An Honors College senior, Heather says her years at OSU have been filled with rich new experiences and lots of “aha” moments. Like befriending 11- year-old Becca, her IMPACT buddy with Down syndrome, or working in the Biomechanics Lab studying fall prevention, or choosing an internship in a remote Himalayan village. “I wanted to go someplace completely different, outside my comfort zone,” says the pre-med senior in exercise sciences of her 10-week exchange in Dehra Dun, Than Gaon, Rishikesh, Mussorie, and Delhi, India. “I shadowed doctors, took vitals, attended five surgeries on one day, and traveled with a doctor in the slums of Delhi as part of an HIV prevention program.” Heather says experiencing cultures within cultures, she began to truly understand the concept of diversity and respect how people see things differently. “It changed my life – the harsh conditions there, the things we take for granted here. Now I look past the little things and see the bigger picture, see the people.”
Becca Davey has been one of Heather’s toughest “teachers.” Heather has volunteered with IMPACT, the college’s program for kids with disabilities, since she came to OSU and for the last three years has worked one-on-one with Becca. “I’m learning that they have the same tricks, the same frustrations, the same joys as any other kid. I’ve found ways to teach and help her that resonate with her, capture her attention, and make sense to her.”
Heather also serves as chair of the Student Health Advisory Board, is a research scholar of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, plays indoor soccer, and has just started salsa dancing. “It’s waking up my childhood dancing memories,” she grins.