Senior Spotlight: Erica Heidler

(Photo: Submission/Erica Heidler)

(Photo: Submission/Erica Heidler)

by Grace Peck, Special to The Simpsonian

From the Chicago western suburb, Hinsdale, Erica first applied to Simpson to please her mother who has family in Indianola.

“I came back for a few more visits, and really felt that this was the place that I was called to go,” Heidler said.

Right away, Erica knew that she had made the right choice. Because of the smaller setting, she immediately felt comfortable getting involved in a number of organizations, such as Student Government Association (SGA), Greek Life, and the Light Company. She is now the vice president of SGA and was a House Assistant (HA) for her sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma.

Simpson has helped Heidler grow as a person and made a big impact on her life. “I think the biggest thing for me is that (Simpson) taught me to use my voice,” she said. “I never really was involved in anything that I could have any lasting impact, where as here, it’s given me a lot of opportunities to have those impacts, or at least be involved in something that does have an impact.”

She never thought she would be able to be involved in SGA, or stand up at a meeting and share her opinion.

Because of her time at Simpson, she now feels confident sharing her voice with people who may think differently from her. “Realizing that I have a voice and that there are people who want to have meaningful conversations with you about basically anything.”

This also led Heidler to realize how passionate she is about forming lasting, meaningful relationships, and one way she did that at Simpson was by joining Kappa Kappa Gamma.

“This was another organization that helped me develop as a leader,” she said. Kappa has now become one of the most important experiences out of her time at Simpson.

Heidler talked about not spreading herself too thin, which is what she wished she had known as a freshman: “It’s a lot better to focus energy on one or two things then focusing on being just busy. You should be able to do things for yourself as a person.”

Heidler also talked about how important it is for first year students to get involved, see what they like and to talk to upperclassmen and see what they wish they had done differently, or ask them how to get involved with campus more. Getting to know everyone you work with is important to “create a community that helps people grow.”

As an English major with minors in secondary education and Spanish, Erica is passionate about learning and having your voice heard. She wants to be a high school English teacher, and especially loves the ninth and tenth grade.

“I’ve always thought that books are the coolest things in the world, and I really want other kids to feel that way too.” She loves seeing kids who love to read, and hopes she can instill love of learning in her students.

Heidler is a strong believer that besides being a place of learning, school should be a place where you grow as a person, a philosophy she will continue to carry when she begins teaching her own students. She will be student teaching at Indianola high school. “I’m a firm believer that students can help teachers learn and grow, just as much as teachers help students learn and grow.”

Heidler is also involved in Light Company, which is the college ministry of New Heights Church in Indianola. The Light Company is another way Erica has found ways to connect with fellow students and create more relationships, as well as grow in her faith.

“My mentality has turned more into a service mentality, rather than a ‘what can I do for myself,’” she said. “It’s more, ‘What can I do for others.’”

In five years, she wants to be teaching high school English in Kansas City, with maybe a dog or a cat. She also hopes to get the opportunity to support a KKG chapter.

“Kappa has given so much to me, I want to be there to support girls as they are going through college,” she said.

Heidler is proud of her time here at Simpson, where she learned how to grow her own voice and to form long-lasting relationships. She hopes to give back to the Simpson community one day, just as it’s given to her.