Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

Yale Women's Ice Hockey and the Hockey Humanitarian Award

The Yale women's ice hockey team has had seven finalists (including two winners) for the BNY Mellon Wealth Management Hockey Humanitarian Award, given annually to "college hockey's finest citizen". Here is a look at Yale's honorees. For more information on the award, visit

2000 Finalist Julianna Schantz-Dunn ’00

Julianna Schantz-Dunn ’00, two-time captain of the Yale women’s ice hockey team, was one of five finalists for the Hockey Humanitarian Award in 2000. Schantz-Dunn began her community service as a freshman on the Yale Athletics Department’s Thomas W. Ford ’42 Community Outreach Committee, serving as the hockey team’s representative, organizing Youth Days for local children to play sports with Yale student-athletes and mentoring a middle school girl. For the summer after her freshman year she received a fellowship from the Association of Yale Alumni to work for Hephzibah Children’s Association, a child welfare program in Chicago. As a case aide, she supervised parent-child visits, attended court proceedings and befriended a child going through adoption proceedings. In her junior year she began volunteering in a bilingual classroom at a local school through the Estudiantes Unidos program. During spring break of her junior year she worked for Habitat for Humanity constructing houses. In the summer before her senior year, with money from a Gatorade internship and Yale’s Calhoun College Richter Fund, she traveled to Peru to work with Asociacion Benefica PRISMA, a non-governmental organization that gives out micro-credit loans to small businesses and farmers and manages maternal and child nutrition programs. Through PRISMA’s public health investigation unit, she assisted a local nurse and doctor on a malaria project. She also assisted the Peruvian-American Medical Society as a translator and first assistant on surgeries.

2003 Finalist Deanna McDevitt ’03

Deanna McDevitt ’03, a two-time MVP for the Yale women’s ice hockey team, was one of five finalists for the 2003 Hockey Humanitarian Award in 2003. McDevitt participated in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters mentor program at Yale, volunteered in the emergency room at Yale-New Haven Hospital, tutored students at Career High School in New Haven in math and science, volunteered for the non-profit Hockey Ministries International and organized a clothing drive among Yale students at the end of the 2002 school year, donating the clothes to a local Baptist church. She also was involved in Athletes in Action and volunteered for a breast cancer research organization and the Peace by Peace program at Yale, a community service program that teaches local students about violence prevention. McDevitt also was a part of the Association of Yale Alumni community service internship in Dallas in the summer of 2002, working at the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. 


2007 Winner Kristin Savard ’07

Kristin Savard ’07 was the recipient of the 2007 Hockey Humanitarian Award, presented by the Mellon Financial Corporation. Savard, the 12th recipient of the award, was recognized Apr. 6 in a ceremony at Scottrade Center, site of the NCAA men’s ice hockey Frozen Four, in conjunction with the Hobey Baker Award presentation and the Pontiac Frozen Four Skills Challenge.

Savard founded "Teaming Up", Yale’s effort to raise awareness for improving maternal health in the developing world — a project she hopes to expand to other schools and teams. Approximately 600,000 women die each year from pregnancy-related complications, and 99% of these deaths occur in developing countries. Led by Savard, Yale raised money to enable the women of the Keiskamma community in South Africa to partake in the UbuMama program. UbuMama ("motherhood") is an arts-based initiative in which women produce a maternity gown depicting the challenges of motherhood. The garments are used as instruments to gain support for the cause.

Savard first became involved with the issue of maternal health in the summer of 2006 when she worked for Imagine Chicago, a non-profit organization that works with community groups to implement innovative civic projects. She attended numerous conferences, documented Imagine Chicago projects from around the world and edited a book about Imagine Chicago’s approach to community involvement.

In addition to her work on Teaming Up, Savard served on Yale’s Thomas W. Ford ’42 Student-Athlete Community Outreach Committee, an organization designed to bring Yale student-athletes and the New Haven community together. Savard and her teammates also participated in "Skate with the Players" events, giving local youths the chance to skate with Yale players. The team also took part in the Relay for Life, raising money for the American Cancer Society. Savard spent two years as a tutor for first-graders at a New Haven elementary school and also worked at Dynamic Skating hockey camps.

