UC sets CAHS student on the road to success

Greer Downing, ’24, is one of those people you come across occasionally in your lifetime — someone who has been trustworthy, caring and competent from the time they were a child.

Downing, who is majoring in pre-occupational therapy with a minor in psychology and nutrition, grew up in a small town in northeastern Ohio, the oldest of seven children. At age nine she was a household contributor, cooking, cleaning and watching her younger siblings. At age 10 she was volunteering at a neighborhood preschool, where she helped look after a child with Down syndrome. She knew even then what direction she wanted her life to take.

“Growing up, I always knew I wanted to work with kids who had intellectual and developmental disabilities,” Downing says. “I’ve babysat a few kids with Down syndrome as well as some with autistic spectrum disorder. I also spent time with a family friend who has cerebral palsy while growing up. So I’m quite familiar with neurodevelopmental disorders. I take special joy in working with this population, and it is what makes me a huge advocate for them.” 

Greer Downing

CAHS student Greer Downing. Photo/provided.

Downing chose to attend UC because of its strong pre-occupational therapy track in the College of Allied Health Sciences. She was also recruited as a cheerleader.

“Knowing that UC had that pre-OT program, an excellent graduate school, an early assurance program — and I got recruited for cheer — I felt everything was set up for me,” Downing says. “Whether I cheered or not, UC was my dream school.”

Coming from a small high school, Downing was nervous about plunging into a large university. As a “Covid freshman” in 2020, that plunge was potentially even more challenging. “I was virtual in University Park apartments fall and spring semester, and I took summer classes online at home,” she says.

But Downing flourished. She made friendships and connections, virtually at first and then in person, within her community of pre-OT majors. 

At UC, scholarships change lives

Downing, who hopes to earn a doctorate in OT and work in an outpatient care setting, is a grateful recipient of a scholarship. “Many students can’t go to college because of the cost,” she says. “UC donors are so generous. I’m grateful to the people who support scholarships so that I can further my education and help build my dream of becoming an OT and someday to work with a population that I’ve always wanted to work with. Saying ‘thank you’ would not be enough. I’m really grateful that there are generous people who are able to give money to help students like me achieve their dreams and turn them into reality.”

Experiential learning is the key 

Downing fine-tuned her career path at UC through coursework and experiential learning while volunteering with UC’s Transition and Access Program, which serves college students with mild to moderate intellectual and developmental disorders. She acquired numerous professional skills while also establishing herself as a campus leader and advocate. She is an Undergraduate Admissions Student Ambassador; she serves as vice president of the CAHS Student Ambassador Organization; and she works as a ROAR Tour guide, giving three tours a week to prospective students and families.

“Being a ROAR Tour guide is my favorite part of being a UC student because I get to brag about how much I love being a Bearcat,” she says. “I love being able to help out-of-state students with their journey, reminding them that college is supposed to feel like home. And UC is definitely my home. I love UC so much, I want to be able to share my love as a tour guide with all the students who come on my tour.”

To support Greer and other students like her, please visit the College of Allied Health Sciences giving website.

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