Amber Heidenreich, a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, is a dedicated student leader, athlete and civic change-maker with a demonstrated commitment to public service on our campus and in her community.
Her desire to use her education to advocate for positive change is evident in all she undertakes. A major in Criminal Justice and Legal Studies, she is using her background to help make systems more effective and encourage others to use their voices to make a difference. Currently, she is an intern with the St. Louis County Drug Court where she serves as a Screening, Brief Intervention & Referral Treatment Interviewer, a unique project that seeks to connect first-time DWI offenders with early treatment where indicators warrant.
Amber has also supported the Superior City Clerk’s Office with on-campus voter registration, and served as an election judge. She leads volunteering initiatives across campus including nightly Senior Connections meals in the student union as an opportunity for cross-generational service and coordinates volunteer opportunities for the women’s hockey team.
The list goes on but Amber’s desire to jump start change and to encourage and help others do the same shows just how one person with heart can make a difference.
My passion for leaving something better than when I found it has been engrained in me my whole life. It began with simple teachings from my parents that transformed into advocating for positive change. This led me to study Legal Studies and Political Science with the prospects of being a lawyer who could help create something better.
When I first entered UW-Superior, I believed in being tough on crime. However, my education quickly changed my perspective through compassion and learning about who someone is rather than judging them for a mistake they made on their worst day. This influenced me to do a research project on Drug Treatment Courts, and how treatment is changing our criminal justice system. Through this research, it was apparent that incarceration is not an effective solution for those who commit crimes due to a struggle with addiction. Instead, learning one’s story and providing them with treatment and resources for a healthy life is more beneficial. This influenced my current internship with Duluth’s DWI Court, and it will continue to influence my future career as a lawyer where I plan to help change the stigma around addiction by advocating for treatment rather than punishment.