SESP Student Leaders Take Charge of Campus Organizations

SESP Student Leaders Take Charge of Campus Organizations

Leadership is a tradition at SESP, and many SESP undergraduate students head major organizations on campus. Here’s a sampling:

Nadia Ahmed
Nadia Ahmed, a senior in social policy, is a steering committee member for the Center for Civic Engagement. The Center for Civic Engagement promotes citizenship and social responsibility with volunteer service, research and community partnerships. The steering committee, comprised of faculty, staff, students and community members, gives direction and support to the Center. On campus, Ahmed is also a tour guide and SESP peer adviser, and she is involved in the Muslim-cultural Student Association, Northwestern Community Development Corps, Coalition of Colors and Living Wage Campaign.

Robert Ellis
Robert Ellis, a senior in human development and psychological services, is the student leader for the Summer Academic Workshop (SAW). This intensive two-week academic and orientation program is offered annually to approximately 45 first-year students to ease the transition into freshman year at Northwestern. SAW takes place during the two weeks before freshman move-in day. Ellis’s advice for academic success at Northwestern is “Manage your time effectively.”

Jonathan Harris
Jonathan Harris, human development and psychological services, is the president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). SAAC promotes communication between the athletic administration and student-athletes at Northwestern by providing a student-athlete voice within the department. SAAC also recruits fellow student-athletes to serve the campus, Evanston, and the surrounding area through a variety of community service programs and events. A varsity athlete, Harris is a goalkeeper on the men’s Wildcat soccer team.

Leah Martinez
Esther Wang
Leah Martinez, a senior in social policy, and Esther Wang, a senior in secondary teaching, are co-presidents of SESP’s student organization, Promote 360. Promote 360 is dedicated to the empowerment and support of minority students. The group plans programs related to career exploration, academic skill building and social support for SESP students, along with mentoring for Chicago and Evanston middle and high school students in an effort to promote college attendance among underrepresented minorities. Promote 360 offers a welcoming environment for incoming SESP students. Meetings are Mondays at 7 p.m. in Annenberg Hall, and all SESP students are invited to attend.

Kirstin Nordhaus
Kirstin Nordhaus, a senior in human development and psychological services, is the president of the Panhellenic Association at Northwestern. In that role, she serves as a liaison between the 1,400 Panhellenic women and other students, staff, faculty and administration; conducts meetings with Panhellenic executive board officers, chapter presidents and Greek community leaders; facilitates discussions and officer training at Greek retreats; and communicates Greek needs to the Northwestern University Associated Student Government. On campus, Nordhaus also serves as a volunteer at an after-school program in Chicago and a tour guide for prospective students. 

Austin Perry
Austin Perry, a senior in social policy, is co-chair of the Freshman Urban Program, a pre-orientation program that introduces incoming freshmen and transfer students to the neighborhoods within Chicago and Evanston. The program examines the issues that face these communities, the organizations that serve them and the means by which Northwestern students can have an impact. FUP draws on the theory of SESP’s Asset-Based Community Development in teaching about issues such as housing, education, health care, politics and community organizing. During this five-day program, participants volunteer at community centers, urban schools, homeless shelters and advocacy organizations throughout the city. Northwestern faculty and community leaders lead discussions on issues facing urban communities.

Emily Roskey

Emily Roskey, a junior in human development and psychological services, is the co-chair of Project Wildcat, a backpacking expedition that is the largest and most well-attended pre-orientation trip for freshmen and transfer students. The student-run program, known as PWild, has the goal of providing an orientation to the school that offers the opportunity to make friends, ease the transition into college and engage in introspection. Roskey says, “Being co-chair of Project Wildcat has been a challenging yet rewarding experience for me at Northwestern. The most rewarding part was being able to develop my leadership skill and style while working for a program I am truly passionate about. Getting involved on campus has taught me skills I wouldn't have otherwise learned in classes alone.”

Tim Zachas

Tim Zachas, a junior in learning and organizational change, is co-captain of the Northwestern Speech Team. The team, which is sponsored by the School of Communication, participates in weekly tournaments with events ranging from informative and impromptu speaking to the oral interpretation of literature. Recently, Northwestern University won national championships in both extemporaneous and impromptu speaking. On campus, Zachas is also the project manager for Consultants Advising Student Enterprises and vice-president of operations for Wildcat Express Delivery.

In addition, four of the five co-heads of Northwestern University Public Interest Program (NUPIP) are SESP social policy students. They are senior Jacob Rosner, junior Rebecca Portman, junior Alexa Herzog and sophomore Josh Parish. NUPIP is a one-year fellowship that helps train a new generation of leaders for social change through paid public interest work, professional development seminars and mentorship opportunities with Northwestern alumni. The NUPIP introduces young alumni to organizations that aim to create systemic social change and enables these organizations to draw on the fellows' experience, talents and work ethic.

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 9/12/11