A DRONGAN academic has been handed a prestigious accolade from a top US university in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the institution.

Caroline McKelvie, a graduate of West Virginia University Institute of Technology – known as WVU Tech for short – has been been named as a Nelson Distinguished Young Alumni winner for 2022.

The East Ayrshire native, who is also a current faculty member at the institution, in Beckley, West Virginia, was one of a number of distinguished academic alumni award winners announced by WVU Tech in preparation for its annual homecoming celebration.

Caroline earned her degree in athletic coaching education in 2011.

After graduating, she worked as a soccer coach and camp director for UK International Soccer before returning to West Virginia.

She attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania to earn her master’s degree in sport management and in 2018, accepted a position as an instructor in the Sport and Recreation Department at WVU Tech, where she now teaches sport management and athletic coaching education.

Caroline said: “I am truly honoured to receive such a special award. I would like to thank the person who nominated me, my family (especially my dad), friends, and past/present employers.

“This award is as much theirs as it is mine.”

Caroline is one of only two winners of the Nelson Distinguished Young Alumni awards this year – the other is Raul Martin Valencia, a graduate in civil and mechanical engineering who now works in renewable energy.

WVU Tech’s homecoming celebrations run from February 9 to 19, 2022.

Alumni winners will be honoured at a reception and dinner at The Resort at Glade Springs on Friday, February 18 and will be featured, too, in a homecoming parade and during basketball games.

Carolyn Long, WVU Tech campus president, said: “Caroline is an exceptional faculty member – always showing care and support for her students.

“We are so honoured that she’s returned to her alma mater to share her skills and talents with current and future Golden Bears.

“We are so proud of her and so happy that she is being recognised as a Nelson Distinguished Young Alumni awardee for her hard work and dedication.

“She’s very deserving of this recognition.”