Outstanding scholar and student athlete Jessi Wollmann earns prestigious award

Jessi Wollmann
Jessi Wollmann

Radford University athlete and Honors College student Jessi Wollmann has added another accolade to her expanding list of academic and athletic achievements.

Wollmann, a member of the women’s soccer team and a student in the Honors College, was named the 2019 Virginia Collegiate Honors Council (VCHC) Scholar of the Year. The honor is awarded to a student from a VCHC member institution who successfully embodies the scholarship, character and ambition associated historically with honors students and the VCHC.

The VCHC joins universities, colleges and community colleges throughout Virginia and West Virginia to support and enhance programs and activities to meet the needs of exceptionally talented and motivated students.

As part of the honor, Wollmann, a senior anthropology major, will present at James Madison University during the VCHC conference on April 5-6.

Wollmann received the exciting news over spring break.

“I am very honored,” Wollmann said. “Everything that I do and every reward that I receive, I’m always grateful for the recognition. I often go through periods where I’m really stressed about something and I ask myself, ‘Why am I doing this?’ or ‘Why am I always so busy?’ Receiving a recognition like this makes me remember that others do realize that I put in a lot of work to do the things that I do, and do them successfully. It’s all been worth it. High risk, but high reward.”

Last year, Wollmann was named the Big South Conference Women’s Soccer Scholar-Athlete of the Year, in addition to several other academic and athletic honors.

Off the soccer field, she is heavily involved in campus organizations, including the Student Government Association and Anthropology Club. She is a former student representative to the Radford University Board of Visitors and Honors College student liaison. .

Wollmann has participated in undergraduate research and recently presented at the American Association of Physical Anthropologists Meeting in Cleveland, Ohio.

She is interested in the study of biomechanics and plans to continue her research on the subject this fall at the University of Toronto. The institution was her top choice for graduate school, and she is excited to pursue her Ph.D. there.

At the VCHC conference this weekend, she plans to share her remarkable Radford University experience, as well as her four-year journey within the Honors College.

Wollmann, a native of Blacksburg, Virginia said she was not very involved in high school beyond her passion for soccer. She received early admission to Radford University, and soon after, learned of her acceptance into the Honors College.

“I was very intimidated at first,” Wollmann said. “My first thought was, ‘Am I good enough?’”

After receiving reassurance and encouragement from a former Blacksburg High School soccer player, who played on the Highlander women’s soccer team and was an Honors student, Wollmann said she “went for it.”

“It really worked out for the best,” Wollmann said. “A University 100 class I took my freshman year was the reason I built my ambition back up. It reenergized me and made me excited about school again. Dr. Christensen would bring in people who studied abroad and did undergraduate research. He would tell us that this is everything you can achieve at Radford if you’re ambitious enough. I sat there and thought, ‘I have to do all of this stuff.’”

And she did.

Niels Christensen, director of the Honors College and longtime mentor of Wollmann, said he is proud of her many outstanding accomplishments.

“With Jessi moving on to a doctoral program in anthropology, winning the VCHC Honors Scholar of the Year is the perfect capstone on an amazing undergraduate career,” he said. “As I told the award committee, Jessi is a once-in-a-generation talent when it comes to student- athletes. But, she is also the quintessential honors student, with unbounded curiosity. We’re so proud to have her recognized as the top honors student in the Commonwealth.”

Apr 4, 2019
Mary Hardbarger