March 2016

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Page 138 of 138

139 S amantha Wagner is a female diver from Marion, Iowa. Charles Holliday is a male swimmer from Rock Island, Illinois. Wagner grew up cheering for the University of Iowa Hawkeyes, Holliday did not. ey were brought together by the UI swimming & diving program and a unique learning opportunity called Hawkeye Heath C.A.R.E. (Career and Research Exposure). Wagner is majoring in biomedical engineering; Holliday in human physiology. "Being a Hawkeye has challenged me every day in- and-out of the pool and classroom," Wagner said Feb. 10 at an all-staff meeting in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. "Most days I didn't think I would make it, but through the years I grew and became shaped into the Hawkeye I am today. ose challenges prepared me for anything that will come my way and those challenges have brought me opportunities." Wagner and Holliday were two of seven UI student-athletes that entered Health C.A.RE. four years ago. Currently there are 21 in the program that incorporates job shadowing with a health care professional in a specific area of interest and a Friday lecture series. "In my eyes it's a win-win situation," Holliday said. "You get athletes who work with these amazing doctors — some of the best in the country — and these doctors get to work with great young athletes. It is a unique opportunity we have at the University of Iowa." e program runs during the summer when student-athletes have more time away from sports training and performance. Health C.A.R.E. was developed through Student-Athlete Academic Services in coordination with University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Wagner explained the three levels of the program, beginning with exploration and culminating with research. One of Wagner's projects has been selected to be presented in an international conference this spring in Washington, D.C. "I wouldn't have been given that opportunity if it wasn't for UI athletics and the Health C.A.R.E. program," Wagner said. "is program is going to guide all our student-athletes to success and help them achieve all their goals." Holliday was a walk-on to the UI swimming and diving program and because of his high school grade-point average and ACT score, he said he was one of the final people accepted into the institution. rough hard work, he was able to work his way to becoming a top Hawkeye sprinter and his grades are among the top two percent in his class. "My experiences at Iowa have given me every tool that I need to be successful as a physician," Holliday said. "I have been accepted to three top 25 medical schools for next year. I am excited to go on and keep using my talents I have gained through hard work at the University of Iowa." Wagner grew up dreaming of becoming a Hawkeye. She said her heart pumped black and gold when her parents took her to several UI wrestling and gymnastics events. "I always insisted on wearing my Hawkeye cheerleading outfit," Wagner said. Holliday was more focused on his own athletic endeavors in high school and didn't pay attention to what was happening an hour away in Iowa City. "Deciding to come to the University of Iowa has been hands-down the best decision I have ever made in my entire life," Holliday said. "It has opened so many doors for me. I can promise you I will be a Hawkeye fan forever."

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