Meet the Class of 2020 Leadership Fellows
Faith Antonek from Carolina Beach, NC has a passion for mental health and has extensively studied inequalities in regards to receiving mental health care. She created a guide to accessing mental health care in NC and hopes to continue this work after graduation. She is particularly interested in improving access to mental health care on Elon's campus and Alamance County as a whole. Faith spent the summer of 2019 as camp director at Blessed Sacrament Catholic School in Burlington, NC. She enjoys working with kids and hopes to extend her mental health care work to children as well.
“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.” - Martin Luther King Jr.
Timothy Boles was born and raised in Wayne, IL. Currently, he is a senior at Elon University majoring in Human Services with minors in Leadership Studies and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies. He is passionate about social justice work, specifically related to youth, and supporting the initiatives and existing programs in local communities. His experience has been in building strategic and intentional connections between for-profit institutions and local communities to build relationships to support their initiatives. He enjoys making connections with his colleagues and those around him because he thinks the most valuable experiences can be learned from talking and getting to know one another. On-campus, he works in the Elon's Gender and LGBTQIA Center as a Gender Violence Prevention Coordinator. Through this role, he hopes to help make Elon a safer and more inclusive campus.
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Seek discomfort.”
Haley Brengartner, born in Strongsville, OH is currently the Student Director of University Innovation Fellows, a global program housed out of Stanford University's Design School that empowers students to be agents of change on their campuses. Haley is leading UIF to bridge the gap between business and STEM majors, increase the entrepreneurial atmosphere on campus, and raise awareness for women in entrepreneurship across all industries. In addition, she holds an internship at Volvo Truck's North American headquarters in Greensboro where she focuses on developing more strategic pricing models. After a successful 4 months studying abroad in China, Haley is seeking post graduate employment opportunities in Shanghai. She wishes to continue studying the language and develop a stronger international business acumen. In December, she looks forward to representing Elon University at the Global Business Case Competition at the Asia Pacific University in Japan in which she and 3 other Elon students will tackle a business problem and present their findings in competition with 11 other international universities. Until graduation, Haley is most excited about increasing University Innovation Fellow's footprint on campus and continuing her job search for employment in Shanghai!
“You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.”
Currently, Rachel Brown from Mount Laurel, NJ is serving as the Director of Public Relations for Elonthon. She is also a member of the Periclean Scholars cohort and works as a tour guide and diversity ambassador for Elon Admissions. During her four years, Rachel has studied abroad in Copenhagen Denmark. While in Denmark, Rachel worked at IDA: Danish Society of Engineers as a Communication and Analytics Intern. For the past two summers, Rachel has worked in Philadelphia at Tierney, a leading communications agency. Her first summer at Tierney, Rachel worked as a Public Relations Intern and the following an apprentice.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Susan Derasmo, born in Cream Ridge, NJ, currently serves as the Student Director for the Leadership Fellows Program. Outside of Leadership Fellows, Susan serves as a College of Arts and Sciences Senator for the Student Government Association. She also serves as the Service Chair for her sorority, Alpha Chi Omega, and is an appointed student representative on the University Honor Board and the Student Life Committee. She is also an active member of Elonthon Dance Marathon. Previously, Susan served as a cohort mentor to the 2021 Leadership Fellows Cohort, an Orientation Leader, Elon 101 Teacher's Assistant, and as a Volunteer Coordinator for the Intersect: Diversity and Leadership Conference. She is currently working on her common good initiative that is centered around campus culture around involvement and burnout prevention.
"Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others." - Jack Welch
Derek Dzinich is from Juneau, AK, and is currently a senior attending Elon University. Derek is interested in a range of topic areas that include language, intercultural relations, ceramic art, history, classical piano, and classical music in general. Last semester he studied abroad in Belgrade, Serbia, where he studied journalism and peace and conflict studies, publishing two stories about classical music with Balkan Insight. Journalism is an area which was previously unfamiliar to Derek, however, he thoroughly enjoyed the experience and hopes to further explore it in the future. As part of his SIT study abroad program, Derek had the chance to take an intermediate level Serbian class where he built on language skills he acquired as a child (his grandparents are from the Balkans), and hopes to expand on this interest as well. As he studies Political Science and International Relations, he is active in the Elon Model United Nations Society, and currently serves as Vice President. In addition to serving on the executive board for Elon MUN, Derek regularly attends intercollegiate conferences, most recently at Boston University. Finally, in his senior year, Derek looks forward to finishing his senior seminars and remaining classes. He is also excited to continue taking 2 credits of individual piano instruction, and being an active member of Dr. Victoria Fischer's piano studio. After graduation, Derek plans to return to Alaska for a year to work for the state government, before applying to graduate schools in the Pacific Northwest.
