Sydni Heron treated machete wounds and helped deliver a baby at a small-town clinic in Ecuador following her graduation from Ames High School in Iowa.
Now, she’s headed to college to study nursing.
Heron, 19, took what in the U.S. remains an unconventional route to college by delaying enrollment one year to work and gain life experience, a concept known as a gap year.
Living in a foreign land where she did not speak the language helped her develop a new-found confidence, she said.
“I’m better able to think for myself,” Heron said. “I didn’t even know there was another way to think and do things until I went to Ecuador.”