Meet Passionate Soul Audrey Wood

Audrey Wood's passion is ridiculously evident to all those who know her, and she's only fueled more by the passion of the people that surround her. From her involvement with Dance Marathon to working with UI Reach, Audrey has a passion for people not many people will ever attain. One of the most joyous people you will ever meet with a beautiful smile to match, Audrey is a wonderful human to get to know.

Age: 20 

Major: Speech and Hearing Science, with either an ASL (American Sign Language) or psychology minor and a disabilities certificate  

What is your favorite thing about the University of Iowa?

This campus is just filled with so many passionate souls. It seems like every single student here has something they are passionate about, and almost every single one of them is actively working to make a change and to make a monumental difference. I mean, you don’t go a day without passing someone who wants to talk to you about and help you get involved in local and national politics or joining the fight against climate change. The gardening club just got funding and approval to create a garden closer to campus to improve accessibility for UI students, which is super cool and something I know they’ve been working towards for a long time. A group of students opened a food pantry on campus just this year to combat student and faculty food insecurity, which is just awesome and so important.  I’m always blown away by all that the ImmUNITY campaign does to raise awareness and funds for life-saving vaccines world wide. This is not even close to a comprehensive list, and all of these group efforts don’t even begin to touch on the thousands of individuals who are following their passions every day and make a difference. I just love it. People don’t just sit around here, they DO. I fell in love with the Humans of New York years ago, and I have loved that being here means I get to live a mini personal version of that blog every single time I meet someone new and learn their story every day. 

Where is your favorite spot in Iowa City?

I’ve said on many occasions before that Yotopia is one of my favorite places in the whole world, so I’ll go ahead and say that makes it one of my favorite spots in Iowa City as well. High Grounds, Heyn’s Ice Cream, and the Coralville Reservoir all tie for close seconds. (Decisions are hard.) 

What are you involved in on campus?

I am a part of Dance Marathon Leadership on the Creative committee, NSSLHA (National Student Speech Language Hearing Association – oops, it’s a mouthful), Computer Comfort, the Salt Company, and I work for the UI REACH Program. 

Could you speak a little bit more on your involvement with Dance Marathon?

Speaking of passionate souls, easy examples for me to talk about - because I am surrounded by them all the time - is the people of Dance Marathon. DM alone makes up literally hundreds of students who give their lives to children and families battling pediatric cancer. These are students who not only put everything they have into fundraising insane amounts of money in support of these families, but students that freely and generously give their time and energy to our families every single day. Things DM does year round like family events, dancer events, community days at local restaurants, and of course the Big Event itself take hours and hours of detail planning, preparation, organization, marketing, and everything in between, and all of this is done by students who put their whole lives on hold to ensure perfection. Beyond these large-scale projects, students are daily giving support and making connections with kiddos and their families both in and outside of the hospital, building truly valuable relationships. Last year, I had the privilege of being a part of the Family Relations committee, and in this role I had opportunity to constantly see how much the efforts of this organization mean to our families. I’ll never forget a moment at the Big Event where I was attempting to answer a question for a mom as best as I could, and she hugged me in the middle of one of my sentences for no reason at all. I know that that hug had nothing to do with what I was saying, but was a response to her gratitude for the organization as a whole. UI Dance Marathon is making a difference on immeasurable scales, and I feel so lucky to be a part of the movement. 

If you could choose one person to sit at a table & have dinner with, dead or alive, who would it be & why?

Maya Angelou. I had the opportunity to listen to her speak over 6 years ago, and she has been my biggest role model ever since. Her hardships were numerous, but she just radiated with grace, wisdom, and virtue. 

What is your go-to coffee order?

I absolutely love a good mocha, and I’ll order some kind of mocha 9 out of 10 times. Raspberry white and caramel mochas are two of my faves. 

What are three words your friends would use to describe you & why?

All three words would probably have to do with me being clumsy, aka “pulling an Audrey.” It seems like I find myself in ungraceful or dysfunctional or just odd situations more often than not.