Our Stories

Willamette Student Earns Datatel Scholarship

Emily Houle '07 went to high school in Portland, but she did not live the fast-paced urban life. That's because she grew up on Sauvie Island, an agricultural and rural area along the Columbia River about 10 miles northwest of Portland's downtown.

When you reside on an island connected to the mainland by just one bridge, life is a bit different. For Houle, that meant raising sheep on her family's farm, eating produce grown by farmers who lived on the island and being involved in 4-H since childhood. And her experiences have shaped what she hopes to do when she starts her future career in medicine. "I would like to do something with rural medicine," she says. "Sauvie Island is a rural community, and I liked being around that."

Houle, who is majoring in biology at Willamette University, is one of two students on campus this year to receive a $2,400 scholarship from the Datatel Scholars Foundation. The award goes to students who show academic excellence, leadership and service, and who attend an eligible Datatel client college or university.

During her time on campus, Houle has prepared for her future career by working for Willamette Emergency Medical Services. WEMS provides quick-response emergency medical care to Willamette students and guests 24 hours a day while school is in session. Houle, who is a certified Wilderness First Responder, often is on call at night or on weekends, responding to calls from students who need help. Her job is to do basic first aid or assess the situation to determine if more assistance is needed. "We are able to provide some care, but sometimes it's frustrating because what I have been medically trained to do is not the same as what a doctor can do," she says. "I want to fix someone, but I can't always provide the care that I would like."

Houle's other passion in life is her Christian faith. She is on the leadership team for Willamette's chapter of Campus Ambassadors, a Christian student group. The organization meets weekly for worship services in the Hatfield Room of Willamette's Mark O. Hatfield Library, and also holds retreats and mission trips. "It's a really fun community," Houle says. "They're great people to be with."