Senior Stories: The Life Saver, Amy Fishman

When almost 2,000 undergraduate seniors participate in Commencement on the National Mall Sunday they will leave behind their years at GW, but many will not be forgotten. The Hatchet spoke with faculty, staff and students to find 10 seniors who have made a lasting impression during their undergraduate years.

A trip to the gym changed Amy Fishman’s life.

On her way to Lerner Health and Wellness Center in 2004, the Cincinnati native came across a bone marrow drive at Hillel.

Though the name Marty Feldman meant nothing to her at the time, Fishman would save the 60-year-old leukemia patient’s life two months later. She was the first student recruited through the Gift of Life-Hillel partnership, and donated bone marrow after signing up for a bone marrow registry.

Since the transplant, Fishman has run two drives at Hillel and spoken at Gift of Life events in New York and D.C.

A human services major, Fishman’s involvement with the organization has enhanced her understanding of the field. “If I wasn’t a match, I probably wouldn’t even know what the Gift of Life is,” she said. “It has been really good for me and fits in perfectly with what I’m doing in school.”

This year, the 22-year-old took a combination of undergraduate and graduate classes as part of a five-year graduate program in her major. She will graduate next year with a master’s degree in public administration.

In 2006, Fishman participated in a service learning study abroad program in Cape Town, South Africa. The semester was focused on improving low-income neighborhoods. Fishman’s township was Nyanga, where she taught “very basic entrepreneurship skills” to five young women.

The project taught Fishman that being open-minded is critical to helping people. “You have to learn about the people you’re working with and come up with a solution they can do within their culture,” she said.

Fishman said she will apply this lesson to her future work. “I won’t be in South Africa next year, but I might be in Southeast (D.C.), and it’s really different there.”

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