Meet these special students!

21 Mar

Anna Balassa

Transylvania University
Future Study: Eastern Kentucky University, Occupational Therapy, Ph.D.
As president of the Transylvania Circle, Anna sought to build the circle from a primarily recognition organization to an honor society that actively developed leaders on campus. With the support of an O∆K Clay Grant, the circle added a mentoring piece to Transylvania’s Pioneer Leadership Development Program. Each O∆K member is paired with a sophomore in the program to cultivate leadership qualities and become confident in those abilities.

“My experiences have instilled values of empathy, patience and encouragement. For my future career, I want to practice these values as an occupational therapist to better serve others and their needs.”

Melissa Boswell
University of Akron
Diane and Tom Vukovich Scholarship
Future Study: Stanford University, Biomedical Engineering, Ph.D.
Melissa studied biomedical engineering at Akron and spent a year working as an engineer and conducting research in Cape Town, South Africa. She is seeking an advanced degree to combine orthopedic research with computational modeling to evaluate injuries. She is passionate about STEM careers and actively mentors elementary, middle and high school girls in science and math.

Jacob Calahan
Auburn University
Auburn University Circle Endowed Fund in Memory of Dean Katharine Cater
Future Study: Auburn University, Pharmacy, Ph.D.
Jacob is the first student to receive the Auburn/Cater Scholarship. As president of the Auburn Circle, Jacob worked to induct leaders among athletics, the ROTC and the arts to diversify the circle.

“Success goes beyond having strong academics to being able to express strong character and a servant heart, as well.”

Grace Chao
St. Mary’s College of Maryland
John D. Morgan Scholarship
Future Study: Johns Hopkins University, International Development Studies, M.A.
Grace led the St. Mary’s Circle to volunteer for a local farm, donate school supplies, and create care packages for homeless individuals. She also used a triple major in psychology, economics, and Chinese to focus on her passion of how behavioral economics may be applied to international development. She hopes to lead this field and was recently selected by the Social Enterprise Accelerator Fund to work with social enterprises around the world to help solve strategic and operational challenges. In addition to her studies, she also works part time for the SAIS China-Africa Research Initiative.

Kayla Coutts
University of Maryland Scholarship
Future Study: Columbia University, Physical Therapy, Ph.D.
While captain of the club soccer team, Kayla served as Alpha Chi Omega’s new member educator, as well as dance coordinator with Best Buddies, an organization that empowers individuals with developmental disabilities. She plans to use her physical therapy degree to lead an emerging field in discovering connections between physical therapy and dance therapy for neurological patients.

Bhakti Desai
Robert and Mildred Blount Scholarship
Birmingham-Southern College
Future Study: The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Dental Medicine, D.M.D.
Bhakti’s undergraduate work with Birmingham’s Cahaba Valley Healthcare Clinic fueled his desire to give back to the community. She plans to start her own dental clinic to reach out to underserved populations. As circle president, Bhakti created a faculty appreciation breakfast for students to thank faculty members and strengthen the bond between faculty members and students.

James Drasbek
Chellgreen Family Endowed Scholarship
Future Study: Virginia Commonwealth University, Health Care Administration, M.H.A
In addition to helping found the Southern Virginia University circle, James works with a summer camp dedicated to teaching leadership and ethics to young adults. James interns with the Remote Area Medical Clinic in Virginia and ultimately hopes work in hospital administration. He is driven by the University’s motto: “learn that life is service.”

Travis Goodloe III
Hampden-Sydney College
Future Study: University of South Alabama, Medicine, M.D.
Travis’s childhood dream of becoming a doctor continues to take shape. He is a first-year medical student considering emergency and trauma-related medicine. While at Hampden-Sydney, Travis helped raise nearly $9,000 for gifts and essentials for children in need. He also served on the student court, as Hampden-Sydney Journal of Sciences editor, and plans to volunteer with the South Alabama free clinic.

