Jennifer Marrkand is a fourth-year swimmer for the University of Virginia. Her success in the pool has led to two All America honors and three honorable mention All-America honors in multiple swimming events.

Growing up in Westford, Massachusetts, Jen found her passion for swimming after testing multiple sports. “I love the racing and the feeling I get when I know that all my hard work has paid off. In swimming, although you race alone in the lane, you are really racing for your teammates on the pool deck.” This competitive spirit is what led her to choose UVA for her collegiate experience. “As a team, we are competitive both in the pool and also in the classroom. I think this is unique to UVA and was one of the reasons I chose to come here.”

Outside of the swimming pool, Jen is involved with Athletes Committed to Education (ACE). “Once a week, I work one-on-one with an 8th grade student from Buford Middle School to promote academic success, support character development, and to strengthen and build leadership qualities.” She is also involved in an annual Charlottesville Swim-a-Thon to share her experience in swimming with young, aspiring local swimmers. “These community service programs allow me to interact with the residents of Charlottesville. I think it is important to give back because they are so supportive of UVA student-athletes.”

After graduation, Jen hopes to combine her involvement as a student-athlete with her major in Media Studies to become a market research analyst. Along with a knowledgeable background in digital media skills and a strong education in vocabulary and economics, she says, “I understand that to have a future career in market research I have to be strong in both the communicative and quantitative aspects of the job, and to know how to work as part of a team. As student and an NCAA Division athlete, I know what it means to be an effective team member and I understand the value of hard work in accomplishing tasks.” Jen plans to gain experience as a game day intern with the UVA Sports Marketing and Promotions.

Jen was named to the 2017 College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America’s (CSCAA) Scholar All-America Team and the ACC All-Academic team. She was also named the recipient of the 2017-2018 Gus and Becky Ramirez Swimming and Diving Scholarship at the 2017 Hoos Choice Awards. When given the opportunity to thank VAF donors, Jen said, “Thank you to Gus and Becky Ramirez. Their support of UVA’s swimming and diving program allows me to excel academically and athletically. Our team has the best training facilities, classrooms, professors and coaches. Their support helps provide the opportunity for UVA student-athletes to be successful.”

Donor contributions to the VAF Annual Fund support student-athletes such as Jen in many ways including scholarships, the Athletics Academic Affairs program and sport-specific operational budgets.