2016 National Leader of the Year Honorees
The Gen. Russell E. Dougherty National Leader of the Year program celebrates five exceptional collegiate members of Omicron Delta Kappa. The honorees are selected by the National Awards Committee chaired by John Herbst. Also, each of their circles will receive a $300 programming grant.
These five students were recognized at the National Convention and Leadership Conference, and they embody the best of collegiate leadership. With the support of the Omicron Delta Kappa Foundation, each will receive a scholarship of $1,000. The National Leader of the Year will receive an additional $3,000 in scholarship support.
Palavi recently finished her Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering degree at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Since her induction, she has worked tirelessly to improve recruitment for O∆K and expand its impact on campus.
As a member of the executive board of the Georgia Tech Neuroscience Club, Palavi displayed an overwhelming passion in the fight against Parkinson’s disease and ALS. She has also volunteered with Habitat Humanity to provide funding for the shelter and protection of Nigerian refugees.
Her current work aimed at providing outlets to the LGBT community and those experiencing mental health issues is reflective of her intense passion for community service. Palavi was also the captain of Nazaaqat, a prestigious Bollywood dance team at Georgia Tech, and is trained in both classical and Bollywood fusion dance. Palavi is currently enrolled in the University of Toledo’s College of Medicine and Life Science. Congratulations!
Initiated into O∆K in December 2014, Pasquale Toscano completed his undergraduate degree at Washington and Lee University with majors in English and classics in December. His work as vice president of the Alpha Circle at W&L has been instrumental in selecting new initiates and is demonstrative of his commitment to the mission of O∆K. Pasquale is also a young man of tremendous perseverance. In 2013, he was struck by a truck while riding his bicycle. As a result of his accident, he was paralyzed, and doctors questioned whether he would walk again. However, his determination enabled him not only to walk again but to flourish as a student and a leader.
In addition to maintaining a 4.0 GPA, Pasquale dedicates much of his time to the Student Judicial Committee. He has served as both class justice and chairman of the committee. Throughout his service, he has displayed tremendous dedication to the health and safety of his fellow students. Recently, he spearheaded an effort to completely overall his university’s policies related to driving under the influence. After graduating, Pasquale plans to pursue a Ph.D. in literature. He was also recently named a 2017 Rhodes Scholar. Pasquale’s strong academic record makes him a worthy representative of the scholarship pillar.
Rachel Belli recently graduated from Florida Southern University with her undergraduate degree and majors in broadcast, print, and online media and advertising and public relations. In addition to serving as circle president of O∆K, Rachel was also president of her sorority, Gamma Phi Beta, and of Lambda Pi Eta, the National Communications Association honor society. She sought to make her circle’s involvement in student life a priority.
Her passion for broadcasting lead her to single-handedly produce the campus news show, FSC Today, and work as a project leader and reporter for Go Healthy FSC TV. Rachel has completed internships with both CBS and Fox News. She is currently finishing a newsroom internship with WTSP and hopes to attend the Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism to continue research in a field in which she is passionate. She embodies the journalism, speech, and mass media pillar.
Tiffany Brasby focused her time as Morningside College’s vice president of Omicron Delta Kappa on community service. As co-chair of the Intro the Streets event, Tiffany lead the effort to coordinate 2,500 collective hours of community service from 77% of the college’s students.
She recently graduated with Bachelor of Arts with a major in math education and continues to remain passionate about education. She is a member of the honor societies Kappa Mu Epsilon (math) and Kappa Delta Pi (education). In addition to collecting numerous awards on the softball field, she volunteered as the head coach for a local high school girls’ softball team. Tiffany’s athletic achievements, combined with her scholarship and community accomplishments, earned her the Leader of the Year in the athletic phase.
Christina Walker began her journey with Omicron Delta Kappa in January 2013 as a new initiate. As president of her circle at the University of Kentucky, she was involved in numerous efforts to provide aid to homeless and underprivileged individuals. She recently graduated Bachelor of Arts with a major in communications with a minor in music. In addition to her many campus accomplishments and philanthropic work, Christina served her country in the United States Army from 2007-10. During her military service, Christina was deployed for one year in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Christina is consistently looking for ways to help those in need. Her work in “A Cause For the Holidays” provided care and support for children with disabilities or financial hardships during the holiday season. Moreover, while maintaining a near perfect GPA and graduating summa cum laude, Christina balanced two jobs. Christina will be either pursuing her master’s degree in communications at Columbia University or a law degree at the University of Kentucky in the fall. Christina’s exemplary service to the military, her university, and the community at large make her a great representative of the pillar of service.