Please tell us about yourself.
I grew up in a loving home with my parents (Greg and Karin) and older brother (Logan). I always was active and involved growing up, whether that was volunteering at CROSS Food Shelf (more than 100 hours), at my church, or staying active in athletics. In high school, I was a three-sport athlete: soccer, basketball, and track. My family is so important to me. Growing up, I loved to spend time at our cabin with my family. Everyone would head up to the cabin and we would play card games, board games, swim, play yard games, cook together, and just be present as a family.
I have always loved helping others and knew I wanted to pursue a future career and education in the healthcare field. I started out thinking about audiology or occupational therapy but, after my freshmen year at Concordia, I fell in love with the healthcare leadership program. I have had the opportunity to continue athletics at the collegiate level on the women’s track and field team. I also am still active in volunteering. I help at St. Catherine nursing home in the activities department and have put in many hours at Family HealthCare, even working at the COVID testing site during the pandemic. My faith is important to me, so I attend Ignite Church and I am in a Life Group with some of my teammates and other women. I also am active with different clubs and organizations on campus as well.
How did you hear about Concordia and why did you choose to attend college here?
Growing up, my brother and I have always been close. However, when it came to choosing a college, I never intended to “follow” him. My dad (Gregory Heinecke) is a ’93 Concordia grad. In high school, I toured Concordia College with my brother for fun. My brother ended up starting at Concordia in Fall 2017. I knew I wanted to go to a small school but, since my brother attended Concordia, it was not really on my radar. I toured so many schools but was struggling to feel drawn to any. I scheduled a campus visit at Concordia and even did an overnight with some of the track girls. I loved it. I enjoyed the small campus life, the inclusivity, and the opportunity to learn and grow into someone that not only would have a college degree but would have a purpose to make a difference. Now here I am today, in my last semester at Concordia.
I enjoyed the small campus life, the inclusivity, and the opportunity to learn and grow into someone that not only would have a college degree but would have a purpose to make a difference.”
What do you enjoy about the Fargo-Moorhead area?
I enjoy the community of the Fargo-Moorhead area. I have had many opportunities to meet new people and explore the area. There are so many fun restaurants, coffee shops, stores, events, and more that take place. I love that I can make connections by volunteering and getting involved with the community in other ways such as attending events that are held.
What campus activities are you involved in?
Student Healthcare Management Association (SHMA) Vice President
Track and Field
Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC) Member
Intramural Volleyball and Basketball
What is the best part about being a student-athlete at Concordia?
The best part of being a student-athlete at Concordia is the community and friendships that come with it. I have met so many wonderful people. The connections that are made from being a student-athlete have made my time at Concordia even more special. I have been able to make memories with my teammates that are beyond just at practice or at meets. Everyone is always encouraging of each other. Being a student-athlete has put many friendly faces into my life.
How do you balance academics, athletics, and other activities?
I am a huge planner. Finding a balance has always been important to me. I like to prioritize things in my day and make lists of what I need to accomplish. My planner has been my lifesaver since high school. I look at my day and schedule in times for homework between classes, athletics, clubs, time for friends, and everything else I am involved in. I love to be busy though, so staying involved keeps me fulfilled.
How did you decide on your area of study?
I always knew I loved helping people and was drawn to the healthcare industry, but I did not know what I wanted to study. I began studying exercise science and psychology to pursue occupational therapy. After doing some job shadowing, I realized that was not my calling. I got stressed out and nervous about my future. Dr. Philip Lemaster (my advisor) directed me to a “hidden gem” at Concordia – the healthcare leadership program. I was able to reach out to Dr. Shelly Gompf and took her U.S. Healthcare Delivery course. I fell in love with the opportunities in this area of study. Since Fall 2020, I have been learning about the healthcare industry, and I look forward to making a difference with my time and talents.
What drew you to the healthcare leadership program?
After Dr. Lemaster introduced me to the healthcare leadership program, Dr. Gompf drew me into the program. I could see Dr. Gompf’s passion and love for this field. The healthcare industry is vast and there are so many opportunities that come with it. I love that the healthcare leadership program grants students the opportunity to have internships that reflect what is being taught in the classroom. Students are placed around the U.S. in internships that teach us so much valuable information. Knowing that I can make a difference with my degree after I graduate is what truly drew me to the healthcare leadership program.
What are the strengths of Concordia’s program?
