December 6, 2023

Featured Falcons: Kevin Harvey

Before being recruited to play lacrosse here, senior Kevin Harvey had never heard of the University of Montevallo. After his first visit to UM, an 11-hour drive away from his hometown of Parkland, Florida, he immediately knew that he belonged on the bricks.

“I absolutely fell in love with the size,” he said. “I’ve always wanted small class sizes, and it was very affordable. It ended up being the only school I applied to because I knew it was just the right fit.”

Kevin HarveyGrowing up as an athlete, the exercise and nutrition science major knew he wanted to go into an athletics-related field. Though he originally chose the route of physical therapy, he realized it wasn’t the path for him after working some internship hours. But a new career interest emerged over the summer when he started conducting research with Montevallo Fire and Rescue alongside Dr. Emily Langford, assistant professor of exercise science.

“We’re researching health and wellness initiatives for volunteer firefighters to see if we can improve some baseline physical fitness evaluations,” Harvey said. “Not necessarily to make them better at their jobs, because they’re already great, but to help them be able to move better in everyday life and have more years with their kids or grandkids when they retire.”

The research program is still new and is limited to Montevallo Fire Station #1 on Ashville Road, but they hope to branch out to more fire departments around the county in the future.

“We’re just starting with them and seeing how it goes, and it’s been really great,” Harvey said. “We’ve gotten some recognition from other fire departments around the city and the state because they’ve seen some of the work that we’ve done.”

Set to graduate in May 2024, Harvey plans to pursue his master’s degree in exercise science.  After that, he wants to earn a Ph.D., become a professor and continue his research with fire departments. His advice to incoming students is to establish a relationship with their professors.

“Because the class sizes are so small, they know who you are and they’ll remember you,” he said. “Professors have been some of my greatest support systems at the University. If I’m having trouble in a class and I really need help, I can go to them pretty much whenever and they’ve been more than helpful.”

Harvey is an Honors student, a Montevallo Ambassador Program Scholarship (M.A.P.S.) recipient and has served on a UM student panel for two years, where student representatives answer questions from the current Leadership Shelby County class about the institution from the student perspective. Harvey gave a guided campus tour to the current leadership class in November. He has also been a Montevallo Maven since spring of his freshman year.

“Right when I got here, the entire community was so welcoming,” he said. “I got to know all the other tour guides and it was nice to be able to make friends with everyone. Everyone’s supportive and happy to be here.”