PSC, US Biathlon announce first scholarship for top American junior athlete

Apr 2, 2020 | News

Paul Smith’s College and the United States Biathlon Association have announced that one of the rising athletes in the USBA development system, Lina Ferra, has committed to attend school and train on the school’s campus starting this fall. The two entities announced a partnership recently where the college is the Eastern Education and Training Center for USBA.

Farra, who officially accepted last week, will be the first individual to receive a scholarship that combines education and elite level sport training at Paul Smith’s College. It’s part of an initiative that the school has embarked upon over the past year, using its outstanding faculty and natural environment to offer student/athletes a unique opportunity. The college has recognized the Olympic movement’s emphasis on education and sport and brought this concept to its Adirondack home.

“A year ago, it was hard to imagine a college environment that would allow me to pursue biathlon and continue my academic career,” said Farra. “I am so excited to start learning and training at Paul Smith’s incredible facilities with a phenomenal team to guide me. Thank you Paul Smith’s College and US Biathlon.”

“We are happy to welcome Lina to the Paul Smith’s College family,” said Cathy Dove, college president. “We’re very confident that Lina’s experiences on campus will satisfy her educational and athletic needs. There’s great value in being able to leave the classroom and be on snow at the Paul Smith’s College VIC in just a few minutes. We’re also proud to say that we are at the forefront of the Olympic initiative of simultaneously providing education and training, and are actively recruiting other young athletes to join Lina.”

Paul Smith’s College has made its network of Nordic trails more attractive with the development of an additional 10 kilometers. A biathlon shooting range will be in place before Farra begins her Paul Smith’s College career later this year.

Farra, living in Heber City, Utah, comes to Paul Smith’s College with strong local ties. Born in nearby Saranac Lake, N.Y., her father is 1992 U.S. cross country skiing Olympian John Farra, who attended prep school at National Sports Academy in Lake Placid. The 18-year-old is a 2018 graduate of the Winter Sports School in Park City, Utah, and has raced in the past two Youth/Junior World Championships. She has expressed an interest in environmental sciences, a curriculum offered at Paul Smith’s College.

“With strong family ties to the area, Paul Smith’s College will be the perfect place for Lina to continue her pursuit of biathlon, while simultaneously receiving a college education,” said Tim Burke, a four-time Olympian and the Director of Athlete Development for US Biathlon. “Lina has shown tremendous improvements in biathlon over the last two years and I look forward to seeing that progress continue at Paul Smith’s College.”

Given the nature of her competitive schedule, Farra will be on campus much of the school year, while maintaining her studies remotely when competing domestically and internationally.

In December, a similar relationship was created with USA Nordic, whereby Paul Smith’s College became the national governing body’s Official East Coast Training Center.

“Over the last few decades, we have seen many young athletes go and represent their country at the Olympic Games and when their careers ended, they were not very well prepared for their post-Olympic career. They sacrificed a college education and the social benefits of campus life to pursue their sport,” said John F. Morgan, director sport initiatives at Paul Smith’s College. “We want to change this at Paul Smith’s College and create a sport and education environment that will prepare these athletes for what comes next.”

Morgan said this concept is being embraced by the Olympic movement, resulting in athletes being better prepared for life when their competitive days are over.

About Paul Smith’s College
At Paul Smith’s College, it’s about the experience. We are the only four-year institution offering broad-based higher education in the Adirondacks. Our programs – in fields such as natural sciences, sustainability, forestry, business, hospitality, recreation, and culinary arts – draw on industries and resources available in our own backyard while preparing students for successful careers anywhere. For more information, visit

About US Biathlon
US Biathlon is an Olympic sports organization that leads the growth of biathlon in the U.S., developing champions seeking Olympic success. It promotes a thriving biathlon community in America that inspires a lifelong and passionate pursuit of personal and athletic excellence.



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