Purdue School of Science
Whoever coined the phrase "service with a smile" might well have had IUPUI senior Zak Koehler in mind: since arriving at IUPUI almost four years ago, the Purdue School of Science biology major has run through a sizeable portion of the campus's list of community service activities.
But that's been the plan from the start for the Wheeler High School graduate, who hopes to pursue medical school and a career in a field such as cardiology or emergency medicine when he picks up his degree in May of 2009. Zak arrived in Indianapolis eager "to explore all the opportunities" offered to students here, and found that not only did it fit his desire to "give back to the community, but was fun, too!"
Zak has "done everything from filing papers to stocking shelves to planting trees," but one of his favorite volunteer activities is working with the young men and women at Damar Services, an Indy-area agency dedicated to serving those with developmental and behavioral challenges. As a recreational volunteer, Zak plays ping-pong and basketball with Damar clients, and "gets to be a kid again" sharing special moments with those he serves.
The northern Indiana native is a first-generation scholarship recipient, something that "means the world" to his family. He's been a regular on IUPUI's dean's and scholar's list of academic honors, is the president of the Society of Leadership and Success, and also has volunteered for such activities as Jags in the Streets, Jam the Jaguars Bus, the United Way Day of Caring, the Martin Luther King Day of Service and Fresh Start of Indiana.
When he isn't preparing for a career in health care, Zak likes to spend time with his friends taking full advantage of one of IUPUI's earliest attractions for him: the big-city life of Indianapolis. The former high school athlete has seen the Colts in action, and loves visiting the clubs, restaurants and shopping opportunities that permeate downtown life in Indy.