She and the men's recipient, Auburn swimmers Eric vanGoethem, were praised by SEC Commissioner Roy Kramer.
"The Southeastern Conference is proud of the accomplishments of Eric and Andree' and their commitment to community service," said Kramer. "By their dedication to helping others, Eric and Andree' have made their communities a better place. Hopefully, others will be inspired to action in their communities by the contributions they have made."
The two were chosen by a committee of Faculty Athletics Representatives from SEC universities. Each will receive a $5,000 post-graduate scholarship, provided by the SEC.
"I am very honored to be singled out from among such an outstanding group of student-athletes," Pickens said. "In truth it could have been anyone of us and I'm proud to be able to represent the University of Alabama and the gymnastics team in this way."
"When we arrive on campus, Sarah (Patterson) tells us that not only will we excel in the gym, but we will be the best students that we can be and that we will make a difference in the community. This award is as much a reflection on Sarah and David (Patterson) and the program as a whole as it is on me."
A finalist for a prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, Pickens has coordinated and organized activities for the Student-Athlete Advisory Board, including a clothes drive, working in a soup kitchen, participating in the American Heart Association Heart Walk and visiting an assisted living home. She has spoken to children at several elementary schools in the Tuscaloosa area and has worked with children's projects during the holiday seasons. She has also worked with Special Olympics, the United Way and visited ill children at several local hospitals.
Pickens is the only SEC gymnast ever to win the league's Gymnast of the Year honor three times. In the 2002 SEC Championships, she became the first gymnast to win four events at one championship, including the all-around.
Going into the NCAA Championships on April 18-20, Pickens has been a nine-time All-America and was the NCAA Champion in the Balance Beam in 1999. For the last two seasons, she has served as team captain, helping the Crimson Tide to the conference championship in 2000. She was a Honda Award Finalist in 1999 and earned the Sington Soaring Spirit Award as the top amateur in the state of Alabama in 2000.
Pickens was also the first freshman gymnast to earn five All-America honors in one season (1999) and was four-time Central Region Gymnast of the Year. In 2001, she was named the Crimson Tide's "Most Valuable Gymnast." Pickens was a member of the Dean's List in Fall 2000 and the President's List in Fall 2001. She has made the SEC Academic Honor Roll three times and was inducted into the Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society in 2001. She earned the Beneta Murray-Range Academic Excellence Award by Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, for academic excellence among African-American females and is a finalist for an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.
Pickens has maintained a 3.27 grade point average, majoring in biology, at Alabama. The daughter of Byron and Denise Adams, Andree' is a member the University of Alabama Student-Athlete Advisory Board, the Southeastern Conference Student-Athlete Advisory Board, the Phi Sigma Pi Honor Fraternity, NAACP and was a participant in the 2001 NCAA Foundation Leadership Conference. She was also a member of the 2001 Alabama Homecoming Court and one of five honorable mentions for "Glamour" Magazine's "Top 10 College Women" for 2001.
Pickens and her Alabama teammates will be vying for the Crimson Tide's fourth NCAA Championship April 18-20 in Tuscaloosa. It marks the third time since 1991 that Alabama has hosted the national Championship in Coleman Coliseum.