URI volleyball player ready for medical school after excelling in Kingston

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KINGSTON, R.I. – May 9, 2007 – Star athlete and academic standout Ivy Zuidhof has a message for her fellow University of Rhode Island student-athletes.

“We know that four years as a student-athlete go by in the blink of an eye,” said Zuidhof, who was one of the keynote speakers at a reception to honor dean’s list student-athletes at URI held earlier this year. “Please be appreciative of the people who supported you, your teammates, your coaches, your professors.”

Zuidhof, a member of the volleyball team for four years who will graduate this month, was a great choice to offer advice to younger student-athletes. She has been on the dean’s list all eight of her semesters and earned 4.0 grade point averages in two of them. In 2006, she was an honorable mention All Atlantic 10 Conference selection and led URI in hitting percentage, blocks and blocks per game. Also, last fall she was named to the Atlantic 10 Academic All Conference team. A four-time A-10 Commissioner’s Honor Roll member, she is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Sigma Phi and Phi Eta Sigma national honor societies.

As she approaches graduation, the biology major from Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, said she is feeling both the pangs of leaving a place and people she loves and the excitement of her post-URI life.

“To be able to play volleyball and earn my degree at the same time was an opportunity I never would have had without URI,” said Zuidhof, who was born and raised in a small farming community.

“I am 2,000 miles from home, so it took a little while to get used to the differences in culture and geography. But, now my teammates are my friends for life, as is my roommate who is not on the volleyball team.”

In April, she will took the Medical College Admission Test with hopes of entering medical school in Canada in 2008. “I’ve wanted to be a doctor since I was little because my opa (grandfather) was a doctor. I greatly admired him.”

Her parents, Christen and Sjoert, who immigrated to Canada before she was born, also emphasized academics throughout her life. “My mother (who was a competitive rower in Holland) always instituted in me an ethic that academics came first and athletics were second.”

Before she enters medical school, however, she will travel to the Netherlands to play volleyball for USA International, a cultural experience program. “It’s a great opportunity to travel and play volleyball in my parents’ home country.”

Zuidhof credits warm, interested and exciting faculty members with helping her excel at URI and prepare for medical school. “They really care about students and they are so knowledgeable.”

She can barely put into words how much she grew during her time with Rhode Island volleyball coach Bob Schneck. “I’ve improved tremendously, and I can’t describe how much his coaching helped.”

“Ivy has surely been one of our best players in my 26 years of coaching,” Schneck said. “Whatever she decides to do, Ivy is going be successful. She was very mature when she arrived as a freshman, and she has been a great leader throughout her career. She performed day in and day out, and I see her doing great things in medicine.”
URI News Bureau photo by Joe Giblin