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School of Medicine discoveries

February 12, 2012

Jennifer Harvey: Medical student by day, NCAA volleyball player by night

When first-year student Jennifer Harvey enrolled in the medical school last fall, she also stepped onto the VCU women’s volleyball team.

She’s believed to be the first person at VCU to try juggling the responsibilities of both a Division I athlete and medical student. Her accomplishment is featured in the December issue of VCU Athletics’ Ram Report.

Jennifer Harvey

Despite four years away from the game, first-year medical student Jennifer Harvey joined the VCU Volleyball team last fall.
Photo courtesy of VCU Athletics

Student athletes are given five years to compete in four seasons of any given sport. During her undergraduate studies at Virginia Tech, she played soccer, accumulating 44 career points and being named Academic All-America in 2010.

Though Harvey had used up her four years of soccer eligibility, as long as she was in college this year, she was eligible to play any other sport during the 2011-12 academic year. She chose volleyball, which she starred in at Cave Spring High School.

VCU Volleyball Coach James Finley said “It was great having somebody with that kind of commitment and that kind of work ethic because that’s such a great influence on our team as a whole, academically and athletically.”

Her medical school schedule forced her to miss certain practices and games, but Harvey always showed up ready to play as often as she could. She appeared in eight matches for the Rams and averaged 1.46 digs per set, a reasonable mark given her limited playing time.

“She absolutely shocked us that her skill level was as high as it was because it was like she’s been playing for three years,” Finley said. “She just has such a natural ability to read and know where the ball’s going to go and she’s a phenomenal athlete.”

The volleyball season ended with the team posting an 8-6 record in conference play. Read the full story of how Harvey handled the responsibilities of her fall schedule in the Ram Report.

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Updated: 04/29/2016