Meet the Class of 2023 Leadership Fellows
Aniyah Adams, from Baltimore County, Maryland, is a current sophomore at Elon University. She is an economics major. In addition to being a Leadership Fellow, she is serving as a Fellows mentor this year. On campus, she is involved in Residence Life as a Resident Assistant. She also sings with the Elon University Gospel Choir. Aniyah works as an Office Assistant in the Elon University Advancement Office. She also plans to study abroad in a Francophone country. One of her goals is to become more involved in community service during her time at Elon.
"I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." – Maya Angelou
Sage is from Charlotte, NC. In high school, he was involved with The Boys and Girls Club starting youth sports teams. He also served as a counselor for Freedom schools, a camp designed to target at-risk youth and those who read under their grade level. He was a varsity basketball player all four years of high school and a captain for three years. Sage also partnered with an organization called The Relatives house to help provide food and housing for underprivileged children who experience abuse in the home. Currently, he is a Biology major with a minor in Business and Leadership studies. Sage plans to attend medical school and aspires to become an anesthesiologist in the future.
"Everybody is blessed with a certain talent. You have to know what your talent is, maximize it and push it to the limit." - Floyd Mayweather
Aulani Barnes is from Wilson, NC, where she graduated from James B Hunt High School. In high school, she was heavily involved in choir and various clubs and community service events such as tutoring kids at the local Boys and Girls Club and Club Unify. As a junior, Aulani was one of two students of her class selected to take part in RYLA, a leadership program coordinated by rotary programs around the world. Through attending the eight week program offered by the the YMCA where Aulani was able to further her leadership capabilities while learning new ways to improve as well. At Elon, Aulani plans to major in Communication Design with a minor in Leadership Studies. As a first year student, Aulani has become a part of the African Diaspora LLC, allowing her to gain more insight to the wonderful aspects of her culture. She has also joined the Elon Cooking Club and hopes to join the Student Union Board and become more involved in the Center for Leadership. In her free time, Aulani enjoys improving her baking and hand lettering skills, watching Disney movies, and browsing Pinterest for new ideas.
"The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." - Nelson Mandela
Jay Blue from Wilmington, NC is involved in the Leadership Fellows program, as well as serving as the men’s basketball manager. These roles have helped him grow into a better leader and give back through service. While a business finance major, he wants to explore the many fields business has to offer along with the sports management field. Throughout his time here he has aspirations to study abroad or participate in Study USA. Jay hopes to receive an internship that will further his study in the field of business. He is very interested in volunteering at the Boys and Girls club as well as giving back through sports.
"Leadership is an ever-evolving position." - Mike Krzyzewski.
Keiarra Bray is an aspiring documentary journalist with a passion for producing films and writing informative content for the public of various societal issues. As a first-year, Keiarra joined FreshTV, which allowed her to engage in the art of filmmaking and produce her short documentary film "On Air." Currently, Keiarra is involved in Elondocs, Cinelon Productions, and the Black Belong Magazine. She knows these programs will further her passion for documentary journalism and film. In Elondocs, Keiarra gains real-world experience as she produces three short documentaries setting her one step closer to her career aspirations. As a primary writer and co-editor of the BlackbELONg Magazine, Keiarra can authenticate and inform others of the black community's experiences. Throughout her journey at Elon, Keiarra strives to expand her leadership mindset as she engages with the various programs and opportunities Elon has to offer.
"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek." - Barack Obama
Mariel Colao from Jacksonville, FL is currently involved in Spectrum, Elon Volunteers, the Garden Club, several projects in the Maker Space, Intersect, and Biology Club. Mariel was the President and Founder of an LGBTQ+ peer support group. She hopes to continue making a difference in her community through Spectrum. She is continuing her involvement with Elon Volunteers and hopes to get involved with volunteering at the animal shelter. She is using the maker space to work on visual art projects and helping a group work with the 3D printers. Mariel has also recently participated in a train trip to Durham organized by the Danieley neighborhood and Elon train committee and plans to become more involved with organizing these trips. She has also signed up to volunteer at the Intersect conference in November. This year she hopes to be able to find opportunities to volunteer in technical theater, find more ways to pursue art outside of class, and become more involved with the CFL.
