Alexandra Frol, sophomore at Westminster College was interviewed on Westminster Stories to tell us about her experience with disability on campus. Listen to her podcast.
This piece originally appeared in the Spring 2015 College Guide Magazine.
Skiing has always been the equalizer for me. As an above-the-knee amputee, I am not as quick on land as some of my peers. But on the downhill ski slope, just try to catch me. I hope one day to compete in the World Championships on the way to qualifying for the Paralympics.
I’m a pre-med sophomore at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, majoring in biology and minoring in Chinese and chemistry. I dream of attending medical school and becoming a surgeon.
Becoming a surgeon is important to me because I have experienced both the personal and the clinical sides of surgery. As an amputee, I know firsthand what patients are feeling and to how to listen, respond and comfort them.
As a Jewish person growing up in the West, I have always felt accepted and comfortable in my beliefs. I was really excited to find Hillel for Utah at Westminster College because I wanted that connection with my faith and culture. I love being with the other Hillel members; we all come from different backgrounds and areas of the country and get together to learn, eat and have fun. The sense of acceptance, regardless of one’s level of observance is what makes our Hillel strong.
This year, our Hillel launched an Ask Big Questions Shabbat and the conversations have been thoughtful and respectful. I love that we can voice our own opinions, but hear and understand those of others. Eating latkes and dancing to Israeli music at Latkefest was a great time, and our plague-themed Passover Seder was a great way to celebrate the holiday away from home for all of us.
I plan to go to Israel on a Birthright Israel trip, and I am looking forward to attending leadership and engagement conferences. I want to be even more involved in creating my ideal Jewish student community in Utah — one that is compassionate, diverse and open to all.
In order to realize that goal, I’ve become a leader at Hillel (and beyond). This year, I’ve stepped up to serve as the vice president and treasurer for Hillel for Utah. I also am the treasurer of Students for Choice, chancellor of funds for Democracy Matters, the secretary of the Love Your Melon organization (for children with cancer) and represent Hillel as a board member of Westminster’s Interclub Council. I am an Engagement Intern and work part-time in the Hillel for Utah office when not in class, studying or skiing.
Service is also an important part of who I am. As fast as I’m moving in my life, I try to slow down and give back to the greater Westminster community through academic decathlons with local youth, tutoring students of color in math and volunteering in an animal shelter back home in my native Oregon.
It sounds dizzying, I know, but I am a woman in motion.
Alexandra Frol attends Westminster College in Salt Lake City.