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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 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.

Thanks for get­ting to know our won­der­ful schol­ars! Stayed tuned for more spot­lights to come on our News & Events page, as well as oth­er updates!