Release Apr. 6, 2007: Kristin Savard Named 2007 Hockey Humanitarian


2009 Finalist Crysti Howser '09

Yale forward Crysti Howser '09 was a finalist for the Hockey Humanitarian Award in 2009. In addition to excelling on the ice Howser has also been active in a number of community service initiatives. As a freshman Howser began volunteering weekly at New Haven's Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen, organizing and distributing dinners for those in need. She has also been one of the key participants in the Yale Sports Empowerment Program. Through that initiative she and other Yale students organize weekly health and fitness education sessions for residents at local homeless shelters.

In her sophomore year Howser volunteered for the AIDS Walk New Haven event in April. She returned the following year, this time as organizer of a team. Howser and other Yale student-athletes obtained financial donations from sponsors to enable homeless men from the Emmanuel Baptist Shelter who were part of the Yale Sports Empowerment Program to participate in the walk as a team, combining two of her community service efforts into one.

In 2007 Howser also began her involvement in Yale's Relay for Life 12-hour walking fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. She was a coordinator for one of the most successful Relay for Life events in the Northeast that spring, helping raise nearly $250,000 for the American Cancer Society. She and one of her hockey teammates were in charge of soliciting sponsorships and food donations for the event, which hosted more than 2,000 people. Howser then served as head coordinator in 2007-08, making her solely responsible for organizing food donations from more than two dozen New Haven restaurants. She got her entire team involved as committee members and also got the Yale men's ice hockey team involved through a friend of hers on that team. The event raised more than $100,000.

Howser expanded the geographical bounds of her work in May of 2007. Through i-to-i, an organization she learned of through Yale's Career Services Center, she spent two weeks in a rural South African nature reserve, 200 miles north of Cape Town. With other students from various European and North American colleges she worked on an environmental conservation project that sought to protect an agriculturally rich region containing some of the rarest natural plant life in the world from further damage.

Howser has also taken part in various holiday gift-giving initiatives for underprivileged families both in New Haven and back home in Illinois, including coordinating the effort for her residential college at Yale (Silliman). During her first two years at Yale she was also involved in Athletes in Action, a faith-based group that met weekly and helped engage her in numerous community service projects. In the spring of her freshman year she participated in Bulldog Buddies, a program run by the Yale Athletic Department through which student-athletes read to and play sports with children at a local elementary school once a week.

Howser has also been a part of the USA Hockey program. She was a member of USA Hockey's Under-22 Select team twice, playing in the annual three-game series against Team Canada. She scored a goal for the U.S. in 2008. Howser was tied for fifth in scoring at the 2007 USA Hockey Women's National Festival and also was invited to USA Hockey's Holiday Camp in December of that year, training as part of a group of 56 of the top players in the country. Before coming to Yale she was a part of multiple USA Hockey player development camps.


2011 Finalist and 2012 Winner Aleca Hughes '12

For more on Aleca Hughes, click here


2013 Finalist Alyssa Zupon '13

For more on Alyssa Zupon, click here


2018 Finalist Courtney Pensavalle '18

Pensavalle exemplified what it meant to be a student-athlete, as a Division I varsity athlete and being involved in a variety of ways around campus. The Yale women's hockey forward was a member of the acapella singing group composed of Yale student-athletes, the Unorthojocks. Pensavalle also served as the lead drive coordinator for the Mandi Schwartz Marrow Registration Drive, partnered with Be the Match. She managed and executed the yearly spring drive in honor of former Yale teammate Mandi Schwartz. She is dedicated to helping grow support for the annual White Out For Mandi game, as well as Be the Match and the Mandi Schwartz Foundation. The drive has led to over 30 lives saved and over 6,400 unique people being added to the bone marrow registry. Pensavalle also excelled in the classroom with a 3.9 GPA and multiple ECAC Hockey All-Academic selections.