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Student Leader of the Month

Every month, the Office of Student Leadership and Engagement hopes to honor a student leader who has made positive contributions to The University of Tampa. The Bob Ruday Student Leader of the Month exemplifies leadership traits, goes above and beyond to contribute to the UT community, serves as a role model to other students and displays a high sense of personal responsibility and morals. Students, faculty, staff and off-campus contacts are encouraged to nominate a student for this award.

If you have a student in mind that fits this description, please nominate them. Forms must be submitted by the last Friday of each month. One recipient will be chosen each month and will receive an award certificate, $125, UT swag and the choice to have lunch at Panache with either the Dean of Students or the dean of their college of study. Make sure to nominate an outstanding student leader today!

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2017-2018 Recipients

 Maliya Griffiths - April

  • Orientation Leadership Staff Member
  • Judicial Advisory Board for Student Government
  • Director of Programming for the Cabinet in the Executive branch of Student Government
  • CARE monitor for Senior Week
  • Maliya is an engaged first-year student at The University of Tampa. As an Orientation and Family Engagement staff member, Maliya holds the responsibility of hiring and training new orientation leaders for the fall. She works over 20 hours in the office, as well as numerous off the clock hours at home. She is also involved in Student Government as a part of the Judicial Advisory Board where she was in charge of reading, reviewing and approving appropriations for all the student organizations on campus. 
  • This April, Maliya was appointed by the new Student Government President, James Meslenar, to be the new director of programming for the cabinet in the executive branch for next academic school year. This new role is a step up from the Judicial Advisory Board. Within this appointment, Maliya will be in charge of planning and coordinating all the Student Government sponsored events, such as Senior Week, Holiday Parties, etc.

Nichole Laggan - March

  • External President and Founding Member of MEDLIFE 
  • Volunteer Officer at MEDLIFE 
  • Head Teaching Assistant of General Biology Laboratory
  • RHA Representative for Residence Life, Smiley Hall
  • University of Tampa Hall Council
  • Nichole’s experience working at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute was featured in the University’s Homepage article, “Senior’s Research Aim to Keep Frogs From Croaking.”
  • In the past semester, Nichole has served as a lecturer for General Genetics Labs.
  • Nichole has spent four years as an independent researcher in the Biology Department. She has presented on amphibian conservation and the chytrid fungus in two conferences at the Ecological Society of America; thrice at the Florida Undergraduate Research Conference; and thrice at the CNHS Research Conference at University of Tampa.
  • Nichole took on a critical leadership role in the Biology Department as Head Lab Mentor. This job is vital to the success of the experiments for all of the sections of lab throughout the week and our labs have run without a hitch since she took over this responsibility. Over the past month, as Nichole is approaching graduation, she began teaching her head mentor duties to two of her peers so that they can more easily transition into her role. This will be a great help to our lab coordinator as well as the new head mentor(s). This forethought is very considerate and much appreciated by the faculty. Her peers look up to her and the biology faculty appreciate all that Nichole has done and is continuing to do for our department and the UT community as a whole.

Jamie Zale - February

  • Student Coordinator of the Bonner Leader Program
  • President and Founding Member of Service Oriented Spartans
  • Marketing Intern for Metropolitan Ministries
  • Student Engagement Assistant for the Office of Student Leadership and Engagement
  • Jamie is currently creating a First Amendment documentary for the Department of Communication. Jamie has made a positive impact to the UT campus and community by fighting for her first amendment rights while filming for class one day on a bus. The police were called on her even though she could site law proving that she was in the right. Her story was covered by the Minaret and she has been contacted by several news stations.
  • Jamie is a dedicated worker that is very passionate about community service. She has found a way to incorporate work, school and service into her weekly schedule and does not complain when given another task. She tackles obstacles with ease. Every interaction that students have with Jamie are positive. She always has a smile on her face. Jamie takes time out of her own work day to make sure that her peers are supported, and she empowers them to act as strong leaders. 

Jordan Machita - January/December

  • Vice President of the Catholic Student Organization
  • Treasurer of the Institute of Management Accountants Club
  • Resident Assistant
  • Jordan is a sophomore at The University of Tampa. He is a finance and mathematical programming double major with a 4.0 GPA. 
  • Jordan serves as a role model through his academic excellence and campus engagement. He volunteers with PEACE and the Environmental Protection Coalition. He is a part of the Sustainable Business Awards committee that works with the Center for Ethics of the Sykes College of Business to recognize local businesses that have a positive impact on the community and environment. Through this work, he shows others that college students can and should continue to develop as ethical people and that religious beliefs are also acceptable for college students. As an RA, Jordan demonstrates outstanding time-management skills and exemplifies a student who continually gives back to his community. He is also an active member of the Math Club and is an involved in the UT intramural volleyball team.

Brittany Bing - November

  • Student Coordinator for Orientation and Family Engagement
  • Vice President of Scholarship for the Panhellenic Council
  • Mentor for the BAC Program
  • Member of the Student Conduct Outreach Team
  • Brittany has been involved in various research projects including a service-learning project for her psychology major. She has recently coordinated a financial awareness workshop for sorority women. The workshop gave the participants access to information about general financial well-being including how to monitor, how to create a budget, how to avoid over drafting and how to save for retirement. Many students often graduate without knowledge of how to be successful financially so a workshop of this topic offers a great service to the UT community. In addition to all of her involvement on campus, Brittany is a diligent student and community member. She has volunteered over 100 service hours in the community while maintaining her grades and working on campus. She is very self-motivated to do good and aspires to help others out as a professor. When engaging with Brittany, it is clear that she is a very loving person who works to the best of her abilities always. 

Antonette Dewar – September

  • Vice President of the UT French Club
  • Vice President of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship
  • Resident Assistant
  • Employee at the Scarfone/Hartley Art Studio
  • Antonette is a passionate student who is involved in many behind the scenes campus activities. Often unnoticed and unrecognized, she spends her days serving others and building meaningful relationships with her residents, coworkers, peers and mentees. As the French Club vice president, she enriches UT in cultural understanding and diversity. She leads a weekly Bible study, mentors other students, creates events, and builds a true family at the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. As a resident assistant, she is dedicated to her residents, constantly making herself available when confusion, conflict or trouble arises. She also volunteers her time every week to serve the homeless of Tampa through The Well Tampa. Her selfless spirit has caused her to standout in every organization she takes part in, both on and off campus. Antonette embodies a true Bob Ruday student leader, a student who cares deeply about the causes she takes part in and genuinely wants the best for UT students.

Forrest Harrison – October

  • President of the Psychology Club
  • Secretary, Curator and Co-Founder of TEDxUTampa
  • Lab Coordinator for Assistant Professor Erica Yuen’s TWIRL lab
  • Lab Coordinator/Mentor for Associate Professor Michael Stasio’s research group
  • Peer mentor
  • Volunteer at the Circle of Love, Children’s Bereavement Center
  • Part-time Sodexo employee
  • Forrest is an exemplary leader and role model on campus. His involvement on campus in the various leadership roles demonstrates the responsibility it requires to be heavily involved, work part-time and a be full time student. Where these character traits really come to light is within the Psychology Club. He advocates positive mental health and teaches techniques to keep people calm in times of stress. Forrest is not only capable of leading 40 plus individuals for regular organization meetings, but has also taken many of the underclassmen under his wing. His mentoring has been a huge benefit to those new to UT, helping them get acclimated in the community and providing them with the tools to replicate his work ethic and success.