Student Leader Spotlight: Kerry Kurkjian '15
Elon Junior applies leadership skills to her positions in the community and as founder of Elon Irish Dance Club.
Kerry Kurkjian '15, elementary education major, practices leadership across campus while also encouraging and fostering leadership in local middle school students through her position as the Alamance Youth Leadership Academy’s (AYLA) student coordinator. Run by Elon’s Center for Leadership and the Alamance County Chamber of Commerce, this program focuses on civic engagement and leadership development for seventh and eighth grade students. Kurkjian recruits Elon student facilitators and works throughout the school year to develop summer programs, activities and leadership workshops for the middle school student participants.
Kurkjian has also led the creation of Elon’s Irish Dance Club. She is the co-founder and vice president and began the process of establishing this campus organization her first year at Elon. The club is currently in the developmental stage and Kurkjian is hoping to move it on to the provisional status soon. Elon’s Center for Leadership has supported Kurkjian as she works to make a part of her life—Irish dancing—an opportunity available for other Elon students who would like to continue practicing and performing this art in college.
Kurkjian’s engagement in leadership programs at Elon began her first year when she took a leadership focused Elon 101 class. This class inspired Kurkjian to participate in the Leadership Education and Development Program, or LEAD Program, which Kurkjian believes really has helped her to grow as a leader.
“I’ve been able to apply the lessons I’ve learned through the LEAD Program to my lifelong long love of Irish Dancing and my profession and passion—teaching,” Kurkjian says. “I am really grateful for the opportunities the Center for Leadership has provided me to strengthen my leadership skills and grow as a role model for my students.”
For students hoping to improve their own leadership skills, Kurkjian shared some of her wisdom, listing the top four lessons the Center for Leadership has taught her:
1. You have to make mistakes in order to learn, grow and develop.
2. Collaboration is key.
3. Leadership and service go hand in hand.
4. Be passionate. In order to do things well, you have to have heart.
“It’s been great to see Kerry develop her leadership through our programs over the last three years,” Director of the Center for Leadership Steve Mencarini said. “Kerry’s dedication to the AYLA program truly shows her passion for education and the investment in the youth of our community.”
In addition to her roles with AYLA and Elon’s Irish Dance Club, Kurkjian is a Periclean Scholar, a New Student Orientation leader, has taught classes for Elon’s Burst the Bubble program and volunteers on service trips with Catholic Campus Ministry. She has also received the academic honors of Phi Eta Sigma, ODK and Phi Kappa Phi.
If you are a student who is interested in facilitating the AYLA program this summer, please contact the Center for Leadership at 336-278-LEAD.