Posted November 03, 2008
While a student in high school, Suzanne Heller volunteered at a therapeutic riding center and she now recalls being amazed by the clients she worked with. She found that making just a few adjustments to the equipment or teaching methods could help them become successful riders, and the clients carried over those feelings of success into other parts of their lives as well.
Suzanne built upon this experience at Bowdoin. She completed a Community Matters in Maine Summer Fellowship with Independence Association, where she used her past experiences and the knowledge she gained in education and psychology courses to create outdoor programming for several disabled individuals. Suzanne also completed an independent study with Assistant Professor of Education Doris Santoro. She studied how pre-service teachers are taught about autism, and she spent three hours each week volunteering with a small group of autistic first grade students at a local elementary school. At the same time, she took the psychology course Cognitive Development and researched theory-of-mind abilities for people with autism.
After Bowdoin, she hopes to continue work in the field of educational psychology.
“It was great to see that feeling of success carry into other parts of their lives.”