“A leader is best when people barely know they exist, when their work is done, their aim fulfilled, everyone will say: we did it ourselves.”- Lao Tzu
Caroline Enright grew up in Nashville, TN and graduated from Brentwood High School in 2016 with the James C. Parker Award. As a Policy Studies Major, Caroline focused her studies around international special education policy. Caroline has developed her leadership skills through her involvement with the Center for Leadership as a student intern since her first-year. She actively works with the student organization, Immigrant Realities, which works to educate Elon students about the topic of immigration and eliminate some of the stigma around the issue. In her second year at Elon, Caroline was awarded the Lumen Prize which awarded $20,000 to fund her research study focusing on inclusive education in Rakai and Masaka, Uganda. She is honored to be a Leadership Fellow and is grateful for the opportunities it has provided. After college, Caroline hopes to work internationally to advocate policy change around education equity, using the skills and knowledge learned through her time at Elon.
“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” - Lao Tzu
Grace Hazlett is a Public Health major from Rockville, MD with a love for all things related to health promotion and equity. Since her junior year, Grace has been pursuing this passion as a SPARKS Peer Educator with Campus Recreation and Wellness. As a peer educator, Grace leads presentations and facilitates programming related to physical health, mental health, sexual health, and substance use. Outside of work, Grace serves as the student member of Elon's Sexual Assault and Gender Issues Council (SAGIC). In this role, Grace serves as a liaison between Elon faculty and various student groups engaging in activism work, in addition to helping the university evaluate programs and initiatives related to sexual assault, harassment, and gender equality. While her time at Elon is coming to a close, Grace is looking forward to completing her Public Health Practicum at the Comprehensive Rural Health Project in Jamkhed, India this January, and is hoping to begin a Master's degree in Public Health in the Fall of 2020.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." -Margaret Mead
Noor Irshaidat is an international student from Amman, Jordan. Growing up with four younger siblings helped foster Noor’s leadership development at a young age. As the only Jordanian on campus, Noor strived to get involved in various organizations to help adjust to the American culture which enabled her to meet people across campus. From working as a Group Exercise Instructor and joining a cohort of Leadership Fellows to connecting with students on campus over delicious Jordanian meals, Noor found her home at Elon. Her involvement on campus also includes serving as a student representative on the President’s Student Leaders Advisory Council (PSLAC), as a Stanford D. School University Innovation Fellow, and a Global Education Center Global Ambassador. Seeking a career in international development, Noor majored in International Business and International & Global studies with minors in Economics and Leadership Studies. Noor’s studies were complemented by her internship experiences, from interning at the Foreign Ministry in Jordan and Embassy of Jordan – Washington, DC, to interning at Invest Africa - London, an investment and trade consultancy firm, Noor’s interest was solidified. Noor also worked on understanding the “Employment Barriers Facing Educated Women in Jordan” through her undergraduate research, in hopes of addressing the issue with effective recommendations, as part of her Leadership Fellows common good project. While Noor is proud of the changes she has been able to bring to her life and those of others, what she cherishes most is being elected to represent her 1548 classmates as the first international senior class president. She hopes her efforts will help pave the road for others to feel empowered to make a difference.
“People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” - Maya Angelou
Nathan Ross Jones
An alumni of the final Elon Gap Semester cohort, Nathan Jones from Lenexa, KS began his Elon journey in the wind river range of Wyoming with fourteen other first year students. They hiked, camped, cooked, and lived in Wyoming’s forests for twenty-six days, and had the privilege to explore and study across the United States and Europe, Nathan's irregular first semester is fairly characteristic of him as a person. It is the search for meaning, rather than the acquisition of it, that drives him. On campus, he loves his job as an Admissions Tour Guide & Diversity Ambassador, and has enjoyed stints as a teaching assistant and a teaching & learning apprentice. He ran for Student President Body and lost in the spring of 2019 as a bit of an experiment to see if he could rewrite the rules of successful campaigning, and also so that the other candidate would not run unopposed. Besides this, Nathan has strayed away from joining (and staying in) too many organizations, and has not been interested in holding any roles of positional leadership. He works a few campus jobs to help pay for his privileged time at Elon, and spends the majority of his schedule either focused on reading and writing for his classes, or developing genuine relationships with students and faculty, and serving whoever and whatever whenever he is "needed," and having gratitude for and respecting the spaces wherever and whenever he is not.
"You aren't supposed to find a place in the world. You're supposed to create your own."
