Student Leader

One of the first things you notice when you walk into Katie Heiman’s room is the abundance of blue. Blue comforter, blue sheets, blue floors; the senior resident assistant’s favorite color is not hard to find here.

“My favorite color is blue,” laughs the speech and language pathology major. “I get teased a lot. If you look around, there’s a lot of blue in my room.”

After growing up in Mineola, just 20 minutes away in Long Island, coming to St. John’s was not a hard choice for Heiman. In fact, it was something of a family tradition.

“It’s pretty much a family school. My uncle went here, my grandfather’s sister went here, my cousin graduated in ’99. A lot of us have gone through, and I really like it being close to my house. I wasn’t really one to go far away.”

Another source of inspiration to come here came from her grandfather. “Once I became a student here, my inspiration and dedication came from the support of my grandfather. He died May 2000, so everything I do at SJU is dedicated to him.

“He was full of great advice and encouraged me to keep getting involved, to become an RA, and was my partner at many SJU sporting events. He was and always will be a very big part of my SJU experience.”

It wasn’t always easy for Heiman to be here, however. During her freshman year, Heiman was a commuter and wasn’t involved on campus. Coming into her sophomore year, she moved on campus as an RA and things started to get better.

“I wasn’t very happy my freshman year because a lot of my friends were away at school. But once I started to get involved, once I became an RA, everything started to pick up.”

Speech and Hearing Club, The National Student Speech Language and Hearing Association, The School of Education Honor Society called the Dean’s Scholars, V.I.T.A.L., Resident Assistant, coach for the dorm softball league and the President’s Society are among her honors and activities, all of which Heiman joined after living on campus her sophomore year. “I got involved with a lot of other organizations and St. John’s just got bigger then I ever thought it could be.”

After graduation Heiman hopes all these organizations will help her get a job as a teacher, working with children in special education programs as a speech and hearing specialist. As a long-term goal, however, she does not plan on staying in that line of work.

“In the long run I’m kind of hoping to get my own practice. I’m really interested in working with children who have autism.”

That passion for helping autistic children in need comes from personal experience for Heiman. “My cousin is autistic and after seeing him go into speech lessons, that’s what kind of put me into the field.”

Beyond getting involved on campus, Heiman encourages students to look beyond the immediate importance of their campus activities now and ask themselves what those activities can do for them in the future. Making contacts and getting to know both past and future members is what she lists as being vital to success.

“Getting involved is a big part of it, but also take advantage of everything that’s here, whether it’s getting involved, or just getting to know the resources. The resources are key, because that’s what’s going to get you past St. John’s. That what’s going to get you into graduate school, and beyond.

“Getting involved is obviously very important, but it’s through that that I got to know the things that are going to be very important in the future.”