If being grounded means studying abroad in six countries, participating in Women’s Crew and Cycling, and creating your own major in Medicine and International Health Policy at UNH, then Zoe Rogers would be the epitome of being grounded. Zoe, a Troy, New York native, was drawn to UNH by the honors program and opportunities for undergraduate research, despite being interested in other schools. During her time at UNH, she has always looked for ways to make the most out of her experience and appreciates UNH for all the opportunities afforded to her.
Zoe enjoyed her first semester at UNH, but realized early as a freshman she needed something more. “I felt lost as a freshman,” she says. Not knowing exactly what she wanted out of college, Zoe began exploring many of the different opportunities UNH offers students. “My parents have always encouraged me to pursue my interests, curiosity, and to ask questions,” she said, so that’s what she started doing.
Zoe rowed on the Women’s Crew team during her first year at UNH, an experience she said challenged her and helped her appreciate the value of teamwork. She took up cycling here as well and has enjoyed not only the competition, but the thrill of doing something that was once outside her comfort zone. Zoe was also involved in the UNH Outing Club and served as a trip leader on numerous excursions. “I have always been athletic…it’s a big part of my life.” Her adventures with the Outing Club provided her an opportunity to mentor others while doing something she loved.
Zoe wasn’t done there.... She started her academic career at UNH as a biology major. She realized that while the biology program was great, it was not the right fit for her. She took a job in a lab on campus, but discovered lab work was not for her. Having studied Russian in high school and enjoying learning about other cultures, she decided to check out the study abroad fair. “I always knew I wanted to study abroad,” she said. When she got to the fair and discovered all the possibilities for international study and travel, she said, “I was like a kid in a candy store.” During her sophomore and junior years, Zoe traveled to Russia, Costa Rica, Switzerland, South Africa, India, and China studying health care systems. Her experiences abroad helped shape her own academic program and focus. During her travels she was able to talk with other students from universities across the country also studying medicine and health policy. She combined all her experiences, as well as her energy and enthusiasm, to create a self-designed major in medicine and international public health. When asked about her major, Zoe says she loves it because it brings together everything she wanted out of her academic career. She is looking forward to being a doctor and health policy expert, and cannot wait to start changing the world.
Zoe says she has had many people make a difference in her life. She points first to her family, especially her two older sisters. “They inspire me,” she says, and it is clear her family’s support has been critical to her success. She is appreciative of all the encouragement various faculty members have given her during her time at UNH. One faculty member in particular who had a huge impact on her was Professor Dawn Haines, her freshman English instructor. “She pushed me to achieve my full potential,” Zoe said. Professor Haines made such a strong impression on Zoe that a spot for another class with her was a must in her last semester at UNH.
When asked what advice she has for first-year students, Zoe lit up in a big, infectious smile. “Try everything!” UNH offers students a wonderful opportunity to discover themselves and the world around them, she says. “Go out of your comfort zone. Everyone has an interesting story. Don’t be limited by your insecurities.”
Zoe is unsure of what she will be doing in ten years, but she knows she wants to work in medicine and help countries around the world provide better health care for their citizens. “I want to be useful,” she said. The unknown has always intrigued her. “I really like the unknown because I know a great opportunity will arise.” Whatever life holds in store for her, Zoe knows she is a better person for her experiences at UNH. “The beauty of this university is that you can do so much,” she said. For her, the journey has been, and will continue to be, just as rewarding as the destination.