Sophomore biomedical engineering student Gabriella fields promotes autism awareness on campus
WHY HARDING Gabriella Fields, a sophomore from Rogers, Arkansas, knew right away that Harding was going to be the place for her. “I came and visited for Trustee Weekend in January of 2020, and I got to see the campus, but then everything shut down because of COVID-19 so I didn’t get to make any follow-up visits. However, on that first visit to Harding it just felt like home. It felt like a place that was going to be incredible, and the people were so amazing. The campus was so beautiful, and this just felt like the right place. This all sounds so cliche, but it’s absolutely the truth.”
CAREER PATH A biomedical engineering major and programming minor, Fields wants to use her love for building things to help others. “I thought I wanted to be a doctor for the longest time, but biomedical engineering just kind of fell in my lap. I loved my anatomy class, and I love to build things, so I really can see myself working with prosthetics. I also considered computer engineering, so I started a minor in programming. I’m so excited that I can take classes that I enjoy and will have the ability to engineer things.”
INVOLVEMENT Fields’ background and love for engineering helped land her a position on Harding’s Baja Club, which builds a race vehicle to the specifications set out by the Society of Automotive Engineers and competes in at least one of the annual competitions. “We went to (Tucson) Arizona this year, and in the 4-hour endurance race, which is the hardest of them all, we took first place. As a first-year member I just got to do odd jobs like helping with the tire rods. Next year I’m going to try and be on the welding team to help build the frame. I don’t think anyone expected we would do that well. It was amazing for the seniors who didn’t get to compete in 2020.”
CAMARADERIE Diagnosed on the autism spectrum as a toddler, Fields was inspired by Temple Grandin’s campus lecture and wants to promote awareness at Harding. “It’s amazing to me that Harding would bring someone here in my demographic — someone who is autistic. Not only was she female and autistic, she’s also someone who has made it her purpose to show how she can overcome it and use it to her advantage to grow and raise awareness. Harding has a great support office, but I don’t really know anyone who is autistic here, and there has to be so many. One of my goals is to create a community where we can all come together.”
She is using social media as a way to visually express her feelings and build awareness for the autisic community. Follow Gabriella on Instagram (@i_am_from_another_planet).
— Lane Gammel