Graduate Profile: Heather Hertema
Dry ice balloons, liquid nitrogen ice cream and methane bubbles. These are a few of the things Heather Hertema ’02 uses to make a difference in the lives of children.
Inspired by her experiences at Alma College, Hertema, who recently earned a doctorate degree in pharmacy from the University of California, San Francisco, fused her passions for service and science to create a summer science camp.
Since its creation in 2007, the camp has given underprivileged children hands-on experience with science. Though scientists are often portrayed as “nerds with minimal social skills,” Hertema, who studied biochemistry at Alma, hopes to teach children that this isn’t necessarily true.
“I want to make science fun for these kids,” she says. “I had never been to a science camp, or any camp, for that matter, when I took a shot at making a curriculum. The camp might not affect all of them, but it’s hitting some. Making a difference for those students is so rewarding.”
Hertema’s outreach work also involves senior citizens. She is part of a team that is submitting a grant to bring social workers and medical professionals together to assist senior citizens with Medicare decisions.