George Bugarinovic, a 2015 graduate of Johns Hopkins, has been awarded the 2017 Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship by the NCAA. He is the first student-athlete from Johns Hopkins and the Centennial Conference to earn the prestigious award.
Established in 1988, the Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship Program each year awards one male and one female recipient a $24,000 grant, which can be renewed for a second year. Recipients are recognized as combining the best elements of mind and body to achieve national distinction for their achievements and to be future leaders in their chosen field of career service. Bugarinovic is just the fifth men's basketball player and first since 2001 to receive the award. He is also just the 14th Division III student-athlete to receive the award.
Bugarinovic, who is currently in his first year of medical school at Harvard University, previously earned an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship in 2015. While at Hopkins, he was named a CoSIDA Academic All-American as well as the 2015 Jostens Trophy winner, which recognizes outstanding student-athletes in NCAA Division III basketball for excellence in the classroom, on the playing court, and in the community. Bugarinovic earned a bachelor's degree in public health and natural sciences with a 3.87 cumulative GPA.
Bugarinovic hopes to incorporate a global health component into the field of medicine that he ultimately pursues. Along those lines, he is helping to establish a hospital shadowing exchange program for U.S. undergraduate students in his hometown of Belgrade, Serbia through the Atlantis Project. He hopes to continue to work towards sustainable support initiatives in Serbia and other countries of need in the future.
A four-time All-Centennial Conference selection and two-time CC Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Bugarinovic was named a Second Team All-Mid-Atlantic pick by both the NABC and D3hoops.com in 2015. As a senior, he led Hopkins to a 25-5 overall record, including a 16-2 mark in the CC, and a berth in the NCAA Sweet 16. He led the team with 7.4 rebounds and ranked second with 13.6 points per contest on 54.5 percent shooting in 2014-15. He also led the team in steals (43) and ranked third in assists (58) and blocks (26). For his career, Bugarinovic averaged 12.1 points and reached double figures 77 times (in 110 games). He finished his career with 1,331 points and he ranks in the top five in school history in points, field goals (516), rebounds (751) and steals (124) and ranks in the top 10 in nine other categories.
Off the court, Bugarinovic was just as impressive during his time at Johns Hopkins. In 2013, he was selected for one of the competitive summer research internships at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City, Missouri. During his internship, he investigated the Tcof1, Polr1c, and Polr1d genes and their accompanying proteins on the cellular and genetic basis of Treacher Collins syndrome. He has also completed internships at the molecular biology pathology department at the University of Kansas and the Jackson County Health Department. As a freshman, Bugarinovic worked as a lab assistant in the otolaryngology lab at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.
In his spare time, Bugarinovic volunteered with the Maryland School for the Blind, where he organized and implemented weekly arts and crafts projects for the students with varying degrees of blindness and neurodegenerative diseases. He was also involved with Kids Enjoy Exercise Now, where he engaged in recreational activities with children and young adults with developmental or physical disabilities. In addition, Bugarinovic volunteered with Optimal Translation and Transportation Services in Kansas City, Kansas serving as a Serbian, Bosnian, and Croatian translator.