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Students reflect on impact of the Dean’s Leadership Group

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The Dean’s Leadership Group is led by John Weber, Dean of Students, and Amanda Schacht, Director of Student Life, and a scholarship is awarded to members. To become a member last year, students completed an application, essay and interview.

Weber said he enjoys working with the diverse group of students who have strong leadership skills, high academic achievement, and involvement in the community, student organizations and athletics. He said the goals of DLG are to help students develop strong leadership skills and teach them the importance of community service. This is accomplished through guest speakers, team-building activities and volunteering on campus and in the community.

DLG hosted its annual egg hunt for the children of PNW faculty, staff and students in April. Nineteen DLG student volunteers decorated the Westville campus plaza with colorful, candy-filled eggs for the children to find. They also got to take pictures with the Easter Bunny, and prizes were awarded to the winners of the egg hunt and a jelly bean count.

Blake Werner, freshman Health Studies major and DLG member, said, “I know that the entire DLG crew had a wonderful time preparing as well as setting out the eggs and prizes for the children and their families that attended. The Easter Egg Hunt was just another great effort and time well spent with the group.”

In addition to the egg hunt, DLG students hosted a Children’s Halloween party, Thanksgiving Food Drive and assisted with the Sinai Forum last year. In the past, they have also assisted with commencement, the Chancellor’s Holiday Party at Barker Mansion, and collected drinking water for Flint, Michigan.

One important lesson Riley Owens, sophomore communication major and current DLG president, learned is to have compassion for the people around you and lead through everyone’s strengths.

“As President, I have had the honor and privilege of connecting and learning about each member of our group,” Owens said.

Danielle Szymkowski, senior biology major, has been in DLG for three years and served as secretary and vice president.

“DLG has taught me to not be afraid to put myself out there. I would have never had the courage to join Student Government if it wasn’t for what DLG taught me,” Szymkowski said.

With help from PNW, Weber has increased the scholarship for students since becoming part of DLG, and he has helped members get to know each other better. He wants all members to know each other by name and become a close-knit group.

In addition to faculty, other former students have benefited from their DLG experience after graduating. Ashley Starcevich graduated from PNW in 2016 and was recently accepted into Marian University medical school.

“I spent many hours volunteering on campus and in the community and learned how to network with my peers and administrators. A large part of my medical school application focused on the leadership, communication, and organizational skills I learned through extracurricular activities at PNW such as the Dean’s Leadership Group. All of these factors led to my success as a student and will continue to influence the way I approach my future patients,” Starcevich said.

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