Colonel Deydre Teyhen, DPT, PhD, OCS: U.S. Army Medical Specialists Corps Director, Health and Wellness; and Lead for the System for Health and Performance Triad, Office of the Surgeon General,
 is a former member of the GlenOak High School student council and National Honor Society in Canton, OH. Today, she is on the Surgeon General’s staff and her injury prevention and rehabilitation research accomplishments include more than $4 million in research grants, 70 peer-reviewed publications, 110 research presentations at conferences, and 120 invited lectures.

Advise: How did the skills you picked up during your time in student council and National Honor Society translate to your current career? 

Teyhen: Being a part of these organizations taught me the importance of being connected with your community and contributing to something bigger than your own personal goals and ambitions. That has translated to my current profession as a soldier. In the Army, one of our founding principles is “selfless service.” My current mission is to improve the health of the nation by strengthening the health of the Army. Having a guiding vision to serve others provides the greatest fulfillment.

Advise: You and your husband are the first military couple to run a marathon in all 50 states. How might the steps you took to achieve this goal translate to students with goals that seem out of reach? 

Teyhen: Early in life and my career, believe it or not, I was not into running. My husband helped me start off small with shorter distances like 10Ks, 10-mile runs, and half-marathons. For students, remember, nothing is impossible. I never would have thought I’d be a marathon runner, and now it’s very cool that we have run one in every state. The key is first dreaming about whatever it is you want to do, finding people who want to do something similar or are already engaged in the activity, then setting reasonable goals, step by step, to achieve the dream.

Advise: During your middle/high school years, was there a particular teacher or adviser who inspired or influenced you most directly?

Teyhen: Mr. John Namey is the teacher that influenced me the most in high school. Besides being an amazing teacher, he led our high school student council, was the executive director of the Ohio Association of Student Councils, and was the coach of our cheerleading squads. He was instrumental in teaching me how to be a leader, and some of this included improving communication skills, enhancing group dynamics, or optimizing the performance of a team. Mr. Namey taught all of us how to excel and become a better version of ourselves.

Advise: Why do you believe it’s important for today’s students to participate in student council, NHS, or both? 

Teyhen: Each one of us has something that motivates us or that we care deeply about. Participating in sports, student government, clubs, or a community movement will help you to understand what is important to you and how you can translate that passion into making a difference to shape future aspirations. As a student, creating good study habits and achieving academic success provide a foundation of hard work, determination, and goal-setting that will directly translate into a successful profession and happiness in the future. —