Throughout his time at Elon, Steven Klausner from Plainview, NY has defined his experiences with a passion to learn about unique cultures and diverse perspectives. Over the past three years, he has joined the Student Government Association and Alpha Kappa Psi, and plans on using his time as a Leadership Fellow to explore his interest in service and political activism. Specifically, he is interested in learning how to bridge the divide between communities of different religious and ethnic background, with a focus on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. After studying abroad in Haifa, Israel for a semester, he understands that principled leadership based on realism and patience is required to solve some of the world's most pressing conflicts. He is an avid fan of Duke Basketball and the Miami Dolphins.
"I don't think of myself as a leader. I think of myself as a basketball coach who happens to lead a team." - Mike Krzyewski
Katherine Klinger is a senior at Elon from Atlanta, GA. She is passionate about the advancement of human wellbeing and ensuring that groups and institutions uphold the dignity of all people. Katherine is a member of the Kappa Delta sorority and is currently serving as the Diversity and Inclusivity Education Chair. She is also a servant leader on the Core Team for the Catholic Campus Ministry. Her four years at Elon have often been spent volunteering with various organizations under Elon Volunteers! and in the Alamance community. She will continue her internship from this summer at Residential Treatment Services of Alamance (RTSA), a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, into her final Spring semester at Elon. Katherine also enjoys attending Elon sporting events, speakers, cultural events, and personal development workshops. After Elon she is hoping to start her journey towards non-profit leadership.
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” - Mother Teresa
Matt McCarthy from Framingham, MA is very involved in his fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon, where he is currently the VP of Communications. In the past, he has held roles such as Philanthropy Chair, Scholarship Chair, and VP of Residential Learning. Recently, he joined the Student Government Association as a Senator for the Class of 2020. Outside of Elon, Matt has completed marketing internships with Citizens Bank, Bose Corporation, and a start-up called Poppy's Picnic in London while studying abroad in the fall of 2018. While his business courses are not particularly research-focused, Matt did spend his first-year winter term researching displaced persons following World War II at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.
“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Valerie Medlin is from Raleigh, NC. In high school, she was involved in Student Government, volleyball, basketball, refugee care, and service trips to Guatemala, Moldova and the Czech Republic. She has a love for teaching, dark chocolate, and travel. Here at Elon she is majoring in English and Spanish (as of now) with minors in leadership studies and Peace Corps prep. She hopes to one day teach English Second Language overseas.
"Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less." –C.S. Lewis
Karina Mehta is a current senior from Berkeley Heights, NJ who has gained a wide variety of interests and passions during her time at Elon. On campus, she is involved in many different organizations and holds a handful of leadership positions within those organizations. Since sophomore year, Karina has worked with Campus Recreation and Wellness as an intramural manager. She also partners with the Inclusive Community Committee for RecWell that is working to make RecWell a more inclusive community through feedback from the Elon community. Apart from her on-campus job, Karina continued her passion for playing soccer through joining the Women's Club Soccer team during her first year at Elon. Four years later, Karina stands as the President of the organization as she manages and oversees 80+ girls. Karina is a part of Delta Delta Delta where she holds an Assistant Philanthropy position which helps to raise money for Childhood Cancer at St. Jude Children's Hospital. Ultimately, Elon's extracurricular offerings and organizations have allowed Karina to develop long-lasting friendships and relationships that she is excited to see grow after her time at Elon.
"You may not control life's circumstances, but getting to be the author of your life means getting to control what you do with them." - Atul Gawande
During her time at Elon, Maggie Miniati from Barrington, RI has experienced multiple opportunities on and off campus. As a senior studying Marketing and Leadership Studies, she has applied coursework to everyday life through her involvement and extracurriculars. Some highlights include serving as the New Member Educator for Alpha Xi Delta sorority, leading an alternative spring break trip to South Dakota, and being an Orientation Leader for incoming first-years. Her role as Team Leader of Elon Outdoors within Campus Recreation and Wellness has been her most impactful experience at Elon. It has enabled her to explore the area while meeting new people and doing exciting activities outside. Last year she led a spring break to the Florida Keys to get her scuba diving certification while learning about the surrounding ecosystems. Outdoors has been a place outside of the Leadership Fellows that serves as a strong and safe community to learn and develop in natural settings. Her positions of Adventures in Leadership facilitator and then coordinator speak to the value of the program and the connection with leadership curriculum through her time at Elon.
“Leadership is doing what is right when no one is watching.” - George Van Valkenburg
Daniela is a senior at Elon from New York, NY involved in an array of different activities which she believes will forward her passions and aspirations. Not only is she a Tour Guide and Diversity Ambassador for Elon Admissions, but she is a College Access Team Mentor at Elon Academy for academically promising high school students with financial need and/or no family history of college. With a passion for self-growth, she is the head of Phoenix Flops, which is a group on campus which works with students to practice resiliency within the wake of failure. She leads "flop shops" and plans events with other departments on campus such as Residence Life and Orientation to share techniques and collaborate with students. Through this work, Daniela would like to pursue a career in either advertising or college admissions, as both professions would allow her to think strategically and creatively when working with others. Daniela is also involved in Chabad and Greek Life on campus, which have provided her with communities of friends that have helped her call Elon home.
