Casey Stallman, a West Virginia Wesleyan College senior from Bridgeport, WV, has a dedication to community engagement that matches her academic vigor. A Wesleyan Service Scholar, Stallman’s service site has been the WE LEAD Invisible Illness Team for the past three years. Having completed over 400 service hours, she explained how the experience made her into a better leader, “As a member of the WE LEAD Invisible Illness Team, it has pushed me beyond my comfort zone and allowed me to grow as a leader and build valuable skills in public speaking, team work, and communication.”
Specifically, Stallman cited a particular project that she held up as a shining example of the necessary work the WE LEAD Invisible Illness Team does for the community. “Establishing a counseling fund that helps students pay for counseling services on campus and in the community was a great achievement. This fund is entirely donation based and several alumni have contributed to it,” she said. “In addition, our biggest fundraiser for this fund is our annual Suicide Prevention Walk. We organize this walk every year in order to bring awareness to the stigma surrounding mental health and suicide. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s walk was cancelled, but we are still able to take donations to the fund.”
Stallman is also a sister of Zeta Tau Alpha, where she served as the Executive Committee Recording Secretary for her chapter during the 2019 term. “This role taught me a lot about the importance of communication and empathy for others,” she commented, “and I am so grateful for the friendships and growth Zeta has given me over the last three years.”
In addition to her responsibilities, Stallman works as a work study in The Center for Community Engagement & Leadership Development (CCE), where she serves as an office assistant. She remarked on the experience fondly, noting, “Working in the CCE this year has strengthened my connection to community service and allowed me to work closely with faculty and other students in planning service events. I had the opportunity to speak with incoming and potential students about my love for service and the CCE.”
Majoring in biology with a concentration in molecular biology and biotechnology, as well as minoring in psychology, she is a member of several honors societies: Alpha Lambda Delta, Phi Kappa Phi, and Beta Beta Beta. In addition to these academic achievements, Stallman also is a TA work study for the biology department, working alongside Dr. Melanie Sal in her Principles of Microbiology lab. “This position has allowed me to channel my love for science and microbiology and I had the pleasure of re-experiencing one of my favorite courses and Dr. Sal’s lab.”
Receiving the Maxine E. Bruhns scholarship to study abroad in Madagascar, Stallman spent seven weeks studying traditional medicine and healthcare systems. “My classes were focused on healthcare as a whole, comparing traditional and allopathic health systems and addressing the social and political implications of healthcare access. In an independent research project, I investigated the traditional remedies used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and how they compared to modern medications. I then used this comparison as support for integrating the healthcare system globally to improve healthcare access in rural and developing areas.”
More than anything, she remarked on how the experience offered her the chance to grow not just intellectually, but personally. “My semester abroad changed my life and pushed me far past my limits, allowing me to grow,” she said. “It made me more independent, aware, and confident in my capabilities.”
After graduation, Stallman plans to take a gap year before attending medical school. “I hope to find a job somewhere in the medical field close to home to gain experience working with patients and professionals in a clinical setting.” Her long-term goals include becoming a pediatrician and moving to live somewhere in the West.
Story written by Ali Householder, sophomore intern at West Virginia Wesleyan College.