Scholar Spotlight: Grace Petrezelka
Junior at University of Northern Iowa
“To me, being a Bright Scholar means using the inspiring generosity and legacy of the Bright Foundation to go out into the world and give back. It means working to improve myself while also making a difference in the lives of others. It allows me to believe in myself, go the extra mile both inside and outside of school, and serve others around me.”
How are you sharing your time and/or talents with others now? How do you hope to do so in the future?
One of the best parts of my week is the time I spend volunteering at my hometown animal rescue. I volunteer there two to three nights a week during the summer and at least once a week during the school year. I do a variety of tasks such as leading the younger volunteers, helping prepare paperwork for adoptions, triaging new arrivals and cleaning. I have been a volunteer there for almost three years, and I love being able to give my time to a place that brings me both joy and purpose, while giving a voice to those who do not have one. I am passionate about the healthcare of all creatures, and I have learned so much about how to care for animals from the rescue’s staff and local veterinarians. In the future, I hope to grow more in my role and eventually serve as a board member.
How are you exploring your career and preparing yourself for life after college?
I recently accepted a position as a business office specialist at a hospital in my hometown, which has given me a wonderful view into the world of public healthcare. Rural healthcare is often taken for granted, yet it is vital to many communities across the state of Iowa. I have been able to work with our clinical partners to gain a better understanding of their various departmental needs. I have learned a lot about healthcare infrastructure and how we can work behind the scenes to continually improve patient experiences. I have also learned a great deal about the business side of the healthcare industry. I look forward to expanding my knowledge as I continue in this role throughout the school year.
Where do you see yourself in five years? 10 years?
In five years, I see myself continuing in my education and hopefully obtaining a doctoral degree. What I love most about education is that you can always learn more and pursue more advanced degrees.
In ten years, I see myself using what I have learned to make an impact on the world, whether that’s through traveling and doing practical work within the public health field, or teaching future public health leaders. I see education as limitless, and I hope to be a lifelong learner.
What’s a fun fact we should know about you?
I am really into working on DIY projects in my spare time. Over the summer, I completed everything from an upcycled breakfast bar cart to a hanging rack to hold my many colorful coffee mugs. I have a lot of fun visualizing the potential of different objects.