Countdown to Commencment: Mattie Overmyer, Fletcher Grey, Anna Cavanaugh

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!

Mattie Overmyer

I chose Heidelberg because it felt like home and could offer me a ton of opportunities.

I double majored in Athletic Training and Human and Health Performance because I knew I wanted to get into the healthcare profession in some way, but at the time was not completely sure. Little did I know it would help me fulfill my new career goal of becoming a high school athletic trainer.

A major challenge I faced at Heidelberg was COVID and I handled it by reaching out and staying in contact with my friends and family. I also really focused on my time management. 

Above all, Heidelberg prepared me to succeed in the future and has helped me create amazing relationships that will help me as I start my professional career.

Outside of the classroom I was involved in the Athletic Training Program, Women's Basketball, Iota Beta Gamma (AT Honorary), SAAC, Intramurals, Cru and Religious Life.

My favorite extracurricular activity was Cru because it allowed me to connect with people who have the same beliefs as me and I loved seeing people grow in their faith. I felt like Cru has begun to make a positive impact on our campus.

One faculty or staff mentor or advisor who impacted my 'Berg experience is Dr. Genna Fusco because she cared for me and my other fellow students outside of what was happening in our academics. She always encouraged me to push through, especially during COVID, when things got hard. Not only was Genna a mentor for me in the Athletic Training Program, but also through Cru. She has been an impact in my life and someone I truly look up to and strive to be.

My favorite memory at Heidelberg is when I got the chance to work with the football team through athletic training and I got to watch them win the West Championship vs. ONU. This was a special moment given everything they encountered this season, this was a true representation of the Berg and Family.

My plans after graduation are to attend Ohio University Dublin's 12-month Athletic Training Residency in partnership with Ohio Health and I will be working full time at a Columbus high school.

Fletcher Grey

I chose Heidelberg because my mother was a wedding officiant, and I ran into one of Professor DeMayo’s students at an event she was officiating. The student was a history major and we both had the same kinds of interests. It was by complete accident, but I needed a break from where I came from, and a good fresh start somewhere new. And, well, here I am at Second Chance University!

I majored in English Writing. I had a lot of good ideas for the field. I was originally into Philosophy, but I transitioned because Professor Bill Reyer (who is now enjoying retirement) met up with me every other Thursday, and we wrote poetry together. I was already a creative guy, and it was a way for me to speak my mind without other people getting upset. I needed a voice, and I gained that through writing.

A major challenge I encountered while at Heidelberg was socializing and learning to let go. It’s hard when you overthink things, and by showcasing that you might not care about one thing, instead of saying “oh, I do, I do!” and then you’re really going to go places when things happen. That’s how I’ve met so many characters from the guy with genius intellect to the woman who sings like a goddess. We gather stories over time, and the best moments come when we stop thinking about them, and live through them instead.

Above all, Heidelberg prepared me to grow up. I came into Heidelberg angry, willing to prove myself to the world around me, but that gets you nowhere in life. I came in with assumptions about each and every aspect of life, and lived as if that was the right path. But it wasn’t; I learned that teachers actually cared about what I said, especially Professor Barry Devine. I was able to express the things I knew of in detail, and without faults. I wasn’t a mistranslation, but a Babel stone.

Outside of the classroom, I was involved in The Morpheus Literary Magazine, The Kilikilik (now known as The KIL!), Writers in Residence, Gundlach Theater and the founding of the Disability Advocacy Division (because we’re D.A.D.s!), and the Student Democrats for one semester. 

My favorite extra-curricular activity was my research presentation, because I finally got to provide in-depth details toward those with like-minded tracts and differing opinions. I got to be approved by professors who knew that my work was worthy of fighting for, and I got to stand and see that I was doing well. Heidelberg has given me many things, and of these, this was one of my best moments and activities.

Two faculty mentors or advisors who impacted my ‘Berg experience are Professor Devine and Stephen Svoboda, on different accounts. Devine loved the fact that my disability gave him something from a different perspective, and encouraged me to do better at all costs! He saw to it that I had everything that I needed, even good counsel when the times called for life changing moments.

Professor Svoboda showed me how these small, minor moments between people have intentions, actions and how the theatre’s helpful for those with ASD and the issues and mannerisms of communications. This has served me well, and while these things have come and gone, it has given me the due diligence to think for myself, and letting go for the sake of the future.

My favorite Heidelberg memory is when the Theatre Department got together to wish me a happy birthday. It was the first time outside of my family to do that, and though my circle of friends was close to nothing, these people decided that I was one of them. That was huge for me.

My plans after graduation are to go to the University of Toledo, get my master’s in Composition and Rhetoric, and then provide the avenue toward gathering myself a Doctorate. That’s right; Dr. Grey is in the building! I want to further my research on the misconceptions of people, and how those things affect others at large, but to also introduce my theoretical works toward English composition and the written word. We must speak with brevity and truth beyond measure!

Anna Cavanaugh

I chose Heidelberg because I liked the close community feel Heidelberg offered. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming on my visits. Also, after hearing about Heidelberg’s School of Education, I was so interested in all the opportunities that I would have both inside and outside of the classroom. 

I majored in Middle Childhood Education with concentrations in Mathematics, English Language Arts, and dual licensure in Special Education. Growing up I always had positive experiences in the classroom and enjoyed helping others on their educational journey. It was an easy decision for me to major in education. 

A major challenge I encountered while at Heidelberg was that I learned there is never enough time in a day to accomplish everything you want to do! There were so many areas around campus that I wanted to be more involved in, but I had to divide my time between various activities. 

Above all, Heidelberg prepared me to feel confident about my future. I have learned so much about the field of education and am so excited to share my experiences as I start my career. 

Outside of the classroom, I was involved in various activities. I held several on-campus positions as a Resident Assistant, Phonathon Student Caller, Student Ambassador and Math tutor. I was also involved in Kappa Delta Pi, the Rhos’ Buds, and helped found Heidelberg University Council of Teachers of Mathematics (HUCTM). 

My favorite extracurricular activity was being a founding member of Heidelberg University Council of Teacher of Mathematics (HUCTM). With Dr. Lindsey Haubert and Dr. Dawn Henry’s mentorship, this organization transformed my approach to teaching mathematics and working with diverse students. I learned early in my collegiate experience that there are unique ways to present content to students to make learning fun. I also loved having the opportunity to be involved with local school students outside of my field experience. 

One faculty or staff mentor or advisor who impacted my ‘Berg experience is every faculty member in the Education Department. Although retired now, Dr. Brian Haley helped me to understand the principles of teaching. His education courses helped me discover my teaching philosophy and pedagogy to best support students. Future courses in the Education Department helped me to implement my teaching philosophy and facilitate research in various classrooms in the community.  

My favorite memory from Heidelberg is when I had the opportunity to travel with one of my best friends to the Dominican Republic on a spring break service learning trip. On the trip, we were able to teach English as a second language to students living in the Dominican Republic. It was my first time traveling out of the country and having that kind of experience. 

My plans after graduation are to pursue a teaching position near my hometown Cincinnati, Ohio. I would also like to eventually go back to school for my master’s degree in a field related to education.

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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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