SABR Negro Leagues Committee awards $1,000 scholarships in 2020 essay contest

2021 Jerry Malloy Negro League Conference

SABR’s Negro Leagues Research Committee was pleased to award $1,000 scholarships to four high school seniors in its 12th annual Thomas R. Garrett Scholarship essay contest in 2020.

Sierra Kinsler, of Owings Mills, Maryland, was awarded the Rube Foster Scholarship. She will attend Cornell University, pursuing a career in animal science and veterinary medicine. In high school, she served as the lighting manager of the stage crew, president of the National Honor Society, and secretary of the Model United Nations team. She says she strives to “live with the determination, drive, and passion that Rube Foster embodied throughout his life.”

Marlo Towle, of Reno, Nevada, was awarded the Jimmie Crutchfield Scholarship. She will attend the honors college at the University of Utah and is planning on majoring in a STEM field. She has been a Girl Scout most of her life and participated in We the People, a competition-based government class, where her class placed sixth in the nation. She volunteers through the Key Club and the Huskie Community Service Alliance. She played soccer for her high school and club teams, and she also likes to ski and play basketball.

Irena Petryk, of Morton Grove, Illinois, was awarded the Robert Peterson Scholarship. She is an incoming freshman at Northwestern University. During her time in high school, she pursued an interest in business and law through her involvement in Mock Trial and DECA. She also nurtured her love for music by participating in several music ensembles as a cellist, namely her school orchestra and a chamber group known as Cello Choir. She is on the Junior Board of Expanding Lives, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting women’s education in West Africa by hosting leadership conferences and funding high school and college tuition. 

Sarah Harper, of Palm Coast, Florida, was awarded the Tweed Webb Scholarship. She will attend the University of Central Florida, where she plans to major in Hospitality Management. She would like to pursue an internship abroad to learn about hospitality standards in other parts of the world. She has been involved in community service, working in a mission and with the youth of her church. She also has enjoyed participating in the high school marching band and jazz band, serving as the saxophone section leader.

The contest was open to high school seniors and carrying a minimum GPA of 2.5 at the end of their junior year. Students had to write a 1,200-word essay answering a question related to one of the Negro League figures who are the namesakes of the scholarships.

SABR’s annual Jerry Malloy Negro League Conference is the only symposium dedicated exclusively to the examination of black baseball history. Learn more at


Originally published: July 28, 2020. Last Updated: July 28, 2020.