Juliana Heffern ’17, who will travel to Malaysia to teach English in January as the recipient of a 2017-18 Fulbright U.S. Student Award, is preparing to run the Philadelphia Marathon on Nov. 19 to raise funds for Wediko Children’s Services, a non-profit organization serving youth with behavioral and emotional challenges.
Having worked as an athletics instructor and residential counselor at Wediko in 2015, Heffern plans to approach her first marathon “channeling inspiration from the children and young people I got to work with and know during my Wediko summer.” That summer, she says, “[gave me] enormous respect for Wediko’s initiatives as well as lasting inspiration to continue advocating for children’s mental health.”
A psychology major and international relations minor at HWS, Heffern was drawn to running, “when I realized that what I loved most about athletics did not revolve around specific team rules or uniforms. I just loved the feeling of getting my legs moving and pushing myself to become stronger. Running was something I knew I could do every day; it provided me with mental clarity and a sense of personal accomplishment.”
A member of the William Smith club soccer team and the College Experience Outreach club, Heffern served as a Pre-Orientation Adventure Program guide, an Orientation Mentor, an America Reads Tutor, a Community Lunch Program volunteer, and secretary of the psychology honors society, Psi Chi.
Travel to China, Cambodia and Vietnam sparked Heffern’s desire to return to that part of the world and led her to apply to the Fulbright program “in an effort to learn more and gain new perspectives.”