Countdown to Commencement: Amanda Overy, Ethan Gallant, Ashley Dawson

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!


Amanda Overy

I chose Heidelberg because of the Heidelberg ‘Hi’ and the close-knit community as well as the opportunities it has to offer. 

I majored in Marketing because I was involved in DECA. l a marketing-oriented class in high school. I loved the creative aspects of it and helping businesses to promote themselves and what they stand for. I hope to help others do that in the future. 

A major challenge I encountered while at Heidelberg was getting out of my comfort zone and I handled it by allowing myself to open up as a freshman and not be afraid of attending events by myself or talking to people that I didn’t know. 

Above all, Heidelberg prepared me to manage my time and schedule. I have learned a lot about balancing my life while still performing well in all aspects. 

Outside of the classroom, I was involved in cheerleading, Student Alumni Association, CRU, World Student Union, working at Saurwein, Delta Sigma Chi, and EX Girlfriends. 

My favorite extracurricular activity was CRU because it allowed me to stay strong in my faith and connect with a community who can build me up. 

One faculty or staff mentor or advisor who impacted my ’Berg experience is Dr. Barry Devine because -- although I have only had him for a small number of classes -- I took some of my hardest classes with him for my writing minor and he really supported me in my learning and pushed me to expand my knowledge and way of thinking. 

My favorite Heidelberg memory is being able to participate in one of Heidelberg’s study-abroad programs and experience an unforgettable summer in Italy. 

My plans after graduation are attending Heidelberg’s PlusOneAdvantage® MBA Tuition-Free Scholarship and pursuing a career in social media marketing or any marketing-related field in which I can use my writing and creative skills.

Ethan Gallant

I chose Heidelberg because I felt at home as soon as I arrived on campus. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming, which really helped me feel like I could succeed here.

I majored in communication because it is a major that provides skills that are useful in any field or workplace. I was not sure what to switch my major to sophomore year, and a broad major seemed like the smartest choice.

A major challenge I encountered while at Heidelberg was realizing I did not enjoy my major anymore at the beginning of sophomore year, and I handled it by asking Dr. Robin Heaton for help with transitioning to a communication major and making sure that I would still graduate on time. I also was not at all sure of my career plans at the time. I resolved this by taking advantage of all of the opportunities that were made available to me through the Division of Enrollment, working as a student ambassador, student manager, and now an outreach and recruitment intern, as well as the opportunities presented to me through the Division of Student Affairs, working as an orientation leader. These experiences led me to a path in higher education.

Above all, Heidelberg prepared me to live a fuller life and value my relationships with family, friends, and fellows above all else.

Outside of the classroom, I was involved in Rho Eta Delta, Zeta Theta Psi (Zeta Gents), Delta Sigma Chi (Delt Guys), Greek Life Council, Order of Omega, Jazz Ensemble and working in the Admission Office.

My favorite extracurricular activity was Rho Eta Delta because there have been times over the past few years that I would not have made it through college without the support of the group and its members.

One faculty or staff mentor or advisor who impacted my ‘Berg experience is Sara Gebhardt because she has served as an excellent mentor and boss for me for the last two years. 

My favorite Heidelberg memory is serving as an orientation leader in the summer of 2019 and having several students in my orientation groups be students that I remembered giving tours to while working in Admission. It was great being there to impact their college decision as well as their transition into being a student at Heidelberg.

My plans after graduation are to stay in Tiffin and transition from student to staff when I start working full time as an admission counselor at Heidelberg this June. I hope to take a year or two off from school before starting a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration.

Ashley Dawson

I chose Heidelberg because it felt like home from the first moment I stepped on campus. I was taken by the beauty of the buildings and the kindness of everyone. I was immediately made to feel like one of the Heidelberg family, even though I hadn't yet decided to attend. I was able to do as much or as little as I wanted (and I chose to do a lot)

I majored in Music and Theatre because it's what I love to do! I was empowered to follow my passions and dreams by alumni mentors (and dear friends) of mine. Double majoring helped me build the skills I would need to not only be a successful performer, but also a successful teaching artist and program leader. 

A major challenge I faced while at Heidelberg was balancing everything and I handled it by communicating with my professors (and taking advantage of the Stoner counseling center when I needed it). I'm from out of state. Everything I've always known, friends, family, etc, is back on the East Coast. I have always had a lot of things on my plate and there were times that the plate would break or the teacup would overflow. Thankfully, I was empowered enough by my support systems at the Berg to talk to my professors when I needed help or grace.

Above all, Heidelberg prepared me with the skills and confidence I need to continue my success both on and off stage as well as in a classroom.

Outside of the classroom, I was involved in Kappa Psi Omega, Tri-Alpha, Berg Allies, Hei Notes (formerly Singing Collegians), Concert Choir, Alpha Psi Omega, and theatre. I also was a student ambassador for the Office of Admissions and an intern for the Community Music School! Being involved in so many diverse groups supported me not only academically, but as an individual.

My favorite extracurricular activity was definitely being involved in the theatre. I got to share my love of the art with people both on and off stage. After shows in Gundlach, I also was able to meet and connect with alumni who continued to support our department.

One faculty or staff member who impacted my 'Berg experience was Dr. Dusdieker. I don't think I could ever find words eloquent enough to describe how much I've grown under her mentorship. She helped me develop confidence, showed me how to be a strong woman, and always encouraged me to take the leaps to follow my heart and do the work to chase my dreams. That doesn't even include all the artistic growth I experienced while studying voice in her studio!

My favorite Heidelberg memory is singing the Alma Mater from atop Petřín Lookout Tower in Prague during our 2019 concert choir tour. It was a special moment I will never forget.

My plans after graduation are to jump right into teaching musical theatre! I am working for our SMT Summer Camp here at Heidelberg and I also was hired as the camp director for a brand new summer program at the YMCA in Fostoria.

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After having to cancel last year due to the pandemic, this weekend, June 18-20, Heidelberg will w

Juneteenth, the celebration of the end of slavery in the United States with the last group of enslaved citizens notified on June 19, 1865, will be marked with several events in Tiffin, Ohio. Trivia Night on June 18, Flag-Raising at Heidelberg June 18, Social Justice Event at Seneca County Justice Center June 18, Celebration on June 19 at Frost Kalnow East Green.
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