Although her life has gotten infinitely busier since she left Largo, Fla. four years ago, Hannah Ziegler said the sacrifice allowed her to combine her passion for dance with science and teaching.
The exercise science major created Learning in Motion, a program that works with Francis Stevens Elementary School in D.C. to incorporate movement and exercise into students’ daily curriculum.
During the program’s animal unit, Ziegler discussed with the students how animals move and created pieces for the students to mimic animal movement.
“The classes I have taken with the department have opened my eyes to the health status of this country, and have taught me that it is our generation’s responsibility to positively change healthcare,” she said.?
A final, year-end event included songs by the students from each lesson, as well as performances from Balance, a ballet organization at GW.
“It’s a fun way for the kids to take what they learned during the week and integrate those lessons into movement and dance,” she said.
Last week, Ziegler received a distinguished scholar award from the School of Public Health and Health Sciences after being nominated by one of her professors.
As part of the department of dance, Ziegler has served as a leader within the dancing community. Also as Balance president, she helped organize performances, coordinate classroom space and create a sense of community among ballet dancers.
After graduation, Ziegler plans to spend time in Guatemala as a part of Somos Hermanos, a Spanish immersion program. She will live with a host family, take Spanish classes and participate in volunteer medical work.
“I am excited to be able to shadow doctors and work within the community on volunteer projects and health outreach programs,” she said.?”I will also have the opportunity to create my own project, such as a nutrition program for diabetics.”
She hopes to attend medical school in fall 2012, but maintains that dancing will always be a part of her life.
“Whether it’s through teaching kids or adults, or just dancing for myself, dancing will always be there,” she said. “It’s fun, it’s a stress reliever, it’s great exercise and it’s something that I will always enjoy.”