First-year Purdue Health Sciences major set with volleyball accolades, med school preparation

Eva Hudson passes the volleyball at a recent practice

Purdue health sciences major Eva Hudson passes the volleyball at a recent practice. The first-year phenom earned dozens of honors and recognitions during the fall season. She is already eyeing medical school while she excels in the classroom.Tim Brouk

Written by: Tim Brouk,

Eva Hudson stands for a photo

Eva Hudson

One of the most decorated first-year players in program history, Eva Hudson was a smash for Purdue University volleyball as an excellent outside hitter in 2022.

Standing at 6 feet 1 inch with years of high school and club prowess from her hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana, Hudson raked in such accolades this fall as Big Ten Freshman of the Year and First Team All-Big Ten, and she was the first first-year Purdue volleyball player to be named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association All-Midwest Region Team in almost 40 years. She also grew her passion for pre-med studies as a School of Health Sciences major in the Purdue College of Health and Human Sciences.

The rigors of an acclaimed athletics program — which has seen 17 NCAA tournament berths in the last 20 years — and an academic program like health sciences could overwhelm any 18-year-old. However, Hudson must only call home to get advice on how it can be done. In the 1990s, Hudson’s mother, Dr. Stacey (Mondino) Hudson, played the same position as her daughter for Purdue Volleyball. The elder Hudson also found her pre-med studies in HHS, studying in the Department of Psychological Sciences. Dr. Hudson is an anesthesiologist today.

“Being able to play and walk in my mom’s footsteps is just so humbling, and it’s such an honor,” the younger Hudson said. “It’s just so cool that she has basically gone through the same thing as me, both as a volleyball player and going through that pre-med kind of route.”

Hudson’s first semester was quite the whirlwind. She said aside from continuing to improve on the volleyball court, she hopes to participate in undergraduate health sciences cancer research opportunities in the coming semesters.

Now that you’ve had months to reflect, how would you sum up your first season with Purdue volleyball?

It’s everything I could’ve asked for. Coming in as a freshman, not thinking I was going to play, I was going to try to make an impact no matter what job they were going to give me.

I just watched an intense practice more than two months after the team’s last match in December. How would you describe the mood of the team right now?

Already, the intensity has been turned up. We just want to get better around here. On and off the court, we will just put 100% effort in. We’re in here doing extra, and we just want to win. It’s awesome to see everyone buy into that intensity and keep turning it up.

What was it like once things got rolling on the court for you?

I knew it was going to be tough coming in. So, to be able to achieve all of that is just so crazy. Overcoming obstacles, especially as a freshman, getting into academics and playing is crazy right at the beginning of the fall semester.

eva and dr. stacey hudson smile for a photo

Eva Hudson, left, and her mother, Dr. Stacey Hudson, share pre-med studies and Purdue volleyball experiences. Eva finds inspiration academically and athletically in her mom, who is an anesthesiologist in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

What made you major in health sciences?

Both of my parents are doctors. My dad’s an ophthalmologist, and my mom’s an anesthesiologist. So, I grew up around pre-med and health sciences. Naturally, I also went into health sciences and pre-med, and I’m planning to continue into medical school — if not professional volleyball first, then medical school, it will be medical school right off the bat to become a dermatologist. The goal is to have my own practice.

What advice has your mother given you for both on the court and in the classroom?

It’s cool that she can continue to give me a lot of feedback and a lot of help. If I have any questions, I go straight to her, and honestly, that has built a stronger relationship between us. It’s more friends than mother-daughter at this point.

Basically, she told me straight-up it was going to be hard, and there are going to be times where I’m going to want to quit both academics and athletics, but those are the most important days. Those are the days that I have to keep working and keep pushing through because on the other side of that is success.

What advice would you give the next first-year Purdue volleyball phenom?

I would say don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid to swing away on the court. There’s nothing to lose, especially as a first-year. They don’t expect that much from you as a first-year. Just coming out with a big personality and big swings on the court and even on the academic side. Try to push yourself and take those hard classes. Take those head-on because those will really push you to succeed in the future.