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The Betsy Smith ECTC Awards

About Dr. Betsy Smith (1981-2021)

The Eastern Collegiate Taekwondo Conference (ECTC) mourns the loss of Dr. Betsy Smith, a treasured member of the community who touched countless individuals. Betsy unexpectedly passed away on August 3, 2021 from complications during the delivery of her first child, Charlotte. Her daughter is doing well and in the care of her sister Jean Smith Ashby and brother-in-law Corey Ashby.

Betsy had a long history in collegiate taekwondo. She was a member of the Princeton Taekwondo Club as an undergraduate, earned her black belt with the Yale Taekwondo Club during her doctoral studies, instructed at Princeton's club  as a postdoctoral associate, and established a Taekwondo Club at Elmira College, where she was a tenured Associate Professor of Chemistry. She also selflessly gave back to the taekwondo community. She served as a key member of the ECTC Tournament Committee, the NCTA Tournament Committee, and the USA Taekwondo Tournament Committee. In 2015, Betsy was the manager for the NCTA team at the Summer World University Games in Gwangju, South Korea.

Betsy positively impacted all those who crossed her path, and we are all the better for knowing her. To honor her and what she stood for, the ECTC is establishing two awards: The Betsy Smith ECTC Inclusivity Award and the Betsy Smith Small School Grant.


The ECTC has established a GoFundMe which aims to raise $15,000 to sustain both awards for the next several years. Thank you sincerely for considering donating to help honor the life and legacy of Dr. Betsy Smith, her commitment to collegiate taekwondo, and the ECTC's shared value of inclusivity. 

The Betsy Smith ECTC Small School Grant 

Betsy was always passionate about the inclusiveness of small and new schools in the ECTC, advocating for every athlete to have the opportunity to experience all that the League could offer. The ECTC strives to build a community of student-athletes with a shared passion for taekwondo. Through the establishment of the Betsy Smith ECTC Small School Grant, we aim to bolster the development and engagement of taekwondo student-athletes from small or new schools. This grant aims to help schools new to the League or schools with fewer than 10 club members help cover expenses which include, but are not limited to, club member dues, league dues, uniforms, equipment, etc. The goal of this grant is to help alleviate some of the financial burden in establishing a club and to continue to foster friendships through taekwondo.


Applications for this grant are open on a rolling basis. The ECTC board members will review each application and inform schools of their grant amount.

The Betsy Smith ECTC Inclusivity Award 

Throughout her life, Betsy passionately promoted the inclusivity, equity, and representation of all groups of people. She served as an undergraduate LGBT Peer Educator and as a graduate member of Women in Science at Yale. As a professor, she introduced a course on the lives and experiences of people throughout history who might be seen as part of the LGBTQ community. On the ECTC Tournament Committee, Betsy was known as a vocal advocate for smaller, less resourced, and less experienced taekwondo teams. Whenever possible, she organized exhibition matches for unmatched players and scheduled matches to allow team members to support each other. She selflessly dedicated herself to creating the best experience for each and every member of the taekwondo community. The ECTC is committed to upholding these values of diversity and inclusion that Betsy exemplified. Starting this season, the ECTC will annually  present one student who exemplifies these values with The Betsy Smith ECTC Inclusivity Award which includes a $500 scholarship.

Congratulations to our inaugural recipients Andy Lambert (MIT) and Sabeera Anjum (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)! 

Applications are now open until March 23, 2024. 

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