"Leadership is not about you; it's about investing in the growth of others." - Ken Blanchard
Madeleine DeNezza, from Denver, Colorado, is a sophomore at Elon University. In high school, Madeleine was the captain of her varsity soccer team, the secretary of her high school’s National Honor Society chapter, and the president of her high school’s Spanish Honor Society chapter. Along with being an Isabella Cannon Leadership Fellow at Elon, Madeleine is the house manager of her sorority’s on campus house, as well as a member of the Women’s Club Lacrosse team, and a Campus Recreation and Wellness employee. Madeleine is pursuing a degree in Finance with a double minor in Leadership Studies and Environmental & Sustainability Studies. Madeleine loves to travel and hopes to study abroad during her time at Elon. She also would love to find an internship, or participate in undergraduate research in her upcoming years here. She is very passionate about environmental science and sustainability and how they play a role in business and the economy. Madeleine is thrilled to be attending Elon University and to continue to grow and learn here at the university.
"When people talk, listen completely." - Ernest Hemingway
Outside of her involvement in the Isabella Cannon Leadership Fellows program, Amaya Gaines from Greensboro, NC is a tutor with The Village Project, Elon's program that assists students at various grade levels with reading, mathematics, and other skills that are needed in the classroom. Amaya is interested in social justice and research, both of which have been enriched through her membership in the Examining Disparities in Access to Education LLC. During her time as a member, Amaya has had numerous opportunities to discuss and analyze the flaws in the education system and its policies, which has further encouraged her to pursue a major in policy studies. Since The Village Project and the LLC have greatly influenced her time as a first-year student, Amaya wishes to continue her involvement and service on Elon's campus. When thinking about her future at Elon, Amaya intends to become a member of Elon's Black Student Union and continue to participate in additional service projects on Elon's campus and within the greater community of Alamance County. As for experiential learning, Amaya is excited to search for undergraduate research opportunities, study abroad, and earn an internship as an upperclassman.
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou
Will Gatchel from New Bern, NC has had a blast adjusting to college. He is a member of Elon's Economics Club where he looks forward to achieving his Bloomberg Certification with the club. Will is also a PACE student and has recently been hired by Elon's Student Professional Development Center and works in the Student Employment Department. In this position, Will works on a wide range of tasks to continue the growth of the Student Employment Department. He also values community service and believes that it is the best way to connect a community. Because of this belief, Will looks forward to finding more student organizations and service opportunities to take part in. In addition to his work and student organization, Will loves to learn. He looks forward to continuing his education and developing a variety of professional skills needed for the business world.
"Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today’s world do not have." - Ronald Reagan
Lev Goldstein is from Asheville, NC and attended a boarding school for high school in Greensboro, NC at the American Hebrew Academy. At his boarding school, he began his track of leadership by joining several organizations that lead to leadership roles. Coming to Elon University, he hoped to take similar steps with joining on-campus organizations; however, he has also taken it into his own hands to create his own leadership opportunities rather than filling the shoes of others. He has joined the table tennis club, ultimate frisbee team, kinesiology club, and the alumni network. On his own, he has crafted an on-campus business named Kippah Kicks where he resells and cleans sneakers around campus. In the future of his Elon experience, he wants to continue his passion for philanthropy (as he was the president of the philanthropic organization in high school) and soon will begin his journey of personal training.
"Leadership is based on inspiration, not domination; on cooperation, not intimidation." - William Arthur Wood
Cameron Gottlieb from Nantucket, MA is currently involved in Club Tennis and the Leadership fellows at Elon. He is going to continue his involvement in both of these programs. Cameron is potentially interested in starting a sailing club at Elon. He hopes to do lots of study abroad programs while he spends the next 4 years at Elon. The study abroad programs will continue to expand his cultural knowledge which is a topic he is interested in.
"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."
Kristine Hanniford is a sophomore Leadership Fellow from Roswell, Ga. She is a Psychology major with minors in Leadership Studies and Sociology. On campus, Kristine serves as a First-Year Mentor for the 2024 Leadership Fellows, and an Orientation Leader. She is involved in the PACE Program for student workers where she works as an Office Assistant in the Human Resources Department. Kristine participated in Adventures in Leadership where she spent a week camping and kayaking in the Outer Banks with other Elon students. She is also a member of I Am That Girl, a female empowerment organization on campus. Kristine hopes to study abroad in her time left at Elon and become more involved with New Student Orientation!
