First-Gen Day of Celebration Alumni Spotlight: Heaven Wade ’21

Name: Heaven Wade
Denison Class Year: 2021
Current Role: PhD Candidate at Rush University

Briefly describe your current role in a few sentences. You may also add information on previous positions, graduate school, hobbies, etc.
I am a first year PhD student at Rush University studying Integrated Biomedical Science with an interest in cardiovascular research. Before entering my graduate school program I did an NSF funded Post-Bach program at the Field Museum in Chicago for one year studying plant specimens.

What was your student experience at Denison like?
At Denison, I majored in Biochemistry. I was a Community Advisor for 3 years and also worked for the Office of Admission as a tour guide and senior docent. During my time at Denison I was heavily involved in the Black Student Union, BLASS (Black-LatinX-Asian-Science society), and the first generation network. Each organization represented a different part of my identity and helped me be the person I am today.

What is one piece of advice you received (or WISH you would have received) as a first-gen student?
Find your people! As a first-gen student it’s hard to adjust to a new environment and new situations alone but if you find a group of people that you connect with in some capacity it can make it a lot easier.

What is one takeaway you’ve gotten from your first few years as a professional?
Be aware of your digital footprint, sometimes it can be your first and only impression.

Feel free to give any well-wishes, other advice, or warm and fuzzies to our first-gen students below!
There will be hard times and moments when you feel like you’re all alone but remember you have an entire first generation network cheering you on and there if you need anything!

Check out Heaven’s LinkedIn page to connect!

Heaven Wade ’21
By Sara Stasko
Sara Stasko Senior Associate Director