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Yale Alumni Derek Soled Presented the Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship

06/26/2019, 5:15pm CDT
By Kristen Henneman

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Derek Soled (Randolph, N.J.), an épée fencer and the Yale fencing team captain in 2015-16, has been awarded the Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship.

Established in 1988 by the NCAA in honor of Walter Byers, the first executive director from 1951-1988, the Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship is a $24,000 grant given to one male and one female each year, recognizing his or her outstanding academic achievements and potential for success in graduate study.

Soled is both the first fencer and student from Yale to earn the scholarship.

“This award means so much to me, to my family and to all my coaches and teachers. I’ve always believed that it is possible to be both a scholar and an athlete, and that these two duties complemented and enriched – rather than hindered – each other,” Soled said. “The scholarship honors this mentality, and I hope it inspires others (especially fencers!) to always push themselves to their fullest, both on the strip and in the classroom. It is an honor and a privilege to be the first fencer selected for this award, and I am so lucky to be where I am today – all because of the greatest family, friends and mentors in the world.”

Soled graduated summa cum laude from Yale in 2016 with a double major in sociology and molecular, cellular and developmental biology, earning a 3.95 GPA, which easily exceeded the 3.5 GPA requirement for the scholarship.

After walking on to the Yale fencing team in 2012-13, Soled received the “Pop" Grasson Cup his senior year, recognizing his leadership, character, integrity and commitment. He also was awarded the Everett Wetchler Award for the fencer who contributed most to the varsity team.

He then earned his Master of Science in medical anthropology in 2017 from the University of Oxford, where he competed on the track and field team.

Currently a second-year MD and MBA Candidate at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Business School, Soled is interested in internal medicine and public and global health. At the same time, he is training for the 2020 Olympic Games with hopes of competing in modern pentathlon or fencing.

“The joint MD/MBA degrees will enable me to develop the clinical expertise to heal my individual patients, as well as the managerial and business skills necessary to launch effective public health campaigns and address systemic issues that affect patients on a larger scale,” Soled said. “I aspire to become a leader in public health delivery and fix the rampant health disparities that plague our country and others around the world.”

The scholarship may be renewed for a second year depending on performance and progress.

Rachael Acker, the female recipient, was a swimmer at the University of California Berkeley and is currently a medical student at Harvard.

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