Hope College junior Laura Tjepkema of Dorr (South Christian HS) has been named a 2012 Capital One Softball Academic All-American.

An education major with a special education emphasis, Tjepkema has maintained a perfect 4.0 grade point average while achieving all-conference honors in softball.

She becomes the seventh Hope softball player and the college's 41st Academic All-American across all sports in a program sponsored by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

"Laura is an incredibly dedicated student, and has very high expectations of herself in the classroom and on the softball field," said coach Mary Vande Hoef.  "She's passionate about what she's learning, and she is going to be a great special education teacher in the future."

The team's rightfielder, Tjepkema this past season batted .358 in all games and led the team in RBIs (32). She batted .479 against conference opponents. She carries a career batting average of .349 and has started in 109 consecutive games since her freshman year.

She is the daughter of Chuck and Tammy Tjepkema of Dorr.

To be eligible for Academic All-America consideration, a student-athlete must be a starter or key reserve, maintain a minimum 3.3 grand point average on a scale of 4.0, have reached sophmore athletic and academic standing and be nominated by his/her sports information director. The program has been coordinated by CoSIDA since 1952. The current sponsor is Capital One Financial Corporation with support from the NCAA.

Previous Hope softball Academic All-Americans have included Anne Hendrickson (1985), DeAnn Knoll (1987 and 1988), Johanna Pscodna (1992), Laurie Byington (1996), Kim Grotenhuis (2000) and Kylee Brouwer (2008).