Concordia’s healthcare leadership program is incredible. This specific program allows students to combine their passion for helping others with a desire to watch businesses prosper. Even though it is not spoken about very often, the healthcare leadership program at Concordia has been recognized as one of the top 10 schools in the nation to earn a bachelor’s degree in long-term care administration. Students who graduate from the healthcare leadership program can have success and attain a job in the healthcare industry. This program not only teaches students inside the classroom, but the program requires volunteer hours in the community and an internship for each concentration that a student has. These internships are some of the most valuable experiences for students! Concordia’s healthcare leadership program is also led by some amazing faculty. Dr. Shelly Gompf helps her students learn and become wonderful leaders. Dr. Jake Goering recently began assisting long-term care students in the same fashion. I love this program, and I am so thankful that Concordia has given me the opportunity to find my passion and calling. This program continues to blossom and will present more opportunities once the new center for the Sanford Heimarck School of Health Professions opens this fall.
Do you have a favorite course or professor and why?
So far, my favorite professor at Concordia is Dr. Shelly Gompf. Dr. Gompf has helped me find a love for a field. She has pushed me to be the best version of myself, both in the academic field and outside. Dr. Gompf cares about her students’ well-being beyond the classroom. Over the past few years, I have had some personal situations arise, and Dr. Gompf has been very supportive. Not only does she assist in advising her students on courses to take at Concordia, but Dr. Gompf also encourages her students to pursue passions beyond what Concordia has to offer. I studied abroad this past fall, and Dr. Gompf was a huge reason why I was able to make the opportunity become a reality. Until meeting Dr. Gompf, I would have never imagined where my life and future could be in healthcare. She puts in long hours finding internships for her students and helping them seek out future careers. I would not be where I am today in my education without Dr. Gompf. I am thankful to have her as a professor, advisor, and current/future connection in my life. I cannot thank Dr. Gompf enough for all she has done for me.
Have you had a PEAK (Pivotal Experience in Applied Knowledge) opportunity and, if so, what did you learn?
I have had a couple of PEAKs in the past few years. My first PEAK was as an intern at Allina Health in Summer 2022. My healthcare administration concentration allowed me the opportunity to work for the Total Rewards and Benefits team at Allina Health. I learned so much. I was able to make valuable connections, speak with a variety of Allina employees, and work on many different projects. I learned the importance of being flexible and asking questions. My team was so helpful and kind. Even though the internship ended in August, my team wanted to extend the learning opportunity for me. I still work remotely for Allina Health as an intern.
Another PEAK was studying abroad in Florence, Italy, in Fall 2022. This was one of the best experiences I have ever had. I was able to step out of my comfort zone and learn so much about myself and our world. I was able to take in a new culture and lifestyle and meet many amazing people. I traveled as much as possible and was involved in the activities hosted by Florence University. I was challenged and pushed to discover more about who I am and how I want to impact the world. I learned more than I ever could have imagined. I will never forget that experience. I truly loved every moment and miss Italy already.
What do you value most about your Concordia experience?
Concordia has taught me so much over the past four years. From my Concordia experience, what I value most is the community and the opportunities. There are many amazing faculty and staff that want to see the students thrive. I have had opportunities to learn and grow in the classroom and around the community. The community on Concordia’s campus is great. I can walk to class, or DS, or wherever and see smiling faces that I know. The students, faculty, and staff make the community at Concordia so warm and welcoming. I value relationships, so having a community like Concordia’s has been a highlight of my time here.
What advice would you give to a high school student who is considering Concordia?
If I were to talk to a high school student, there would be so much I would want to tell them about Concordia. The advice that I would give them is to get involved. I have met some of my closest friends due to the activities, clubs, sports, and organizations. By becoming involved, I have not only learned to prioritize what matters most to me, but I feel fulfilled with my time at Concordia. Becoming involved allowed me to learn and grow, and even gave me the courage to leave Concordia for a bit to study abroad. I would tell the high school student to step out of their comfort zone and see where the opportunity takes them.
What are your postgraduation plans?
After I graduate in May, I will be taking an internship with Guardian Angels in Elk River, Minn. This internship will allow me to have exposure to the long-term care side of healthcare. Based on my experience, I then plan to take some of my nursing home administration exams and see what job opportunities present themselves. I plan to continue my education and learning and complete a master’s program within the first couple of years after graduating.
Anything else you would like to add?
I would not be who I am today without my time at Concordia!
Published March 2023