Student Profiles - Lauren Eyster
Hometown: York, Pa
What is your academic standing?
I am a junior! I transferred here as a sophomore from Randolph College last year.
What would you like to do with your degree post-graduation?
After I graduate next year I would like to get my master’s degree in occupational therapy and work with children. As of now, I would like to work with autistic and downs children.
What are you involved in?
I am a member of Millersville’s Equestrian club. I am leasing a horse near Lancaster, and show him in local shows. I also volunteer with the Easter Seals Equine Therapy group for autistic and downs syndrome children and at Willow Valley Retirement Community, where I also get to shadow their occupational therapists.
How long have you been working with horses?
I have been riding since I was 9 and love it! I started volunteering with the equine therapy group in June 2011 at a barn in Red Lion and have also helped at a barn in Spring Grove.
Can you tell us about your involvement with Willow Valley?
I started volunteering at Willow Valley in September as a requirement for my health psychology class. My grandmother lives there, so it was a perfect place to complete my hours at a health facility for class, and Pat Russell, the volunteer coordinator, was very welcoming. I have bonded with many of the residents and will continue to visit.
What did the "Dream Catcher" request mean to you?
I received messages from Pat Russell and also from the activity director at Willow Valley. They told me about a particular resident’s last wish, which was to ride a horse once more. I was so excited to talk to the owner of the barn that I volunteer at. When I explained the dream catcher program to him, he was blown away and told me to do whatever was necessary to get her there for her last ride. I started making plans with Willow Valley and we helped fulfill her wish! She did not know about it right away, so it was hard for me to keep a secret. You should have seen how shocked she was once she knew! Every week I go back and visit with her, and the bond that we have now is amazing. I helped her ride a horse one last time at age 90, and I will certainly never forget her or that special night.
How does being a part of Millersville’s Equestrian Club affect your daily life?
Being on the team is great! This is my second year as a member of the club and it is growing. It is still small since we are only recognized as a club, and we have to raise the money to get us places, like our shows in New Jersey and Penn State. We have to work hard to prepare for shows by traveling to Christiana, Pa., for team lessons with our awesome instructors Christi and Judi Scott at Watergap Stables. We have meetings every other week to come up with fundraising ideas, and to plan shows. I have made a lot of friends on the team and it has been a great experience.
Do you think that Millersville has prepared you for a life after college? If so, how?
Yes, I do. I am getting a great education here and the volunteering and cultural events that many professors require have led me to get even more experience outside the classroom.
What is your favorite class or favorite professor at Millersville?
My favorite professor at Millersville is professor Odenwalt in the psychology department. I have had her for two classes now and she has been like a mentor to me.
Who is somebody that you look up to?
I look up to my mom! I got my perseverance from her and she has always supported me no matter what. I can count on her for anything, and couldn't achieve all of my dreams without her.