University Community

Commencement Spotlight: Hayden Higginbotham

Hayden Higginbotham
College of Health Sciences and Professions and College of Arts and Sciences
Exercise Physiology and Pre-Physical Therapy
Biological Sciences minor
Circleville, Ohio
What are your next steps or plans for the future?
Attending The Ohio State University’s Doctorate of Physical Therapy program.

What was your ah-ha moment at OHIO—that point where you said to yourself, “I’ve got this!”?
Getting a high score on my first biology exam during my very first semester. Bios 1700 was a big challenge during my first semester after not having the strongest biology background entering college. Preparing and studying for this class introduced me to many of my college study habits and taught me as much about what’s expected in university level classes as it did biology. So, when I finally got my first exam back, it felt like all of the hard work had paid off and I felt right on track with a system I could use to approach and be successful during the upcoming three and a half years.

Why did you choose OHIO?  
I originally chose OHIO for the affordable cost, but soon after arrival I came to realize that I made the right decision because of the people I would meet at OU. With friends and faculty alike, I was afforded opportunities here that I don’t believe I would have had at any other school and I am happy with my decision to have attended OHIO’s exercise physiology program. 

Who were your favorite professors and how did they make an impact on your life?
This may be too long of a list because there were a number of tremendous professors, I had the privilege of learning from during my time at OU. But the most impactful for myself personally were Dustin Grooms, Chris Schwirian, Josh Christen, Ian Klein and Mike Clevidence. Mike was my advisor and helped me plan where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do in the future and find opportunities that would expand my education outside of the classroom. One of those opportunities allowed me to meet Josh Christen who was initially my boss at WellWorks and later cardiovascular assessments instructor who assisted me in learning numerous clinical and patient interaction skills. Professor Schwirian taught me how to apply the knowledge I’d learned during my time at OU as well as how one should approach rigorous coursework - I can thank his courses for many of my studying and note taking habits. Professor Klein provided me with the opportunity to be a teaching assistant, expanding my skills and knowledge of anatomy, dissection and teaching for six semesters of my college career. Most recently, Dr. Grooms has been my practicum supervisor and has enabled me to dive into the world of research while also having the opportunity learn from the other members of the NMBHAL lab. 

What was the hardest hill you had to climb (not counting Jeff Hill) at OHIO? And how did you overcome challenges or obstacles in your path?
Like many, getting the most out of my education during the COVID-19 pandemic was a challenge. I completed large portions of my foundational education (human anatomy and physiology) online during this time. Realizing this, I worked to find outside of class opportunities in these subjects once returning to campus to fill in the gaps left during remote learning. My professors were exceptionally helpful in providing ways to engage with the material through lab work teaching assistantships. Because of these experiences, I truly feel like I am graduating with a stronger skill set in these areas than I would have without the disruption of the pandemic.

What are your favorite OHIO memories?
My favorite memories at OHIO are all of those that involve the great people I met during my time here. From playing intramural sports with my friends to representing OU at the Midwest ACSM Quiz Bowl with my classmates, to meeting my significant other in my learning community. The friendships, relationships, and professional connections I made at OU made my time fulfilling and joyful and I now have a lifetime network of people I’m connected to through my time at OHIO.

What’s the one thing you would tell a new OHIO student not to miss?
Building relationships outside of class with other students and faculty. The College of Health Sciences and Professions has a large number of opportunities waiting for students to engage in including research with numerous faculty members, public service through student organizations, and hands-on skill use through work and volunteering opportunities. Everyone is extremely welcoming, and these experiences supplemented my undergraduate education in a way you can’t get anywhere else.

May 3, 2023
Staff reports