor of the Redbirds’ former head coach. Each year, the award is given to a player who exemplifies all of the characteristics of a Redbird women’s basketball player.

“I was beyond honored to receive the award,” said Radtke. “Jill Hutchison is a major inspirational figure in the women’s basketball community, especially here at Illinois State, and to have Coach Smith say that Jill would be proud of me was extremely touching. To receive this as a sophomore, after my first year of playing is humbling and inspires me to grow my leadership skills even further in the years to come.”

Radtke is a 5-foot-10-inch guard from Palatine, Illinois, and is a nursing major. During high school, Radtke was exposed to a dual credit Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program. As she was out in the field working as a CNA, she discovered her passion for the medical field and helping others. “I decided nursing would be the perfect major for me because it is a hands-on job.”

Balancing basketball and academics isn’t easy, but Radtke says it is absolutely worth it. She receives support from both the athletics staff and her professors as she juggles her busy schedule. Her biggest challenge with being a student-athlete and nursing major is making sure she does not procrastinate and gets her work done early. Some days she feels she has to plan her day minute by minute. “I often have to remind myself that college is a short period of my life and I want to make the most of the opportunities. So, to me, a busy day is a productive one and I wouldn’t want it any other way!”

As she continues with her studies at Mennonite College of Nursing, Radtke says her ideal job after graduation would be working in the emergency room. “My mom works in a hospital in downtown Chicago; it would be awesome to work alongside her after graduation.”