"Be the change you wish to see in the world." – Gandhi
Gregory Hornbeck from Orlando, FL is a part of WSOE, a natural extension of his lifelong love of a good conversation and good humor. His previous training in theatre, improv, creative problem solving, and technology have all come in handy for his new Elon endeavors. Past accolades include "Most Likely to Host a Late Night Talk Show" and the ridiculously competitive "Class Clown" senior superlatives. Gregory is also the proud recipient of an International Baccalaureate Diploma, most pleased with his extended essay on Sir Thomas Malory vis-a-vis Monty Python. In addition to the honor of selection as both a Leadership Fellow and a PACE employee editing videos in University Communications, Gregory is equally enthusiastic about lending his inquisitive, inclusive, and irreverent style of leadership to student journalism club and board gaming club. A Judge Judy aficionado, Greg also hopes to explore his interest in pre law and finally learn the definition a tort. (He recently realized it is not, in fact, a delicious flourless cake.) In his spare time from running an import/export business to raise money for his dream of studying abroad in Japan, Gregory might also learn to bake said torte in the awesome, new LaRose Commons kitchen. So far, he's mastered frozen pizza. Greg knows Elon is the perfect college environment to curate all the above knowledge over the next four years. Long Live Elon!
"Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles." – Unknown
Ava Karas, born in Pittsburgh, PA, is so thrilled to begin her first year at Elon! She is currently involved in the Elon College Democrats and Elon Effect (Elon Feminists). She holds a job at the Elon Poll. In her spare time, Ava can be found in a practice room at the Center for the Arts, or taking walks around the beautiful campus (especially in the fall). Throughout her four years at Elon, Ava plans to study abroad in Florence, Italy. In addition to completing a Music Theatre major, Ava hopes to complete three minors. She is looking forward to exploring all of the academic and artistic opportunities that Elon has to offer!
"We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormenter, never the tormented." - Elie Wiesel
Darsev Kaur was born and raised in Durham, NC, and is proud to be a student at Elon University! She is currently a facilitator for Barefoot Dialogue, and is also involved in the Pre-health Society, Cannon Committee, and APSA. Darsev also has an on-campus job as an Office Assistant in the Religious Studies Department. Off-campus, she is very involved in her local Gurudwara Sahib in Durham, and is proud to call herself a Sikh. Darsev loves music, baking, and meeting new people! She is excited to be a Religious Studies major at Elon.
"The ability to learn is the most important quality a leader can have." - Padmasree Warrior
Caro Layson from Winter Park, FL is currently involved in Elon Outdoors, Pheonix Phanatics, and Elon Volunteers. She is an energetic, outgoing person who loves listening to music. She loves spending time with friends and going on spontaneous adventures with them. While at Elon, she hopes to major in either Media Analytics, Psychology, or Comm Design. Caro is looking forward to being involved in Greek life and exploring more service and club opportunities around campus. She hopes to be able to go on an Alternative Break in the future to help communities. Caro also can't wait to explore North Carolina outside of Elon through road trips with her friends on the weekends and Elon Outdoors.
"A good leader leads the people from above them. A great leader leads the people from within them." - M. D. Arnold
Aubrey Layton is a first-year Leadership Fellow from Welch, OK! Currently at Elon, she is working with the America Reads! program and the Colonnades literary magazine. Research is an area of interest to Aubrey that she does not have much experience with, but she looks forward to growing in this area at Elon. She is currently trying to choose a topic. At Elon, Aubrey hopes to get involved with all sorts of different things, and she's still trying to decide what she would like to major in. She would also like to get involved with one or more of the Elon student TV shows in the coming semesters.
"Being the leader doesn't mean you have all the ideas, just the brains to recognize the right ones." - Disney's "Newsies"
Ilana Lefkowitz was born and raised in Montville, NJ. She loves art, religion, and Disney, specifically Winnie the Pooh. One of her main passions has been Judaism, as many of her extracurriculars in high school revolved around it. Along with having a variety of other leadership positions in the organization, she was president of her chapter in her Jewish youth group, BBYO. Through the organization, she helped run many conventions and programs, including the International Convention in Denver, CO. She also was a Teen Educator at her temple, Congregation Agudath Israel, teaching the foundations of Hebrew to third graders. At Montville Township High School, Ilana developed a passion for helping others, as she was a Student Ambassador, Peer Leader, member of Girl Up, National Honor Society, and French National Honor Society. She also received her certification as a special needs mentor from Pathways. She also competed on her high school’s speech and debate team, helping her discover her passion in communications. At Elon, Ilana is part of Hillel, IDEA, and PRSSA, while also being a member of the Cannon Committees. She loves to meet new people and get involved in things outside her comfort zone. She can’t wait to see where her journey in the Leadership Fellows program takes her!
