We’re so excited to introduce Stephanie Shoop, one of our incredible SoleMates! Stephanie has been working with Girls on the Run as a volunteer coach and, in 2017, decided to support our organization further by raising scholarship funds for our program participants.
We recently asked Stephanie to share with us a little bit about herself, what makes her special and why she supports Girls on the Run Northeast Ohio.
1. One of the fun ways we try to get to know our girls each season is to ask them to come up with an adjective that describes themselves using the first letter of their first name. What would your GOTR name be?
2. Our program is designed for 3rd-8th grade girls. Can you tell us what you were like at that age or share a memory from that time in your life?
“Third through eighth grade was actually pretty rough for me. I was awkward and shy. I wasn't quite sure how to make friends, or what I had to do to "fit in". Running was especially foreign to me - I was super un-athletic. But, I kept trying and eventually worked up the courage to join my track team in 7th where I learned to jump hurdles. I developed a passion for running. I remember the day I made the top four at my school in the 100-m hurdles. I was so proud of myself. I am so glad that I persevered through this tough time because I have moved on to accomplish many great things in and out of running.”
3. We want our girls to dream big when it comes to setting goals. When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?
“I realized shortly after middle school that I really wanted to become a doctor! I kept this dream at the forefront of my mind and worked extremely hard every day in school and in my community to make it happen. Now, I am just about finished with my second year of medical school!”
4. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do for a living.
“I grew up in the suburbs of Cleveland. I began running (and loving it) towards the end of middle school, around the same time I developed my passion for science and medicine. I finished my undergraduate degree at the University of Cincinnati and graduated with Honors in Biology. I currently am in my second year of medical school at Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine. In my free time, I train for races, mostly half marathons. I now have the goal of completing a half marathon in each of the 50 states, I currently am 4/50 of the way done. I also started doing pageants when I was in high school and now hold the title of Miss Northern Ohio. I thoroughly enjoy being involved in my community, but specifically Girls on the Run because it is such an uplifting program that involves many of my passions.”
5. Can you share a story about a time in your life when you met adversity and what you did to stay true to yourself and your goals and how you overcame those obstacles?
“Being a female in science can be difficult sometimes. I once faced a patient that greeted me with "Wow, they sent me a woman doctor," even before I could introduce myself! I was so shocked because I had never experienced sexism quite like this. Instead of walking out of the room, I extended my hand and replied "Hello, my name is Student Doctor Shoop, what brings you in today?" I learned that people are going to say crazy things that have shock value, it is important to respond calmly and stay confident. Actually, in this moment, I applied a Girls on the Run technique, Stop, Breathe, Listen, Respond. This technique helped me get through this situation!”
6. Each season we ask the girls to acknowledge the things that make them unique and special. Can you tell us one thing about yourself that makes you unique?
“Something that makes me special and unique is my "Shoop Nose". Growing up, I always thought my nose was too big for my face, which made me even more nervous when trying to make friends. Now, I realize that my nose is unique, and one that many of my family members have also been blessed with and it's something that sets me apart from others!”
7. Much of our program is based around the idea of making an impact on our community. In what ways do you give back to your own community?
“I have been coaching with Girls on the Run since 2012. I have coached five seasons and have loved every minute of it. In addition to this, I am a Big with the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program of Cleveland. In the past, I have also volunteered in hospitals and camps.”
8. What brought you to Girls on the Run and what inspired you to become a SoleMate?
“I began with Girls on the Run as a freshman in college. There was an organization fair put on by the school to get us involved with the community. I remember seeing a sign and all I saw was "run". I was drawn to it since I loved running so much. Then, when I spoke to the representative, I realized that the program was so much more than running, so I became an assistant coach. I wanted to become a SoleMate because medical school can be very demanding and I still needed to be a part of the program in some way so I decided to become a Sole Mate which allowed me to operate on a more flexible schedule and still serve the girls in the area.”
9. What one piece of advice would you give young girls today?
"Start somewhere today, don't put it off. You can do something no matter how small you think it is in terms of your long-term goal. Every step you take is one you'll be thankful for when you get there. And remember, the hardest part is the first foot hitting the pavement."
Click here to support Stephanie in her effort to raise funds for Girls on the Run Northeast Ohio.