“It's fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.“ - Bill Gates
Currently Connor Porro from Wyckoff, NJ is training to run the New York Marathon with Team IBDkids. Team IBDkids is a group of patients and doctors from New York Mount Sinai Hospital who fundraise $3,000 to better the treatment and research for IBD patients. As someone who was diagnosed with Crohns, this is an exciting way for Connor to give back to a community that has helped him for so many years. On campus, he continues to work with the Student Government Association. This year he will be leading the Acorn Fund, which is designated for Elon University students to financially support an original, innovative, and feasible invention, a for-profit or non-profit company/organization, or other initiatives with the potential for positive impact beyond the classroom.
“Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.” -Alfred, Batman
Michael Reed-Price from Dresher, PA is the Music Director of Rip Chord, Elon's premier all-male a cappella group. Michael is also currently founding Student Conduct Peer Advisors, a group which helps others manage student conduct charges. Furthermore, Michael is the Student Vice-President of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. Lastly, he's currently a member of Elon Music Ambassadors. In the past, Michael was President of Rip Chord sophomore year as well as being an OL sophomore and senior year. In November, Michael plans to attend his second Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) Conference in Orlando to further his understanding of Student Conduct Advisors. Michael plans to attend law school in the future.
“Each of us is more than the worst thing we've ever done.” - Bryan Stevenson
Amanda Ruvolo, born in Stillwater, NJ, is currently a senior involved in the Leadership Fellows program. Throughout her time at Elon she has participated in the Intersect Conference where she assumed the roles of Student Director and Logistics Coordinator for the conference committee. Amanda is a part of multiple honors societies such as Omicron Delta Kappa, Phi Alpha Theta, Phi Kappa Phi, and Phi Eta Sigma. She has served as an Orientation Leader for two years helping first year students through their transition to Elon. Amanda is also a member of the Kappa Delta sorority where she held the position of Panhellenic Delegate during her sophomore and junior year. During the spring of her junior year at Elon, Amanda had the incredible opportunity to study abroad for a semester in Florence, Italy where she was able to explore her passion for history even further. Currently she is finishing up her two-year long Lumen Scholar research project, and will be presenting her research at the National Council for Social Studies in Austin, Texas this November. At Elon she is extremely passionate about educational equity, social justice, and building upon her leadership capabilities especially during her student teaching internship. Amanda is looking forward to working in a Title I high school and getting her Masters at Columbia after she graduates.
“One voice can change a room, and if one voice can change a room, then it can change a city, and if it can change a city, it can change a state, and if it change a state, it can change a nation, and if it can change a nation, it can change the world. Your voice can change the world.” - Barack Obama
Jamie Snover, born in Spokane, WA, currently serves as Chapter President of the Iota Psi chapter of Alpha Chi Omega. Additionally, she serves as the Stewardship Chair for Senior Class Giving. Jamie is currently conducting research on higher education institutions display of students of color on social media and will complete her research by the end of Fall 2019.
"A boss has the title. A leader has the people." - Simon Sinek
Jacob Stern is a senior from Richmond, VA, studying Economics and History, with a minor in Leadership Studies. He is currently serving as a leader in the "It Takes a Village" Project, tutoring and mentoring 5th graders living in the Alamance/Burlington area. Jacob has been a member of Smooth Progressions A Cappella since the beginning of his sophomore year and is excited to finish his senior year off strong. He continues to spend time at the Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club. Jacob is currently working as an Economics of Education Research Assistant, helping two Economics professors as they devise a meta-analysis in analyzing the differential effects of certain educational policies on student achievement. He is excited to spend his senior year with his incredible cohort of Leadership Fellows.
"Leaders instill in their people a hope for success and a belief in themselves. Positive leaders empower people to accomplish their goals.” – Unknown
Jordan was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and is a 2016 graduate from McDonogh School in Owings Mills. Since coming to Elon, Jordan has been as involved as possible! She is currently the chapter president of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., President of the Elon Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa, and is currently an Apartment Manager on campus. Jordan had the chance to study abroad in Cape Town, South Africa where she attended the University of Cape Town and absolutely loved it! In the past few years Jordan has participated in a number of things. During her freshman and sophomore year, she was one of the student coordinators for the Intersect: Diversity and Leadership conference, she is an active member of the Black Student Union and a former SMART mentor, and is currently a Global Ambassador in the GEC. Now in her senior year, Jordan is looking forward to her post grad opportunities. She currently plans to attend law school to put the change making tools she learned from this program into practice in the real world.
"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world" - Harriet Tubman