Many on campus recognize Heather Garcia, a graduating senior theatre major from Taylorsville, UT, for her contagious smile and her service towards multiple organizations at Southern Utah University.
Before attending SUU, Garcia was an active Student Body Officer and theatre award-winning student at Taylorsville High School. Garcia became intrigued by SUU from her theatre teacher, Steven Schmidt. Garcia selected SUU after attending the college’s leadership weekend. Garcia said she never toured another campus, because she instantly knew the university was “home”.
Garcia’s journey at SUU has been a tremendous five years, where she has been the Delta Psi Omega Sorority President, Chi Phi Fraternity Sweetheart, Orientation Leader, Student Director, President of the Bird Watching Association and Miss SUU.
One of Garcia’s greatest accomplishments has been her involvement and contribution to the Student Affairs office. Early in 2016, Jared Tippets, Vice President of Student Affairs, came up with the idea of a First Year Retention “Bird” Book. The book would focus on topics incoming freshman should know when starting college. (Download the Bird Book here.)
The new Bird Book began as a group project, but Garcia eventually became the point-person. While gathering useful information for the book, Garcia worked with a variety of departments, including SUUSA, and formed multiple collaborations across campus.
Garcia loved working on the project for it’s easy and accessible information to students.
“At orientation we overload the students with so much information,” Garcia said. “They now have a reference to go back to.”
Garcia also tried to keep the book relevant to the current generation with minimal text and fun graphics and photos for new students to enjoy. She said she wanted to make a powerful book that displays the perspective of a new student.
Jared Tippets was a great support for the book. Garcia also credits success to the book and in her leadership positions to Eric Kirby, Executive Director of Completion and Student Success and Taylorsville High School alumnus.
“Eric is a great leader,” said Garcia. “He is very good about making people feel important and included, while getting things done. I aspire to be is like Eric Kirby.”
Garcia will graduate in April and step into the role of Orientation Coordinator of Student Affairs as she continues her education in the Master’s of Public Administration. She dreams to eventually get her Ph.D. and become a President or Vice President of a university.
“I want to stick with higher education, because the people at SUU who have impacted my life are in higher education,” said Garcia. “These people are in higher education serving a purpose to help people succeed.”
Learn more about SUU’s student affairs.