Student Profile - Heather Edgar

Spanish major credits LU experience for evolving identity

Heather (Daniel) Edgar, a senior Spanish major from Kountze, has left her mark at Lamar University. At the same time, though, she said the university has played a significant role inHeather Edgar reads a Spanish book shaping who she is ever becoming.

Whether through her work with her sorority, Alpha Delta Pi; as section leader with the Lamar University Drumline and percussion ensembles; as vice president of the Order of Omega Greek Honor Society; or at her on-campus job at the parking office, Edgar has been one busy Cardinal.

Coming to Lamar, Edgar had experience drumming for her high school band. She was surprised to discover her instructor, Travis Fife, made the move to Lamar along with her. “It was fun because we got to move through my entire schooling together,” she said.

Playing in the percussion ensembles gave Edgar a sense of family at the university she found very rewarding.

“It was so much fun getting down on the field and marching with the drumline,” she said. “For five months we would spend two hours, six days a week drumming. They really became like family.”

Drumming had an impact on Edgar in several ways. Practice organized her schedule, her instructor challenged her skill, and the drums themselves served as a medium for expression and stress release.

“There’s nothing like drumming,” she said. “It is therapeutic, fun, fast-paced and it challenges you – it’s a fantastic experience. It takes up a lot of time, and you dedicate your life to it for that time. But it is so rewarding, and you learn so much.”

Growing up, Edgar and her twin sister, Hannah, were the best of friends. After heading off to different colleges, however, the pair became friendly rivals. When Lamar University’s football team played Sam Houston State University, the sisters found themselves marching on opposing sides of the field. “It was so amiable because their band members came over and talked with ours,” she said.

Despite the many things the twins share in common, Edgar said she and her sister speak a different language.

“Hannah is music’s number one fan,” Edgar said. “I love her passion for it. I am passionate about languages, and she is passionate about her language – music.”

The Spanish major said she chose her language in part because it offers her a different perspective of the world.

“I remember one of my teachers telling me with each language she learned, she gained a new head – a different way of thinking and a different personality. Once I started learning a new language I started empathizing. I think learning languages is necessary, not only to be internationally competitive, but also to gain a better and broader cultural understanding – to really get where people are coming from. Spanish has helped me do that in many ways.”

Edgar said she hopes to travel one day to put her language skills to use in Spanish-speaking nations and communities.

“I would love to travel to Spain or South America and just talk to people,” she said. “It would be nice to study at a university, but I think the most enriching experience would be going into people’s homes to learn who the people are and what they are about.”

Languages evolve. As technology advances and the world becomes smaller, languages must adapt to remain in active use. Edgar said Spanish is no exception to this rule.

“I remember around Valentine’s Day, the department got these little Sweethearts, but they were in Spanish,” she said. “You know how we use acronyms like TTYL – talk to you later? Well the hearts had Spanish-text lingo on them. We were all scratching our heads trying to figure out what they said.”

Edgar said the various organizations she became involved with on campus provided an invaluable experience. As director of standards and ethics in the Lamar chapter of Alpha Delta Pi, Edgar had the responsibility of making sure her sorority sisters’ standards of conduct and academic achievement were in line with those of the organization. Edgar said in her two-year appointment, she never had an issue with a student’s conduct.

“The worst thing we ever had to deal with would be when one of the girls slacked off in her studies,” she said. “In that case we would bring it to her attention, help her set up a study plan and some goals to accomplish, and try to help get her GPA back up. We are ultimately a student organization that is meant to better you, and that includes academics.”

Alpha Delta Pi brought Edgar more than a sense of responsibility and a sisterhood of academic and professional women. It also brought her love. She married her husband Joel Edgar, a senior math major from Vidor, on Dec. 30, 2011. The couple met at a sorority function neither of them had a “real date” to.

“My sorority sister actually brought him along as an extra date to our formal. I didn’t have a date, so I brought my cousin. But my friend had it in her mind that Joel and I were perfect for each other, so she introduced us.

“It was like one of those romantic stories. When I met him, I was wearing a white dress for the sorority formal. And when we were married, I walked down the aisle in the same shoes I had on when we met.”

Edgar said that being married has not distracted the couple from their academic and professional goals. He plans to enroll in dental school after graduation, while she plans to pursue a master’s degree in language acquisition. She said, however, living with her mate has been a learning experience in itself.

“Marriage is a different experience,” Edgar said. “You don’t think about it at first, but his whiskers are going to be in the sink, and he will leave his socks in the kitchen of all places. But it’s a unique and wonderful experience. I am very lucky to have found my best friend and married him while we are both still in college.”

Being involved at Lamar, Edgar said, has prepared her for whatever the world may have in store. Through her classes, organizational involvement, band activity and campus jobs, Edgar has grown from a “college-kid” to an adult, professional, spouse and soon-to-be Lamar graduate.

“I am no longer in the ‘college-kid’ mindset,” she said. “I can look back on everything I have done and see just how prepared I am.

“When we stop learning is when we stop changing and growing. That is the cool thing about Lamar. You are coming to a school that is evolving and becoming bigger and better every semester – and the students get to be a part of that. I think that is symbolic of all of us as we also grow and evolve. Lamar is like a symbol for every one of its students.”