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College of Science & Mathematics

College is What You Make of It: Jessica Healey

The transition from high school to college is a pivotal chapter in life that many have gone through and still do; it is a time for growth, for change and for making mistakes. For Class of 2014 graduate Jessica Healey, college can be overwhelming sometimes; but ultimately, she saysthat college is what you make of it.
 
Healey, the Board of Trustees [BOT] student representative on the Student Government Association executive board and consecutive-three-time president of her start up organization, Hope for Education, explained that when she first arrived at Rowan, she was very introverted.
 
"It was a challenge for me," she said. "I was really shy and didn't like to put myself out there."
 
A commuter for all four of her years at the University, she had never been involved with anything like SGA in her high school, but decided to give it a try.
 
"As a commuter, I thought I'd be missing out on what it was like to be at college, but you make your own experiences," Healey expressed. "I made an effort to get involved. I wanted to engage myself."
 
Picking up a Student Freshman Officer Interest Program [SFOIP] application, Healey was hesitant, but decided to give it a try. At the time, SFOIP was an application based program that allowed freshmen to develop their leadership and communication skills, while granting them the opportunity to become an intricate part of the University, through leadership opportunities, like SGA.
   
In November of 2009, Healey was elected as a freshmen class senator where she voiced the concerns of her class and voted on legislation on behalf of the freshmen population. With less than a year's worth of experience, Healey decided to run for the Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs.
 
She won.
     
"I was really interested in the committees and the issues that students were facing on campus, and thought it fascinating that students had a chance to contribute to the solution," Healey explained.
     
Described as an organic transition, she ran for the Alternate Board of Trustees student representative position her junior year.
     
She won again.
     
The SGA designates two e-board positions for the BOT student representative. The position, to which students are elected to, is a two-year commitment. The first year is spent as a non-voting member of the BOT, where one learns how meetings operate, motions pass and learns who the board members are and their roles; a warm-up for when he or she becomes a voting member the next year.
     
A voting member her senior year at Rowan, Healey felt a sense of urgency to ensure that students knew they had a voice in the decisions made by the Board.
     
"The BOT was something that Julio [Interiano, alternate BOT student representative] wanted to address last year. Students have a voice and I worked to make sure that voice is heard," Healey stressed.
     
For Healey, the quiet and unsure freshmen, becoming the BOT representative seemed like a dream.
     
"In SGA, you can't be quiet and you can't be shy. You have to assert yourself and say what you feel. It was a challenge for me," Healey reflected. "It can be intimidating with everyone who has years of experience with the University and other fields."
     
But Healey wasn't alone in her journey to make the most out of college; she had a lot of support from her mentor, Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students Richard Jones.
     
"[Dean Jones] is one of the big reasons I've been able to get to the places I'm at," Healey said. "He forced me to believe in myself and be confident. He's committed to his responsibilities and someone I've always looked up to."
     
Dean Jones, former SGA Advisor, worked with Healey for all three years of her service on the e-board.
 
"It was a privilege to watch Jess grow as a student and leader. She has used her leadership role to developed confidence in and outside of the classroom," Jones said. "I Know that she will be a compassionate medical provider and serve her patients well. I am proud to call her my friend."
     
One of her biggest accomplishments is the creation of her organization, the Hope For Education program, created through the Office of Service Learning, Volunteerism and Community Engagement. The program provides the opportunity for students to visit Cooper Hospital and interact with its pediatric patients.
     
"While I was growing up, my cousin had cancer and we were close in age," Healey explained. "I watched her go through treatment and it sparked my interest."
     
Her involvement with Cooper is not only for her Hope for Education program, but it will be where Healey attends graduate school, at the Cooper Medical School of Rowan University.
     
An undergraduate biological sciences major, psychology minor with a concentration in both Honors and pre-medical studies, Healey is keeping her options open, but is dedicated to helping others.
     
"I'm interested in Primary Care, Family or Internal Medicine," Healey listed, "but I'm keeping my options open as I'm going through grad school."
     
She wishes that one thing she wish she knew when she first stepped on to Rowan's campus was to have fun.
     
"I would have told myself to not be afraid to ask questions and to not doubt yourself. I focused a lot on trying to get into med-school, so I'd also tell myself to relax a little bit," she said.
     
For Healey, high school to college was a transition that saw tremendous growths and the reaching of heights previously seen as too high. A true product of what can happen when individuals put their minds to something, Healey will take with her what she has always believed in: It's what you make of it.