"You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." - Christopher Robin
Hector Lopez is a student at Elon University from Wake Forest, NC looking to major in Cinema and Television Arts. He is involved with the Odyssey program at Elon in addition to the Fellows Leadership program. He is also an active member in Cinelon, FreshTV, Elon Motorsports, and Elonthon as part of the interactive media committee. Hector hopes to study abroad in either Australia or Italy and possibly an Elon Study USA program over the summer one year throughout his four years at Elon. Without a doubt, Hector has the desire to create media content as well as deliver stories and messages with creative media. He has also found interest in the technologies used in order to deliver and create such content.
"A leader knows how to follow."
Taylor McCluney is from Virginia Beach, VA. She has officially declared her major to be Human Services and she is excited to dive into her major specific classes. Taylor is currently in a course about working with communities and groups that is partnering with the Morrow Town Task Force that aims to shift the future of a local community “from the roots up”. She is very passionate about service and positive social change; therefore, Taylor has recently joined the Epsilon Sigma Alpha co-ed service sorority. She is excited to engage with communities surrounding Elon and learn lessons so she can bring that knowledge to the communities she joins in the future. Taylor is hoping to become affiliated with Elon’s tour guide group and a non-profit organization in any capacity to get engaged on campus and prepare for her later goals of having her own non-profit. She is excited to continue learning and growing within her cohort and on campus.
"...Our nation needs bridges, and bridges are built by those who look to the future and dedicate themselves to helping others. Commit yourselves today to being a bridge builder, laying many small stones with the belief that even a small difference is worth making." - Sandra Day O'Connor
Kajal Mehta is a sophomore who is studying Entrepreneurship and Strategic Communication Design. She is involved on campus with Club Soccer, Relay for Life, Yoga Club, the Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority, All That Jas, and much more. She has interests in fashion and wants to pursue something in that department for the future. Kajal was given the opportunity to intern at Naeem Khan this past summer and she loved every minute of it. Kajal loves to travel and one day would like to do Semester at Sea so she can travel and explore a vast amount of cultures. One goal of hers is to travel to all 50 states before the age of 50. Kajal loves sports, especially soccer, and her favorite soccer team is Manchester United. This semester Kajal will be working with kids at the YMCA in Burlington and she is super excited to begin. She also loves volunteering wherever she can and has been a Relay for Life member for about 11 years now.
"Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen." - Michael Jordan
Dailey Moore is a Cinema and Television Arts student from Birmingham, AL, though at the moment her interests lie in Arabic and Philosophy. She is involved in FreshTV, an organization predicated on developing real-world skills intrinsic to the field of Communications. She is part of the Arabic Language Organization and plans to study abroad in the Middle East as soon as possible. After a fair understanding of Arabic, she hopes to tackle another language, likely Spanish. She lives in the Polyglot LLC, as she is fluent in French. Much of her time is spent at the gym due to her interest in health and the human form. As an Odyssey Scholar, she really enjoys her cohort and is thankful for their guidance and mentorship. She continues to search for groups on campus with which she can associate herself since Elon is expansive, with a wide range of clubs, orgs, and partnerships.
"A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others." - Ayn Rand
Jessie Nuzzaci is a sophomore from Fairfield, CT, majoring in Strategic Communications and double minoring in Business Administration and Leadership Studies. Jessie is a golfer by trait, an artist on the side, a part-time problem solver, a full-time Leadership Fellow, an aspiring meaningful storyteller, and a passionate Pittsburgh Steelers analyst. During her first year at Elon, Jessie immersed herself in a range of extracurriculars to further her passion for communications. Jessie is an Account Executive at Live Oak Communications, the one campus Strategic Communications Agency, and a Social Media Manager for Elon News Network. In addition, Jessie is an active member of PRSSA, and the Men’s Club Golf Team. Growing up, golf was a lifelong passion that her father and her shared, but more recently it’s become an avenue to many of Jessie's charitable and leadership opportunities. She has had the opportunity to work alongside organizations like St. Jude’s and The Fairfield Police Department to organize golf events and raise funds for the causes she's most passionate about. She is optimistic that Elon has a place for each of her individual passions and is a university that will help her grow not only as a student and a leader, but as a person.
