Countdown to Commencement: Erika Warnke, Abe Patterson, Devyn Carder

Each spring we highlight members of the graduating class as we Countdown to Commencement. In 2021 -- a year like no other -- we asked 17 seniors to reflect on their ‘Berg experiences inside and outside of the classroom, their mentors and advisors and their plans after graduation. Each of these students was recommended for this special section by a ‘Berg faculty or staff member. 

Cheers to the Class of ’21. Here’s to sweet endings and new beginnings!

Erika Warnke

I chose Heidelberg because of the family atmosphere I felt the moment I stepped onto campus my junior year of high school. I remember coming to Music Preview Day, touring the beautiful campus, and then seeing the Concert Choir perform and thinking, “THIS is where I want to be.” Later on in high school I applied and auditioned at four other schools, but in the back of my mind, I always knew that Heidelberg would be my home.

I majored in Music Education because it’s what I’ve always wanted to do, ever since I was a small child. I remember playing “music class” with a bed full of stuffed animals all the time when I was young, and now, I have the skills and capabilities to teach kids to fall in love with music the same way I did. I’ve always been passionate about music, and Heidelberg has given me numerous opportunities to develop my own philosophy on the importance of music education. The music educators I’ve had have been some of the most influential people in my life, especially the ones at Heidelberg, and I can’t wait to be that person for my own students soon.

A major challenge I encountered while I was at Heidelberg was completing my dual emphasis degree. I was determined from my first day on campus that I would take both vocal lessons and oboe lessons, as both instrumental and vocal music were important to me. Little did I know, that would lead me to have 20 credit hours almost every semester of my college career! There were lots of long days and nights, especially leading up to my completion of two Senior recitals last fall, which ended up being a total of 90 minutes of music between both recitals. I never would’ve made it through without my classmates, who became some of my best friends, and my professors, who never stopped believing in me and encouraging me to be the best I could be.

Above all, Heidelberg prepared me to become a successful, hard-working individual, as well as a lifelong learner. I have learned how to use creative approaches to solve problems in the classroom, but also in my personal life as well. I’ve learned how to be confident in my abilities and knowledge, and that I can achieve any goal I set through hard work.

Outside of the classroom, I was involved in almost every music ensemble there is to offer. I played trumpet in the Marching Band and oboe in the Symphonic Band all four years, and this past year, I was honored to serve as the President of the Band. Through this and the Music Education program I’ve had the opportunity to conduct at football games, as well as take charge of distributing and managing the marching uniforms for the band. On the vocal side of things, I have been a member of the Concert Choir for 4 years, as well as the Chamber Singers for 3. This year, I actually had the privilege to teach a piece to my peers, and conduct it at our concerts this spring. This experience has been extremely valuable to me, as it allowed me to further develop my teaching skills, and gave me the chance to direct a very advanced choir!

Earlier on in my college career, I was also part of musical pit orchestras and Jazz Band. I’ve also been inducted into the music honorary, Tau Mu Sigma, as well as being President of our chapter of the Ohio Collegiate Music Education Association my junior year, and leading a trip for my peers to the Ohio Music Education Association conference in the spring of 2020. Aside from music, I also have been a part of one of the sororities on campus, Delta Sigma Chi. The Delts have been my home since I joined in the Spring of 2019, and I’m so thankful for the family the group has given me, including alumnae and active members. I think my favorite Delt memory was getting to sing and dance with my sisters in the fall of 2019 at our last “normal” Greek Sing. 

Among numerous others, one of the staff members that has greatly impacted my Heidelberg experience would be Dr. Gregory Ramsdell. Dr. Ramsdell is one of the most hardworking, passionate and caring people I’ve ever met. He treats his students like his kids, and holds us to the highest standards possible. He invests in storytelling through our music, and engages students in every aspect of the rehearsal process, whether it be singing a silly warmup together, leading sectionals, or leading in-depth conversations about how our music applies to situations we face every day, even as students. My time in the Concert Choir has provided me with some of my favorite memories from Heidelberg, and it’s one of the things I’m going to miss the most.

One of my favorite Heidelberg memories is conducting and performing in our senior season of Marching Band shows on the football field this past fall. The band was so excited to perform, even considering the circumstances of multiple quarantines happening, and all of the precautions that came with COVID. Getting sent home a year ago without goodbyes, end-of-year performances, etc. was heartbreaking, but getting to perform again on the field was a small glimpse of normalcy in our semester.

After graduation, I plan to find a job in the Northern Ohio area teaching some sort of junior high or high school music. I also hope to start my own private music studio, teaching vocal and oboe lessons to area students!

Abe Patterson

I chose Heidelberg because it seemed like a good fit for me, wasn't too big and has a good student-to-faculty ratio.

I majored in Early Childhood Education and Intervention Specialist because I've always wanted to work with kids and seeing them learn and develop over time is one of the greatest things to witness.

A major challenge I encountered while at Heidelberg was being away from my family and I handled it by leaning on all my brothers on the football team and them becoming my family away from family.

Above all, Heidelberg prepared me to succeed in all areas and build lifelong relationships with those around me.

Outside of the classroom, I was involved in football, Heidelberg University's Council of Teachers of Mathematics and Residence Life. 

My favorite extra-curricular activity was football because I could be around all my friends that became family to me.

One faculty or staff mentor or advisor who impacted my ‘Berg experience is Dr. Lindsey Haubert because she always pushed me to do better and get the best out of me but at the end of the day she was always looking out for me and was there for anything whenever I needed it.

My favorite Heidelberg memory is hosting Math Camp at the local area schools

My plans after graduation are to get an Intervention Specialist job here around the area or back around Columbus.

Devyn Carder

I chose Heidelberg because of the small campus feel. I really appreciated the personal connections made with faculty and staff. 

I majored in Health Science because I knew it was a general field and allowed me to find the things I was passionate about while getting multiple perspectives of the health field 

A major challenge I encountered while at Heidelberg was getting hands-on experience during COVID-19. I handled it by doing what I could do in the lab although not getting the experience I would have liked and making the best of it. 

Above all, Heidelberg prepared me to be confident as a student to teach and instruct other people about things I’m passionate about and apply it to my everyday life  

Outside of the classroom, I was involved in Zeta Theta Psi and working at Saurwein as a personal trainer. 

My favorite extra-curricular activity was training students who were motivated to better themselves and developing close relationships and connections while exercising my knowledge and experience I gained in my classes. 

One faculty or staff mentor or advisor who impacted my ‘Berg experience is Dr. Pam Faber because she’s brilliant and helped me develop a strong foundation in anatomical sciences that has carried over into all my other classes and my personal training jobs at school and home. 

My favorite Heidelberg memory was all the endless laughs while working on the cadaver with Dr. Faber and other students.

My plans after graduation are to attend The University of Toledo to obtain my Doctorate in Occupational Therapy.

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