We are excited to announce the Spring Semester winner of our $500 academic scholarship, Hero Parker-Drost, a student at Grand Valley State University. Learn more about her proudest achievements and academic and career goals.
My parents often remind me that when I was a child I had a strong fixation on superpowers. This only seems fitting for a little girl named Hero. But as I’ve grown and developed, superpowers have become less and less about the supernatural abilities we so often attribute to the men and women in comic books and movies. Thank you for the opportunity to share about the superpowers I strive to develop.
My name is Hero Parker-Drost and I am a junior at Grand Valley State University double majoring in Behavioral Neuroscience and Classical Studies with an emphasis in Latin. After graduating in the spring of 2021, I currently plan on attending medical school to pursue a career in pediatrics and to further conduct research within the field of mental health. I believe that having a healthy body is so beneficial for maintaining a healthy mind, and completely transforms the trajectory of one’s life. It is in this knowledge that I desire to serve underprivileged areas, both physically and psychologically, to live a life that is both rewarding, productive, and fulfilling.
While in undergrad, it has been a goal of mine to initiate a student-run volunteer organization with the intention of providing companionship to local hospice patients. During my time as a hospice volunteer, I’ve witnessed firsthand the value and delicacy of life, and the importance of companionship in its final chapter. The significance of connecting with one another has been firsthand revealed to me during my time sitting beside my hospice patients. It is throughout these visits that I began to develop my desire to pursue a career in the healthcare field. I want to initiate opportunities for students, like myself, to experience the value of this unique volunteerism. Hearing the life stories, both the highs and the lows, of those in their final stage of life has taught me to value the treasured experiences that each individual holds. It has taught me to advocate for those who are too often forgotten within society and to allow them opportunities for their stories to be heard.
My passion for research within mental health has been developed by the extreme prevalence of mental health issues in our society which impacts all age groups, social classes, ethnicities, and nations. In an unfortunate aspect, it is this issue that connects us as a human species. With my medical degree, I hope to research mental health in both physiological and psychological ways to help provide multifaceted avenues for treatment. It is my goal to help others, particularly adolescents, achieve opportunities for mental wellness and to therefore encourage their own endeavors. My own pursuit towards researching mental health has shown me the importance of being present, authentic, and relational with each person that I encounter.
This past year I had the complete honor of being nominated by one of my professors for enrollment in my university’s Peter C. Cook Leadership Academy. This academy gives approximately 65 students the opportunity to practice and enrich their leadership skills through community service, mentorship, and hands-on training with leadership specialists. The academy has matched me with a retired transplant surgeon who I meet with periodically to talk about ways to be a compassionate and effective doctor throughout the remainder of my time at Grand Valley. I understand that this opportunity is rare, and I cherish every moment. I further work part-time along with my studies as a medical scribe in several emergency departments, allowing me to observe patient interaction first-hand; an experience which will help me immensely as I transition to medical school in the future.
What I’ve now learned, that which I didn’t know as a child, is that superpowers are so much more than the ability to fly, to run extraordinary speeds, or to travel through time and space. Superpowers are, instead, the ability to positively influence the people you are surrounded by. These are the superpowers that I strive to develop.
Interested in applying to our scholarship? Learn more about our requirements and apply today.
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