"As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one is for helping yourself, the other for helping others." - Audrey Hepburn
On campus, Sreyrath Poeun from Cambodia is involved in Women in Finance, the Service LLC, and the APSA club. She plans to double major in business, hence joining the Women in Finance club so she can get exposed to the business field. She wants to explore how the applied math and business field are related to each other, if they do at all. The two majors are like a tug-of-war that she has a hard time deciding on, so she just wants to give doing both a try to see where her interests lie. Off- campus, she teaches Khmer to children in a Cambodian community in Greensboro. She will continue doing this for the whole year, and maybe the year after, for she wants to keep her Cambodian identity by helping future Cambodian children learn about their background and heritage.
"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." – Franklin D. Roosevelt
Nyjah Rollins was born in Summit, NJ, but raised in Burlington, NC. She attended Western Alamance High School where she was captain of her marching bands Color Guard and Captain of the Varsity Softball team. Nyjah was also a scholar in Elon Academy, a non-profit college access and success program for low income and first-generation students in Alamance County. While in the program, she fell in love with Elon and all it has to offer. Nyjah is an Odyssey Scholar and a Leadership Fellow. Nyjah wants to study abroad in either Greece or New Zealand. While she is undecided, she is leaning towards a career where she can work in a space like the Center for Access and Success! She is super excited to continue learning about leadership and to see personal growth as a Leadership Fellow!
"A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus." - Martin Luther King Jr.
Shawn Royster was born in Chapel Hill, NC and grew up mostly in Burlington, NC. He is currently a sophomore Leadership Fellow at Elon University. He plans on majoring in Public Health and minoring in Statistics along with Leadership Studies. Shawn plans to go into education policy or biostatistics. He enjoys working with schools in Alamance county and helping the community. He is currently involved in The Village Project, tutoring, mentoring kids in the area, and he is working on a podcast with his roommate in which they talk about current events. In the future he hopes to use his opportunities as a Leadership Fellow to better himself and his time at Elon. He plans to study abroad next year and work with the community and surrounding area to collaborate and conduct research.
"Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world." - Joel A. Barker
Aidan Steinbach is a first-year at Elon from Durham, NC that is currently involved in Club Tennis, Cooking Club, and the formation of an organization centered around men's mental health. Aidan is interested in becoming an RA as he has experience being in charge of living spaces in his previous boarding school. Aidan also wants to get more engaged on campus and will be giving a Numen Lumen in February about his story and the lesson he learned from it as well as how it connects to men's mental health and sexual assault prevention. Later in his college experience, Aidan plans to run for an SGA position with hopes to better his community. Aidan absolutely loves longboarding and makes a point to board every day. When he is not boarding, he loves to write (he is currently working on his memoir), cook, or box.
"Successful people are 100% convinced that they are masters of their own destiny, they’re not creatures of circumstance, they create circumstance, if the circumstances around them suck they change them." - Jordan Belfort
Mallory Trapani is from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. On campus she participates in the Isabella Canon Leadership Fellows, Club Gymnastics, and her sorority. She also attends the local episcopal church and has a passion for reading mystery novels. Mallory has also stayed connected in her community at home as she is a member of the North Carolina Debutante Society and continues to volunteer with the Habitat for Humanity of Durham organization, where she spent so much time developing a children’s program during her High School years. Mallory Plans to major in Business Marketing and minor in Leadership Studies and Anthropology. In the future Mallory hopes to gain leadership positions within her club sport and sorority, as well as study abroad in Italy at some point.
"You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." - Christopher Robin (Winnie The Pooh)
Ariana Wilson was raised in the suburbs of Columbus, OH where she graduated from New Albany High School. She is a sophomore, double majoring in Strategic Communications and Marketing, and minoring in Leadership Studies. Along with being an Isabella Cannon Leadership Fellow, Ariana is an Odyssey Scholar, Peer Educator for Elon 101, Account Executive for Elon’s student-run strategic communications agency, Live Oak Communications, and a Student Worker at the Phoenix Card Services office. Ariana also joined Color Guard within Elon’s Fire of the Carolinas Marching Band, and she is an active member of Epsilon Sigma Alpha, a service sorority. In an effort to continue her work toward community engagement, service, and diversity she serves as a coordinator for the Service Living & Learning Community, supporting first-year students in their college transition and deepening their learning about service and social justice within Alamance County. She was on the planning committee for Elon’s 2020 Intersect Conference, "20/20 enVISIONing a New Way: The Road Towards Equity and Social Justice, Wellness, and Civic Engagement." In the future, Ariana hopes to study abroad, complete research, and start her own nonprofit organization in Alamance County to empower teen girls to aim for their highest potential - promoting personal wellness and self-branding.
"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." - Ralph Waldo Emerson