As a child literally growing up in the shadow of ASU, Joshua Heimbecker regularly visited the campus and built a connection that led him to become a student leader.
Growing up on Douglas Drive just a block west of the ASU campus, Heimbecker attended Crockett Elementary school just south of campus. Back then, ASU was his playground.
“I rode my bicycle and rollerbladed on campus,” he said. “My friends and I played football on the marching band’s field, and I played racquetball here as a kid.”
Those experiences, as well as having two brothers who attended ASU before him, instilled in Heimbecker a deeply entrenched allegiance to the university. Though he considered other college options, he realized everything he needed for success was right in his own backyard.
“The numbers don’t lie,” he said. “Our success rates are some of the highest in the state for pre-med and pre-law, and I love the intimacy we have here between the faculty and students. You have so much one-on-one interaction with your faculty advisor.”
“Get involved in the campus and organizations. Get involved in research. Get involved in anything. You get back what you put into it.”
Now a senior biology major, undergraduate research fellow and Carr Scholar with the goal of going to medical school, Heimbecker got involved in the Student Government Association (SGA) as a senator for the Biology and Chemistry Departments. He served as chairman of the Academic Affairs Committee and president pro-tempore of the Student Senate before winning election as SGA vice president alongside his presidential running mate, Hector Romo.
“The SGA has been a great experience so far,” Heimbecker said. “You get to see so many things behind the scenes, and I interact with a far greater number of students than I would have if I were not part of the SGA.”
Along with Romo, Heimbecker welcomes new ideas from the student body and is ready to address their concerns. He expects good things for ASU’s future, and wants to ensure that the SGA plays a key role.
“We have some programs developing that will strengthen pride and increase activities on campus,” Heimbecker said. “We have a new athletic director, Sean Johnson, and he has some really great ideas for the school. Also, Dr. Andy Wallace is pioneering the new Freshman College, and with so many new additions to the ASU community as a whole, I think the students might unify in a synergistic way. I think the overall pride in ASU will go up a couple of notches. I think it is going to happen.”
Serving in student government while keeping abreast of his academic studies toward becoming a doctor makes for a pretty intense schedule. But, Heimbecker would not have it any other way, and urges other students to follow a similar path.
“I tell them to get involved in the campus and organizations,” Heimbecker said. “Get involved in research. Get involved in anything. You get back what you put into it.”
Heimbecker’s involvement also includes membership in the Beta Beta Beta biology honor society for the past three years, two summer overseas study abroad trips through the ASU Center for International Studies, and competing for the Ram Powerlifting Club. He recently won the national Raw Powerlifting title in his weight class at a competition in Killeen. On weekends, he can often be found supplementing his income by playing guitar at local nightspots.
The academic high achiever also works as a tutor and mentor for the Science Partnership for Undergraduate Recruitment, Retention and Success (SPURRS) program while serving as a research assistant for biochemistry professor Dr. Edith Osborne. That type of access to his professors, the quality academics and the opportunities for campus involvement has confirmed for Heimbecker that he made the right decision to come to ASU.
“What I’ve gained, I couldn’t have done by myself,” he said, “and I couldn’t have gained it anywhere else. I’m not a number, and I’m not a statistic here. I am Joshua Heimbecker, and my professors know me.”