Remember To Be Brave

Posted by Alexa Salvato on Tuesday, May 9, 2017

by Kaitlin Logsdon '17

In my experience as a Park student at Ithaca College I know I would not have found my interests in the same thoughtful, deep, and exciting ways without the connections I made in the Park Scholar program.

Through this program, I have met leaders in my field, made impactful differences in the community, traveled the world and in my junior year, conducted an award-winning research project, “The Global Betterment Imperative,” with three other Park Scholars that completely shaped my vision of how for-profit companies influence on our environmental impact. My semester abroad to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam expanded my understanding of what occurs when we don’t act sustainably. With my Park Scholar peers, we worked together to use our experiences to create more creative and effective communication theories for the workplace. I was pushed to do better and be better by not just faculty, but with peers who comprise a community of intellectuals who share my passion for community service, academics, and leadership.

The Park Scholar program has also given me the opportunity to take risks, fail, and come back to people who support me and helped pick me back up. I know without the support of this community, I would not have run for various positions in Student Government Associations. But I did, and my experience as Vice President of Academic Affairs has ended up being one of the most formative experiences of my undergraduate career. This experience helped me to better navigate complex conversations about diversity and inclusion within the realm of higher education, while developing my understanding of how to strategically address our community’s needs. And because of this, I influenced positive change on this campus that I otherwise would have never thought to do.

The Park Scholar program—with its access to leaders in the field, caring faculty and endless opportunities for growth gives you the ability to do amazing things. But for me--it is the experiences with my peers and the Park Scholar alum that have always mattered the most.

I have had the privilege to grow and laugh and learn with the same people I met four years ago (with a few more added along the way). And I know that I’m lucky to say I still think they are as brilliant and interesting and exciting to talk to as I did four years ago.

Because of the people in our program, I think more broadly, more deeply and am able to look at complex problems in a whole new way. Famed anthropologist Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”

The Park Scholar program is about thoughtful committed citizens—through this program you too can change the world. From the Himalayan Mountains of Northern Vietnam to the Gorges of Ithaca, my advice to you is -- remember to be brave, and the opportunities will truly be endless.