Jacqi Van Liefde learned perseverance from volleyball to pursue future career goals

Jacqi Van Leifde Portrait

In her last semester, outside hitter for Colorado State University volleyball Jacqi Van Liefde finds that many of her experiences in volleyball have translated to skills needed in her career. She earned her bachelor’s degree in health and exercise science in Spring 2022 and has returned this season as a psychology major. Van Liefde strives to incorporate the perseverance and confidence she gained from volleyball into her life after CSU. 

Where are you from and how did you choose CSU? 

Jacqi Van Leifde in a game at Moby Arena
Photo courtesy of CSU Athletics

I am from Chula Vista, California (in San Diego County) and I wanted to get out and experience something new, so I started researching schools that had a good volleyball program, health sciences program, and outdoor recreation opportunities. CSU met all those criteria, so I came on a visit and felt at home. On my visit I got to have breakfast with eight girls on the team and two coaches and they were all super welcoming and the kind of people I could see myself connecting with. 

How did you select health and exercise science as your major? 

In high school I loved the health sciences. I took biology, anatomy, and physiology. They were the kinds of classes where I wanted to learn and do the homework so I could understand how the human body works. As an athlete I had a specific fascination with health sciences as they related to sports and performance, so when I found out about CSU’s health and exercise science major, it just made sense! 

What lessons from your major do you bring to the volleyball team training and match day? 

Jacqi Van Leifde in a game at Moby Arena
Photo courtesy of CSU Athletics

I learned a lot in HES about healthy practices in regard to diet, mental health, physical fitness, strength training, and much more. I carried this knowledge into how I prepared my own body and mind for optimal performance in my sport. Specifically, during my senior year, my classes focused more on leadership and practical experiences, so I grew a lot as a leader and felt more confident playing an influential role on the court.  

What lessons from athletics do you bring to your major? 

My experiences with athletics have taught me perseverance and grit. Athletics has helped shape the way I view academics because I know that I am capable of more than I realize if I really apply myself and give myself grace with room to grow. Athletics has also helped me learn vital time management skills that have helped me be more successful with academics.  

What are your future plans after graduation? 

I graduated in May 2022 with a Bachelor of Science in health and exercise science: health promotion with a minor in business administration. This semester I am taking a couple more classes while finishing my final semester of volleyball. I intend to further my education and earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.  

The Department of Health and Exercise Science is a part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.