Southwestern University’s circle, or chapter, of the Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society recently announced its 2020–2021 Student Leadership Awards. The annual awards celebrate individuals and organizations who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement and have had a positive impact on the campus community. Congratulations to this year’s recipients!

First-Year Leader: Adelaide Armen

Adelaide Armen believes that leadership “is working in a way that maximizes potential and utilizes differences to be successful in a collective goal.” She knows that understanding the people you work with is important to properly motivate and inspire them. Armen has exemplified this idea through serving as a political science representative in the Student Government Association, a pioneer in Mosaics for First-Years, and a student representative on the Paideia Committee. 

Sophomore Leader: Coleen Roche

Coleen Roche sees leadership as building community, facilitating solidarity within a community, and empowering all to advocate for themselves and their community. As a Mosaic ambassador, Roche focuses on community building in the weekly program they lead, Mosaic Meetups. This focus on community creates a brave space where all can engage in crucial conversations. Roche serves not only as a Mosaic Ambassador and facilitator but also as the new member educator for Kappa Delta Chi, and they cofounded and lead Educators for Equity, an organization for aspiring educators dedicated to social justice. 

Junior Leader: Anna Franklin

Anna Franklin states that leadership cannot be boxed into a single definition; instead, it integrates many components, such as engaging, learning, growing, bridge building, and listening. During her time at Southwestern, Franklin has had the opportunity to expand and develop her leadership skills through positions such as president of the Student Government Association, Mosaic ambassador, and Alpha Delta Pi director of philanthropy. Franklin was recognized with the Emerging Leader Award for 2019–2020 and has most recently collaborated with the Health and Counseling Center on creating a new seminar for students on safe sex and healthy relationships. 

Senior Leader: alex bell

alex bell has learned that “leadership is about listening to people’s needs and figuring out creative ways to respond to those needs.” bell has showcased their skills as a leader the last two years by coordinating and facilitating The More You Know about Racism Panel. They continue to grow their leadership skills and have held the roles of president in several student organizations, including EBONY, the Coalition for Diversity and Social Justice, and Kappa Delta Chi. They plan to use the leadership skills they’ve learned during their years at SU in their future role as an elementary school teacher. 

Organization Advisor of the Year: Laura Sewell

In addition to serving as the advisor to the College Democrats, Director of the Sarofim School of Fine Arts Administration Laura Sewell has also emerged as an advisor to Pirates for Pride. During the past challenging year, Sewell has been actively engaged in her growth as an advisor and has served as a strong advocate for her students. Her student-centered focus has made her not just an exceptional advisor to her organizations but also an asset to the greater Southwestern community. 

Outstanding Student Contribution to Civic Engagement: Coleen Roche

The Outstanding Student Contribution to Civic Engagement Award recognizes students who have demonstrated extraordinary civic engagement or community-engaged learning efforts while attending Southwestern University. Coleen Roche strongly exemplifies what it means to be a changemaker through their positive impact on their communities. In addition to working with several social-justice organizations across campus, Roche developed a solution to promote connections and community building during COVID-19. They worked with Director of Mosaic Lisa Dela Cruz to develop a meetup program for first-year students that connects them with important campus resources, creates community, introduces them to the Georgetown community, and establishes a Southwestern identity.

Organization of the Year: SU Exercise Is Medicine

This year’s Organization of the Year Award goes to an organization committed to promoting physical, mental, and emotional well-being among the Southwestern community. This student group has been awarded the Bronze-Level Recognition by the national Exercise Is Medicine organization for the past three years and has recently reapplied for this status. SU Exercise Is Medicine was the recipient of a Green Fund grant to repurpose sit-to-stand desks to increase physical activity, relieve stress, and reduce low-back pain across the campus. During the month of October, they organized and implemented the Step into Health Walking Challenge, and throughout the fall semester, group leaders engaged in Instagram takeovers that promoted healthy active behaviors such as workouts and meal ideas. Currently, this student organization is collaborating with other SU community members to host a virtual 5K to help raise money for the Global Health Brigade. 

Emerging Leader: Eugenia Agobe

The Emerging Leader Award recognizes a first- or second-year student whose current leadership experience, philosophy, and outlook are likely to be integral as this individual continues to be a contributing and committed member of the Southwestern community. As a political science and history double major, Eugenia Agobe spends much of her time studying examples of leadership; however, her time at SU has allowed her to develop her own 21st-century style of leadership, perhaps best exemplified by a quote from political theorist Adrienne Maree Brown: “No one is special, and everyone is needed.” Agobe has been building those skills by working in the Office of Diversity Education as the peacebuilder intern, holding the Campus Vote Project Democracy Fellowship in the Office of Community-Engaged Learning, and acting as the membership chair in Student Foundation. She is also a member of the Alpha Chi Honor Society, which is reserved for students in the top 10% of their class. 

Overall Leader: Mason Biggers

An overall leader is distinguished within their peer group as a junior or senior whose time at Southwestern has been highlighted by their outstanding contributions to the university community. Their impact as a leader at Southwestern will not soon be forgotten. Mason Biggers believes that leadership is being able to inspire those around you to solve a problem and being willing to lead by example. He is currently the president of E.M.P.I.R.E. and is in the process of establishing a scholarship for African-American students. Mason can also be found on the football field leading his teammates as team captain, and off the field, he serves as an I-CORPS fellow. Most recently, Mason developed a new branding plan as part of his graduate-school application, and it is now in the process of becoming the new logo for SU Athletics.