Leaving a Legacy

July 12, 2017

Inspired by her grandfather, Meghan Bouman is making sharing the essence of the Matador spirit part of her life’s work.

Meghan BoumanIt was a string of Christmas lights hung more than five years before her birth that shaped the direction of Meghan Bouman’s life. Robert Bouman, her grandfather, was up on a ladder taking the lights down when he fell. The accident left him quadriplegic.

“I grew up knowing that as his normal,” Meghan says. “He never let it stop him.”

She was so inspired by the way that her grandfather never allowed his disability to prevent him from his favorite activities, including volunteering at a local museum, cheering on his favorite sports teams and sailing with his children and grandchildren, that today she is at California State University, Northridge learning to help others like him to experience also full lives. 

Raised in Michigan, Meghan came to CSUN after receiving a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology from Marquette University. Her undergraduate experience included an internship at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, a sports and fitness center serving people with disabilities. She worked with multiple adult clients with various disabilities, and helped to develop an adapted aquatics program for children.

Meghan was in Australia when she discovered CSUN. She was there teaching sailing, and had just five days left to apply for graduate school.

“I will always remember FaceTiming my parents as they assisted me in filling out my application while I was on the beach,” she says. 

Today, as she continues her education pursuing a master’s degree in kinesiology, Meghan is gaining important training at the Center of Achievement Through Adapted Physical Activity.

“CSUN is giving me the opportunity to get multiple hands-on experiences working with children and adults with various disabilities,” Meghan says.

Opened in 1971, the Center of Achievement has established an international reputation as a leader in developing and delivering aquatic and land-based adapted fitness programs for individuals with physical disabilities. Clients come twice a week, and CSUN students like Meghan lead them through their exercise programs, either on land, or in the Abbott and Linda Brown Western Center for Adaptive Aquatic Therapy, the center’s aquatic division.

“My grandfather would have loved to be able to keep an active lifestyle while chatting with students about the Michigan Wolverines football team or the Detroit Tigers baseball team,” Meghan says. “Supporting programs like Center of Achievement is one of the only ways to make physical activity affordable for people with disabilities.”

Robert Bouman passed away in 2004, but as a proud Matador, Meghan is prepared to carry on his incomparable legacy of fearless determination for many years to come.