Jenny Juehring
University of Iowa
Future Study: Washington University School of Law, J.D.
As circle president, Jenny oversaw the university’s James N. Murray Faculty Award program and the Dad of the Year award. Jenny maintains a 3.9 GPA in her international human rights law studies. As an undergraduate, she studied democratization and the developing world, and presented her research at the Midwest Political Science Association Conference in Chicago. She also represented IE at the Student Conference on U.S. Affairs held at the United States Military Academy (West Point).

Jennifer Kelly
Future Study: University of Baltimore, Accounting and Business Advisory, M.A.
Alphabet soup may best describe Jennifer Kelly’s career. As an undergraduate, she interned with the FBI and is currently enrolled in the University of Baltimore’s MABA (Master in Accounting and Business Advisory) program. She hopes to become a CPA and continue to use the leadership and organization skills she expanded through O∆K.

Quincy Kissack
St. Norbert College
Future Study: University of Maryland College Park, Education in Student Affairs, M.A.
While a St. Norbert student, Quincy volunteered for the Emerging Leaders program, Oxfam America and as First Year Experience mentor. She worked as a research fellow for the Sturzl Center for Community Service and developed a leadership workshop series with the Leadership, Student Engagement and First Year office. Quincy helped found the St. Norbert Circle and organized their first service project with the local Boys and Girls Club. She follows her passion for servant leadership to the University of Maryland College Park where she works as a graduate assistant in the Leadership and Community Service office while pursuing a master’s degree in student affairs.

Aliehs Lee
Southwestern University
Future Study: Southwestern University, Psychology, Pre-Med, B.S.
Aliehs and fellow members organized the Bystander Intervention Program, designed to train and encourage students to intervene in emergency situations, such as discouraging bullying, racism, sexual assault and rape. In addition to building the circle to recognize leaders from all five phases, she serves in the Catalyst Leadership Program, Psi Chi and Alpha Chi. Aleighs has dreamed of becoming a pediatrician since she was diagnosed with Grave’s Disease as a child. Alieh writes, “my pediatrician…made sure that I was treated properly and with tender care in any situation I faced, whether physical or social. Being a pediatrician means you help shape [children’s] lives to become extraordinary adults. Besides being a doctor, pediatricians are comforters, counselors, teachers and so much more.”

Ryan Lee-Young
University of Maryland/Sigma Scholarship
Future Study: Johns Hopkins University, Biotechnology Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, M.S.
Ryan seeks to apply his business background to the pharmaceutical industry. He was working as an equity research analyst and decided to further his science education. Ryan sees O∆K as an important organization to keep up with fellow leaders and recently meet up with a Sigma circle O∆K member in his new town. “More important [than recognition] is to be supportive of those with whom I share this common bond of leadership and achievement.”

Jia Siang (Ben) Leong
Rupert Latture Scholarship
Jacksonville University
Future Study: London School of Economics and Political Science and Peking University of China
Ben revised the circle constitution and bylaws to reflect the core of O∆K values. His internship with the World Affairs Council of Jacksonville provided him “the opportunity to network with distinguished leaders and gain knowledge beyond the classroom.” His interest lies in the outcomes of China and India’s rapid economic growth, and his ultimate career goal is to work for the United Nations Development Program.

Katie McGrath
Diane and Tom Vukovich Scholarship
Wright State University
Future Study: Wright State University, Student Affairs in Higher Education, M.A.
Katie describes how student affairs professionals helped develop her leadership skills and “saw in me what I could not see in myself.” Katie seeks her master’s in student affairs in higher education. Her mentors spent hours making her the best she could be and, in turn, “inspired me to want to make a difference in the lives of students.” She will serve as the co-president of the Wright State Circle for 2016-17.

Jennifer McIlvaine
Stockton University
Future Study: Stockton University, Communication Disorders, M.S.
Jennifer is driven to continue working as a research assistant and become a speech language pathologist, first with a master’s degree and then with a Ph.D. Her experience volunteering at the Special Olympics and with individuals on the autism spectrum “always instilled in me a renewed sense of appreciation for life.” According to Jennifer, these experiences and her presidency of the Stockton University Circle “allowed me to advance my leadership skills and will serve as a highlight on my achievement list.'”

