An economics concentrator at Harvard, Katherine Sheeleigh has maintained a 3.45 overall grade point average during her academic career and will graduate in May 2010. In 2009, she was named to the Academic All-Ivy League team, as well as the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District third team. She has decided to pursue a career in physical therapy and has volunteered as an aide at JAG Physical Therapy in New Jersey during the 2009 and 2010 summers.
A co-captain of the Crimson this upcoming fall, Sheeleigh is hoping to lead Harvard to its third straight Ivy League title and NCAA tournament appearance. She has overcome several injuries during her career at Harvard, while still maintaining an all-conference level of play on the field. During the winter of her freshman year, she suffered a stress fracture in her left ankle, causing her to miss all of the spring season. She also tore her hamstring as a junior, greatly impacting her ability to play in the last few regular season games, as well as the first round of the NCAA tournament. In addition, Sheeleigh was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as an infant and was unable to move the left side of her body. She went through intense physical therapy, which is why she has such a strong desire to pursue a career in the physical therapy field, for the first seven years of her life. She also suffered a bout with dyslexia, but has made huge improvements in both cases, not letting either disease impact her academic or athletic careers. As a captain, she leads by example, as she is the most competitive player on the two-time defending champion Crimson. Sheeleigh never stops working throughout training sessions or games and her best attribute as a leader is her work ethic.
In January 2010, Sheeleigh traveled to the Republic of the Marshall Islands, working in a volunteer internship with the Ministry of Education. She worked with high school students, preparing them for the rigors of higher education abroad, including preparation for a test of English as a foreign language. Working in the pioneering year of the College Access Program in this developing nation, Sheeleigh tailored test-taking strategies for students and organized weekly college preparation meetings and one-on-one advising conversations with students at the largest public high school in the Marshall Islands. Sheeleigh also worked as a teaching assistant for a class of seniors at Marshall Islands High School, creating ESL-specific lesson plans and further developed her teaching skills in a multi-leveled classroom. She assessed student progress, while employing classroom management practices and incorporating diverse teaching strategies using limited resources. In addition, she is very active as a volunteer for the Children’s Tumor Foundation. In February 2010, she volunteered in Daytona, Fla., for the neurofibromatosis event “Racing4Research,” and during the summer of 2010, volunteered at “NF Camp” as a counselor at Camp Kostopoulos in Utah.
One of the most decorated players in recent Harvard women’s soccer history, Sheeleigh is a three-time All-Ivy League honoree, having been name to the first team all three years in Cambridge. The Ivy League Rookie of the Year in 2007, she has been tabbed to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America all-region team three times, as well as the New England Women’s Intercollegiate Soccer Association All-New England team once. She has helped Harvard win back-to-back Ivy League titles and reach the NCAA tournament in each of the last two seasons. As a junior, she led Harvard in scoring with 21 points on eight goals and five assists, pacing the squad with four game-winning tallies. In 2008, Sheeleigh was second on the Crimson with six goals and 17 points and was the team’s leading scorer as a freshman in 2007 with eight goals and 16 points. Sheeleigh enters her senior season ranked tied for seventh in program history with 22 goals and stands ninth with 54 points.