NCC shaping future leaders on campus
From student organizations and clubs, athletics, student events, community organizations, classes and side jobs, NCC has become a breeding ground for the next generation of leaders.
“NCC present opportunities such as clubs and organizations for students to assume leadership roles,” said Student Life Director Frank Pologruto. “Not many students know how to take on leadership roles, so we give them the tools to do so.”
James Mautz, a sophomore Business Administration major, is graduating this spring and will take his skills and leadership on to the next level.
Mautz’s student leadership roles include Political Science Club secretary, Phi Theta Kappa secretary, Student representative to the Middle State Accreditation Board, and the Business Club marketing chair.
Professionalism is his middle name. Mautz is a co-founder of the Students for Collegiate Professionalism Club, which has been approved by the Student Senate but not yet by the Student Life Committee.
“A leader to me is someone who is personal,” Mautz said. “Leaders are able to interact, adapt to change and have ambition. Anyone can step up and be a leader.”
The staff at NCC is behind any student willing give a leadership role a try.
There is value added to a Northampton education when student engaged clubs and extra-curricular activities are in, Pologruto said.
He also understands that it is tough for students to be involved when there is just more than school in their lives.
“College is a time to try a little bit of everything,” Pologruto said.
That time isn’t going to be wasted by freshman Nursing major Logan Paff, a presidential ambassador and student senator who has fallen in love with NCC.
Paff is so involved that when she walks into the Student Life Zone, students from every corner come rushing her way to say hello or to keep her up-to-date about an event.
A graduate of Pen Argyl area High School, she found transitioning from a Green Knight to a Spartan a culture shock but she has gotten support from her family, friends and the staff at NCC.
“You are only as strong as the people that support you,” she said.
She cites her sister Hayley, a NCC alumna and former presidential ambassador, for pushing her to be the best that she can be.
“Every soccer game and chorus performance (at Pen Argyl), she always made time to be there,” Paff said.
“To me a leader is someone who is involved and is willing to try new things,” she said.
Taking risks and trying something new is one of the most important things a young leader has to get use to, Pologruto explained.
Once a week, Pologruto said, he chooses a different building around NCC to walk around and talk to the staff, faculty and students. This enabled him to stay connected outside of his immediate area and if ever a problem arises, a relationship has already been made.
In his book, “The Way of the Champion”, sports psychologist Jerry Lynch calls this type of quality the “ability working in harmony.”
“Saying ‘hi’ to someone can change the context of a relationship,” Pologruto said. “When you stay ‘silo-ed’ in your own area, you won’t know how your decision will affect others.”
Sophomore Liberal Arts major Jaden Makovsky has overcomes bouts with being silo-ed and has branched out to be a star at NCC. A graduate of Northampton Area High School, Makovsky wasn’t involved as much until her senior year but when she landed at NCC, it became a whole new story.
The presidential ambassador and student senator does it all by living on her own and having a full-time job, but not without help from Paff, her Senate running mate and best friend.
“Having each other each other is important,” Makovsky said. “We are able to give each other courage when we stand behind each other. When you are able to stand behind someone and believe in them, that person becomes a leader.”
Also breaking out of her comfort zone is Phi Theta Kappa President and sophomore Business Administration major Elisha Puri. A native of New Delhi, India, Puri has become a neologist in America, coining her own word – “possiblistic”.
“You can either be defined a person as a pessimist or an optimist,” Puri said, “I don’t want to be defined as either. I want go in any direction I please, I want to be ‘possiblistic’!”
Like so many other students, Puri has been able to custom-fit her experience at NCC.
Student Senate Chairperson Angel Diaz’s custom experience has been filled with adversity but her enthusiasm never gets her down.
Diaz has been an undocumented person since she was six months old when her parents moved her and her family to the United States from South America.
“I was born to try twice as hard,” Diaz said, “so I can’t get upset when I’m down. Nothing is im-possible.”
Becoming a dual enrollment student at NCC during her high school years helped Diaz realize that NCC was the right choice.
Diaz is a business student but it seems like she has political science written all over her. Form chairing Student Senate to setting up a community rally on immigration reform, Diaz loves the podium.
“To me, being a leader is getting to know the opposite side of the court, the little guy,” she said.
Whether it be in the classroom, on the basketball court, or anything happening at NCC, every-one is the on same team, NCC President Mark Erickson said.
NCC is an ego-free zone, he said. If you pay close attention, doors are rarely closed to staff members and faculty.
Said Pologruto: “We are here for the students. Sometimes we forget that, but the students are our passion.”
NCC students have many stories of leadership and success including those of 2013 graduate Tim Semonich.
The former Student Senate chairperson has moved on to Moravian College, where he is now the student body president.
“As students, we have the ability to change the world,” Semonich aid, “and with love in your hearts we will not just change the world, but we will take it by storm.”