Sept. 30, 2005
Kenya Trip Photo Gallery
~By Alex May
Mother Hubbard (and her husband) should be very proud of their daughter--a second season captain, an incredibly talented volleyball player, a gifted student working on her third MAAC All-Academic selection and among many other things, an aspiring medical doctor. Liz Hubbard is a textbook example of what a student-athlete can produce, and in turn, make Siena College shine.
In her senior year at Siena, she has come to the end of the beginning. Hubbard has almost completed an extremely demanding task--balancing living the college life, going to class, having a social life and keeping up with friends and family at home, all the while playing a highly intense Division I sport.
Beginning her volleyball career in the fourth grade mostly because of her sister, who is five years her former, Liz's journey before settling in Loudonville is long and illustrious.
After starting three years for three-time Delaware State Champion St. Mark's High School, the awards began to pour in. In 2001, Hubbard was selected to the First-Team All-State and First-Team All-Catholic. She also received the Gatorade State Player of the Year award, Delaware Coaches Player of the Year and the News Journal Player of the Year awards. Her choice of college volleyball courts to play on was rapidly increasing.
Eventually being recruited by Siena's program as a middle blocker, the 6-1 country music enthusiast decided to major in Biology, subsequently entering the prestigious joint venture between Siena College and the Albany Medical College. This program is highly selective, only accepting between 12-14 students out of a pool of roughly 250 high school seniors each year.
After three years of playing Division I volleyball and studying one of Siena's most demanding curriculums, Liz's summer before senior year came, a traditionally crucial recuperation and rehabilitation time. Instead of staying home and working, the norm for many college students, she decided to pursue her medical career dreams in an internship. Many would assume that Hubbard just went to her local hospital or maybe even a small family practice--but no. She decided to fly to eastern Africa.
Located on the eastern seaboard, Kenya is nestled in between Tanzania and Somalia. Populated by approximately 33 million inhabitants and a smidgen more than twice the size of Nevada, Kenya is where Liz spent her medical internship.
"I went with my friend, Alex and met with a bio-ethicist volunteering at a Catholic Mission Clinic," Hubbard explained. "We mostly worked with the mobile clinic and did home visits. It wasn't necessarily hands on medical care; we mostly administered check-ups, weighed babies and took blood pressure."
Spending the summer in a country where almost half the population is impoverished and has a 40% unemployment rate, Hubbard said that it "gave me greater appreciation of what Siena gave me...being allowed to go to Kenya, playing a sport that I love and getting a great education." Adding that "it also gave me a better appreciation of what we [Americans] have--it motivated me to use my education to help the community more."
Apart from the African heat, she mentioned that there was a tribal massacre 400 kilometers away from where she was stationed. Because of the poor road system, their group was in no immediate danger, but "it had my parents scared," she jokingly remarked.
In conjunction with the Albany Med Program, Hubbard will finish up her year at Siena and move onto medical school where she hopes to eventually lean towards general practice.
Although she does not know where she would like to practice medicine, she said she wants to stay close to her family.
With Hubbard at the helm, the Saints volleyball team has enjoyed a great start to the season. Hubbard has put up big numbers in past years for the Saints and is still performing well--helping the team recently defeat Syracuse for the first time in program history.
Whether it is on the court or in the classroom, Liz Hubbard has been and always will be a leader. Her talents, both academically and athletically, will guide her to a very prosperous future. She's a perfect example of someone who has been given a lot and has never taken anything for granted.
Soon enough, she will be able to do what she has wanted for some time now--to give back to the community that helped her get where she is today.
Alex May is a sophomore English major at Siena College