If you are an early riser and enjoy working out just as the sun begins to appear, you will most likely run into Sophomore English Major Heather Paaverud working out with her fellow Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) members.
Although Heather originally hails from Shakopee, MN, she now spends the majority of her time on the Gustavus campus, making the most of her experience both academically and in extracurricular activities. After attending Tennis and Life camps hosted at the college when she was younger, she fell in love with Gustavus.
While she continues to play tennis on the club team on campus, Heather also has several other hobbies. She enjoys playing intramural sports and is a member of the Lucia singers. She hopes to participate in the Musical B.A.R. this year as well. Heather is also on the executive board of M-PACT, a major passion of hers.
“If I were to try my best to sum up Heather, it would be ‘norm-breaker.’ She does everything she wants passionately and enthusiastically, whether it be ROTC, M-Pact, or engaging with her family and group of friends (which seems to grow bigger by the week), nothing she is committed to goes for want with her,” Senior Social Studies Teaching Major and friend, Josh Connell, said.
Academically speaking, Heather enjoys learning and is dedicated to her studies. Although she is an English major, she is also planning to pursue a minor in History.
“She is a very driven, strong young woman. She loves literature and discovering what lies behind the text,” Sophomore Mathematics Major and sister, Courtney Paaverud, said.
Upon looking at her already brimming academic and social schedule, it is hard to believe that she finds time to dedicate to the ROTC program. However, the ROTC program is one of the most important aspects of Heather’s career at Gustavus.
“I really believe that I’ve always wanted to be in the military ever since I was a little girl trying on my uncle’s gear; it just took me a while to realize it. A big part of it came from my uncle, LTC Les Simonson, USAR, retired. He has always been one of my biggest role models and a big influence in my life,” Heather said.
“She is always trying to help anyone and everyone around her and has found a great way to bring that to the next level: joining the National Guard and becoming a part of the ROTC program here at Gustavus,” Courtney said.
Heather first became involved in the ROTC program last winter. She has always loved the military and wanted to serve her country. She now goes through daily physical training and recently attended a field exercise at Camp Ripley.
“While it does sometimes really suck having to get up for PT (physical training) at 0600 almost every morning of my week, I enjoy it. The PT refreshes you and wakes you up, plus the program is loaded with great people that you get to see in the mornings, in class, in labs, and when we do training events like FTX (field training exercise) this past weekend,” Heather said.
In addition to her involvement in the ROTC program, Heather is also a member of the National Guard, and hopes to be commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant after graduation. She would like to make a career out of the military while pursuing a doctorate in English and hopes to eventually become a professor.
“Heather is a very smart, determined and professional person. She’s articulate and thoughtful. She is well-known and well-liked on campus, and she strikes me as a natural leader who wants to do important things in the future,” Assistant Professor of Film Studies in English Sean Cobb said.
With her positive attitude and drive to excel both in the military and in the organizations in which she participates on campus, there is little doubt that she will be able to accomplish the goals she has set for herself.