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IUPUI Magazine

Business Issue, Summer 2007

Living life on the fly

Article by Ric Burrous

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Devika Bellamy learned early on that volleyball is a game of near-constant motion.

She learned that lesson so well, in fact, that she applies the "constant motion" theory to nearly everything in her life as an IUPUI student-athlete, whether it's excelling in the classroom, inside "The Jungle" or in her numerous volunteer activities.

"I don't believe in doing anything halfway," laughs the Kelley School of Business senior-to-be. "I figure if you're going to get wet, you might as well dive into the deep end!"

The Evansville native doesn't do success halfway, either. In her junior year alone, she was named first-team All-Mid-Continent Conference for her volleyball prowess, and was one of IUPUI's "Top 100" academic achievers this past spring.

That would fill a day planner for most college students; for Bellamy, it was just a start. For good measure, she also co-taught a leadership course for fellow IUPUI students, and spent time mentoring an online community of international students.

Inherited traits

Bellamy's drive on and off the court is genetic. Her father was recruited from Trinidad and Tobago to play soccer for the University of Evansville, stayed on and is now a professor there. Her mother is a self-employed therapist who met her father "while she was working as a lifeguard at the school pool."

Their commitment to education and achievement became her own.

"I always expected college to be hard work," she says, but choosing classes that fit her long-term goals "has made the work a lot more fun than I expected. It's hard, don't get me wrong - you have a lot of work to do, especially with athletics in the mix - but you learn so much about things you want to understand.

"I was a little surprised about making the Top 100, frankly, because I know how many talented students there are here at IUPUI," adds the marketing and international business major. "I do work hard, but so do they. When you think about all the exciting things the other kids here do - in classrooms, in labs - it's nice to get acknowledgement that someone thinks you belong with them."

She freely admits her accomplishments in the classroom are at least as important as her athletic success to her parents. "They kind of expect me to do well academically," she laughs.

Fulfilling work

She suspects that her volunteer activities might be just as important to them.

"I get a sense of fulfillment from working with others," she says. "I like meeting new people, and I was brought up to believe that if you have the time and ability to help others, you should."

Since coming to IUPUI in the fall of 2004, Bellamy has worked with IUPUI's "Best Buddies" program, with the People's Burn Foundation in Indianapolis and with abused and underprivileged kids at the St. Chris' Child Care Center. Bellamy annually is an avid participant in IUPUI's traditional Martin Luther King Jr. "Day On" volunteer effort. She spent two years with the IUPUI "O-Team" helping incoming students through orientation and is a mentor for an online community of international students.

Serving as a mentor for other IUPUI students means a lot to Bellamy.

"I remember when I came to campus as a freshman, there was SO much I didn't know about the school, the campus, the faculty or the city," she says. "I like to help bridge that gap, help kids adjust to college life, and make a few new friends along the way."

Her love of working with others may extend past college life. Bellamy hopes to move to Egypt or Japan after graduation in 2008 to "teach English as a second language." After that, she'd love to expand her international horizons by working in the Peace Corps.

"I love the idea of living in other lands and in other cultures, working with people to improve their lives at least a little bit," Bellamy says. Being a child of the age of technology, though, she can't help but acknowledge that her long-term goal is to "have my own TV talk show with my best friend, Ashley Johnson (a teammate on the IUPUI volleyball team)," she adds with a twinkle in here eye.

She enjoyed another international experience after the 2006-07 school year, visiting Trinidad and Tobago with her father, a trip she has long awaited.

"They tell me I took my first steps there, and we visited again when I was 7, but I haven't been back since," she says. "I really want to see everything" that her father experienced while growing up.

Another trip awaits: Bellamy got the chance to study abroad in June and early July in Greece, part of an IUPUI anthropology course. "That's going to be really, really exciting," she says. "It's such an awesome opportunity to experience an ancient culture up close."

Choosing IUPUI

Volleyball was the proverbial "foot in the door" to recruit Bellamy, but the campus has been a far more rewarding experience than she expected.

"I've wanted to play college volleyball all my life," she says. "And I wanted to test myself against the best, in (NCAA) Division I. Since I knew I wanted to stay within three or four hours of home, that put IUPUI right in the thick of things."

She'd been to the capital city before, to play in club tournaments, but her first long-term exposure convinced her.

"I love this city and this campus! There's just so much energy and life, so much going on, so much to do," she says. "It gives you that big-city feel without being overwhelmed."

The volleyball standout has taken full advantage of the city's offerings.

"I've been to Colts games, Pacers games, shopped at the (Circle Centre) mall, met celebrities like LeBron James and Jermaine O'Neal," she says. "How great is all that!"

Though she started playing the sport at age 12, she didn't start her club volleyball career - a prime source of recruiting for college coaches - until she was a high school junior. But her success at Evansville Harrison High School - she was both the city and the metro Player of the Year in her junior and senior years - put her on college radar screens.

"I fell in love with the sport quickly, but I really didn't know how good I could be until the middle of my high school career," Bellamy says.

"I really like how fast-paced the game is," she adds. "You don't have time to think - you have about two seconds to decide what you're going to do. It's exciting, it's challenging and it can drive you crazy, too."

The game suits her temperament and her skills, as well.

"A lot of volleyball is instinct, training yourself to react rather than think, and that fits me," she says. "I've always been athletic - I got that from both my mom and dad - and if you're athletic, you can learn anything!"

Bellamy is an avid fan of IUPUI's other sports, as well.

"One of the best things about this campus is that all of us (athletes) get to know one another, and we're good about going to each other's games," she says. "Nobody understands what we're going through quite as well as the other athletes - they KNOW the price we pay!"

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