STUDENT-ATHLETE PROFILE: Jackie Matthisen, Volleyball

by Kathleen McCoy  |   

Matthisen For many student-athletes, their lives are filled with classes, practices, work-outs and traveling to other cities and states to compete.  So when it comes to taking on more than just the average student, volleyball outside hitter, Jackie Matthisen, does that and more.

Raised in Anchorage, Matthisen was always athletic. She grew up playing softball, but got a taste of volleyball in a fifth-grade gym class that would eventually change her direction. A year later she decided to join the local Boys and Girls Club to play volleyball. Eventually, Matthisen lost interest in softball, "Once I got into eighth grade I didn't enjoy practice any more. I always said to myself, 'If you aren't motivated for practice, then it's time to stop.' That's when I decided to focus on volleyball." She moved on to play volleyball in high school and also joined Midnight Sun, a competitive club team that plays during spring and mid-winter; she played volleyball year-round all four years of high school.

Once it came time to go to college, Matthisen began playing for Western Oregon her freshman year, but when her team came to play against UAA, Matthisen felt like she was playing for the wrong team. "I was in my home gym, and I was wearing the wrong jersey. This was where I was supposed to be." She decided to tell her coach at Western Oregon that she wasn't coming back next year. She later spoke with UAA's Coach Rose and was set to become a Seawolf.

At 20 years old, Matthisen is a mature and committed student-athlete. "The one thing I love about volleyball is that you're always in motion; you have to think a step ahead," Matthisen said.  It seems as though she uses that thinking both on and off the court.  In her junior year as a natural science major, Matthisen is also a supplemental instructor for UAA. She attends classes that she has already taken (this year it's Applied Calculus), to take notes and host study groups for current students taking the class.

Matthisen sets a good example athletically and academically having been named an Academic All Conference athlete and also maintaining a 3.0 GPA. "Volleyball has study halls for two hours, and if you have a high enough GPA it's not required for you to go, but I, along with other teammates [who have high GPAs], still attend because everyone has to study no matter what your grades are like."

Matthisen has plans to continue her education and get her master's degree. "I'm really self-driven.  You could say I march to the beat of my own drum."

The volleyball team tied the best record in UAA history this year.

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