Maxine Furtado is the first recipient of the Jeffrey D. Law Memorial Scholarship for students in the kinesiology M.S. program. Recently, she was able to meet the donors of the scholarship to let them know just how much their gift meant to her.
The scholarship was established last year by Ed and Julie Law, Jeff’s parents, and Matt Stock, associate professor in the School of Kinesiology and Physical Therapy to honor Jeff’s legacy and to benefit future leaders in strength and conditioning.
Jeff Law was a strength and conditioning coach at Sacramento State University at the time of his death by suicide in 2015. When he was a graduate student at Texas Tech University, he met Stock, who was a new assistant professor. Law was his first student advisee there, and the two bonded over topics in strength and conditioning. They remained in contact after Law received his degree and continued growing in his career.
When it came to selecting the first recipient for the scholarship, Furtado’s application stood out.
“Julie, Ed and I knew that Maxine was the right person to be the first recipient of the Jeffrey Law Memorial Scholarship,” Stock says. “Not only is she a great kinesiology student, but she also is passionate about soccer, which was one of Jeff’s many interests.”
Like Jeff Law, Maxine Furtado also has an incredible thirst for knowledge, and plans to pursue her doctorate degree in kinesiology.
“This scholarship came at exactly the right time,” Furtado says. “It means everything to me because I didn’t have a job. It took a huge weight off my shoulders and my mom’s shoulders.”
Because Furtado didn’t have to worry about funding her education, she says she was able to focus more on her research internship through the UCF Sports Science Initiative, and eventually led to her receiving a graduate assistantship in the School of Kinesiology and Physical Therapy.
Furtado says, however, that the real gift was not receiving the scholarship, but the chance to meet Ed and Julie Law.
“They are the greatest people ever,” Furtado says. “They told me stories about Jeff, and we had an instant connection – I felt like I knew them already.”
The Laws also gave Furtado a beautiful bracelet with the message, “Strength.” Jeff was a strength and conditioning coach; Furtado has the same ambitions. The Laws also told Furtado that she would likely need to draw upon her reserves of strength as she continued on her educational path.
The meeting between Stock, the Laws and Furtado was coordinated by Jennifer Wolf, associate director of philanthropy for the College of Health Professions and Sciences.
“We are so grateful to Professor Stock and the Law family for allowing us to know Jeff through the acts of love that they do in his name,” Wolf says. “They have taken their pain and transformed it into a way to help others. That is a very special kind of strength.”