Student leader lectureship series: Five seniors share diverse leadership experiences

Kathryn Nicolai, News Editor

Five seniors presented about their leadership roles on campus at the Student Leader Lectureship Series on Feb. 7 in the Elaine Langone Center Forum. The event was sponsored by Mortar Board, a national honor society for seniors excelling in scholarship, leadership and service.

The first speaker, history and political science double major Amy Collins ’18, was recruited to play on the University’s women’s lacrosse team. Her identity up to this point had been tied to athletics. After developing a medical condition that hindered her ability to play lacrosse, she found a new purpose by joining the World War One Research Project run by University students. “When one door closes, make another one open,” Collins said, rephrasing the cliche, ‘When one door closes, another one opens.’

Mike Pallotta ’18 presented on his growth as a leader throughout his four years at the University. On campus, Pallotta majors in chemical engineering and has served as an orientation leader, captain of the men’s crew team during his junior year, and a performer at the 7th Street Cafe.

“Find things that you like to do, that aren’t easy to do,” Pallotta said, “and surround yourself with people who will help and give you that.”

Pallotta found that his ambition, inclusion, and willingness to do things have all benefitted his leadership skills.

In front of a chalkboard filled with adjectives commonly associated with being a leader, such as confident, integrity, visionary and inspiring, Anthony Scrima ’18 lectured on his interpretation of leadership.

“Yes I may have the qualities you see on the board, but this is only half the story,” Scrima said. “Leaders are humans. Humans are not bulletproof.”

An education major, Posse scholar, captain of the Men’s Ultimate Frisbee team, Residential Advisor, TEDx speaker and director, Scrima focused on a leadership that shares experiences and stories with others to help them succeed. “I believe we all have the responsibility to pull each other up,” Scrima said. “I believe as a leader my responsibility is to get other people to more success than I’ve received.”

Through a slide show of childhood pictures, Amarachi Ekekwe ’18, a psychology and women’s & gender studies double major, discussed how leaders are not born, but created with the necessary people and support in their lives.

During her first year at the University, Ekekwe was faced with “turmoil, trial, and tribulations” and “blatant racism I had never faced before.” Her first inclination was to transfer.

“The leader in me stepped in and said, ‘No, this is not something that is new to you, it’s just different. This is not something you can’t see through,’” Ekekwe said. “I knew I had the ability to speak out for students who were scared to speak out.”

Finance major, University softball team player, and president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Meghan Kovac ’18 highlighted two important traits in leaders, humility and trust, that she learned after attending the U.S. Naval Academy Leadership Conference in February 2017.

Kovac also repeated the motto “Get 1 percent better every day,” often expressed by her softball coach Joey Lye, because it’s impossible to be perfect. “If you’re able to get 1 percent better everyday, you are going to be a lot better than you were at the beginning of the year,” Kovac said.

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