Student Spotlights

Mara Heppard


A poster featuring the person's image and the answer to two profile questions.

Where is home/Where did you grow up?

Rochester, NY (haha!)

Why did you choose this major?

I chose to pursue a degree in Digital Media Studies at the University of Rochester with the intent of gaining a high-level understanding of how to use digital tech within a career in business. I am a double major in Digital Media Studies and Business with a minor in philosophy. I have had the opportunity to be on the UR Student Social Media team managing the @URochester Instagram, and I have also done social media for multiple teams in Rochester athletics as well. With these experiences, I have enjoyed gaining a strong skillset in digal marketing over the past 4 years.

What’s your capstone project?

I am the Project Manager for my team capstone “UR Time” with my teammates Jenni, Andy, Jingfei, and Tim. Our team has had a great experience. We first pinpointed a common problem among college students: the struggle to maintain motivation amidst distractions and competing priorities. We are currently in the mid-prototype stage of developing a digital tool centered on addressing this challenge to enhance student productivity.

Why is community engagement important to you?

I appreciate the quote "You are the sum of the people you surround yourself with," and for over 20 years, that's been the folks in Rochester. Thinking about how thankful I am for meeting and having the support of people here, it makes me proud to be part of this community. Staying involved, whether it be simply as a friend, captain, peer, student worker, volunteer, or mentor, is important to me as I learn how I can best serve those around me. I am glad to be involved at UR, but am also excited to stay active within new communities I may join.

What are your plans after you graduate?

As I work towards graduation, I am eager to start a career in brand marketing or marketing consulting.  

What is your proudest accomplishment while at the UofR?

I hate to make this a “cop-out”, but I don’t want to name anything specific. Really, I am most proud that I was able to take my opportunity at UR and be successful, but have fun as well. I have loved meeting my friends here at UR and being an active student on campus through the Catholic Newman Community, athletics, and being a student worker. My friends have taught me how to create that healthy work-life balance (please be assured, I’m still working on it lol). I am grateful to have enjoyed learning with my friends in my courses, but to also have knowledgeable and supportive professors in their fields. I am proud to simply be a student!

Honorable mention: Ok, if we are being specific I am proud that as a member of our field hockey team we went to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2022. It was an amazing experience to cap off our tremendous season, and I was proud that within my role as co-captain I could support my team.

What do you like to do when not in school?

I enjoy drinking coffee (probably too much), my friends and family, going to the gym, acai bowls, and watching pop-culture movies (so I can keep “in-touch” ). I have also really enjoyed traveling and I will say my one regret is not studying abroad. Oh- I of course have to mention my favorite thing to watch is The Office.

A Rochester must?

Ahah… I have an immediate answer! I would have to recommend a walk down Park Ave. I will make myself an excuse to go get chai there. It is great in the summer and fun in the winter! (Just bring a jacket)

Feast/meal of the times? Details, please!

Easy- Chipotle. Busy day at the library? It’s like a reward. Steak burrito please.

An inspiring book/movie/show? We are really curious as to why!

Ok, but I have to say the actual first inspiring thing that pops into mind is the course I just took entitled CASC 358 “The Leadership Experience” at Rochester. As a student-athlete, I got to be a part of a semester long seminar where I could talk about leadership with my peers, but also with coaches in athletics. Our class was under the direction of Brian Magee, the current Interim Director of Student Activities & Leadership Education. It was really inspiring to learn from the experiences of others and add their advice to my own toolkit. I encourage those who can to participate in this course!

Fun fact or quote

“Mara- the amount of times I have seen you dab during our group project is probably the most I’ve seen in 4 years.”

Fun fact: During a hard field hockey practice, my senior class and I will often celebrate and joke with the team by dabbing on the field. We have to meet our daily quota.

Ask me about…

Harry Potter, Rochester, a funny TikTok, field hockey superstar Erin Matson, or if we should get coffee (answer yes).