Melissa Micek
Lynchburg College
Future Study: University of Delaware, Public Administration, M.A.
Melissa served as a model leader for the Lynchburg College circle, but she is most of proud of developing O∆K Day to introduce the student body to O∆K. Melissa served as a legislative assistant intern for the Virginia House of Delegates and participated in the Virginia Commission on Parole Review and the No Kid Hungry initiative. While working on a master’s in public administration, Melissa is applying to the Delaware Legislative Fellows Program.

Savannah Noray
Hillsdale College
Future Study: Montana State University, Applied Economics, M.A.
From presenting on women’s empowerment in Nepal to researching the craft brewery market, Savannah is always examining the numbers. She is currently working on her master’s degree in applied economics and has a goal to complete her doctoral work in economics before pursuing a career in international development research.

“I cannot predict what new methods my research will uncover. I can only strive to act entrepreneurially in the academic world by staying alert to good ideas. Development economics requires humility: a willingness to give up failed projects and a dedication to evaluating success without bias.”

Anne Parsiola
Karlem Riess (Louisiana) Scholarship
Louisiana State University
Future Study: Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Medicine, M.D.
From a small, rural town in Louisiana, Anne plans to return to her roots to practice medicine. During college, she worked in a biochemistry laboratory and at an obstetrics and gynecology clinic in her hometown to gain clinical experience.

“I learned that great leaders are those who inspire others to lead.”

Hermán Powery
Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University
Current Study: Florida A&M College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Pharm.D
Herman is completing his third year of Florida A&M’s pharmacy program. As circle vice president, Herman is highly involved in community service events, such as cleaning the circle’s adopt-a-highway street, joining the annual AIDS walk and helping give more than 300 pounds of food to a local nonprofit. He also assisted with Elder Day Stay and donated 30 books to a local book drive.

Polly Ricketts
University of Alabama
Future Study: University of Alabama School of Law, J.D.
Polly leads the Living Legend program, which honors Dr. Judy Bonner, the first female president of UA, for her substantial contributions to the University. The event touched on one of O∆K’s cornerstones: the meeting of intergenerational leaders by inviting current collegiate and alumni members to the celebration. Polly also collaborated with Auburn to plan the presentation of the James E. Foy O∆K Sportsmanship Trophy Presentation during the Iron Bowl football between the two universities. Polly also serves on the SGA executive board, as director for Beat Auburn Beat Hunger and vice president of the business honors program, and an investment officer at Forza Financial, a microfinance institution founded by honors students.

Kristin Sheetz
Randolph-Macon College
Future Study: Virginia Commonwealth University, Chemical Engineering, M.S.
In addition to circle president, Kristin took leadership roles in the science honor society, Chi Beta Phi and the pre-health society, and overhauled Randolph’s Leadership Fellows Program by boosting enrollment and communications and planning events. She not only wants to excel in her field but serve as a role model for other women in science. “I believe it is very important for women to have a safe place to encourage each other and work through tough times in a field mostly dominated by men,” she says.

Jamie Spinello
University of Florida
Future Study: University of Denver, Social Work, M.A.
Jamie helped lead the Gators of Tomorrow program, which recognizes the top 25 freshman, served as a teaching assistant and research assistant, and mentored a new member through O∆K. Jamie’s pursuit of a degree in social work stems from her aspirations to tie her knowledge of psychology and criminology to families in crisis. She writes: “Coupling my psychology degree with an additional degree in criminology integrated my study of mental and emotional factors of human behavior, its causes and methods for preventing it in the future.”

“A core strength I built during my life experiences is the ability to connect with people from all walks of life.”

Sarah Stayer
St. Mary’s College of Maryland
Future Study: Miami University in Oxford, Student Affairs in Higher Education, M.A.
Sarah’s interest in higher education and Title IX led her to develop a capstone study that examined how that legislation is implemented on college campuses nationwide. Sarah is passionate about making a difference in the lives of students and serving as an advocate for gender equality on college campuses. Sarah is editor of SMCM’s Journal of Social Sciences, a resident assistant, Dean’s Advisory Council member, and Title IX Fellow, working to plan and implement campus training and programs to prevent sexual misconduct.