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The newsletter by the National Leadership Council

A Message from the NLC By Amy James

RUSH! is an exciting time for chapters to show prospective members Geek really is chic! Last year we saw so many great pictures on chapter Facebook pages and the national page—and we look forward to seeing pictures of all of you in your NSCS nerdy glasses letting everyone on campus see the benefits of being part of the Society. I’m challenging you all to take RUSH! to the next level! This year, don’t just sit behind a table and tell everyone to join NSCS because it’s great; instead, give them an experience—on-campus contests, challenges on your chapter Facebook page… get creative! Feel free to reach out to the NLC as we are going to be

Geek is Chic at the 2011 NSCS National Convention in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Back Row: Frances Rivera, Glenn Madigan, Nicole Maher, Scott Perske, Brady Griffith, Huy Nguyen. Front Row: Michelle Wong, Alex Shue, Ellen Scheffer, Amy James, Blair Edwards.

working just as hard as you to make sure our chapter’s have memorable RUSH! And remember to reach out to your Member Engagement Manager; use your Chapter Resources, and utilize everything in your NSCS RUSH! box to ensure your events are the best thing on campus. The NLC can’t wait to hear

In This Edition

Honor NSCS Unsung Hero Induction Spotlight Advisor Spotlight

pg. 2 pg. 2 pg. 3

Inspire Duty and Honor NLC Spotlight Never Give Up

The National Society of Collegiate Scholars

pg. 3 pg. 4 pg. 5

about the great events your chapter puts on! Make it a week full of positive, useful and fun learning experiences that encourages every student to want to become a member of The National Society of Collegiate Scholars! Show your campus what NSCS is all about – Go Geek or Go Home!

Engage On PACE Search. Execute. Excel.

pg. 6 pg. 7

RUSH! Week 2012 Vol. 2 Page 1


Success of a Scholarly Superhero An Unsung Hero Spotlight By Frances Rivera

Bruce Wayne, Peter Parker, Clark Kent. These are just some of the masterminds

who bring life to some of our favorite superheroes. We all recognize their names, but tend to forget how outstanding these characters are themselves. People like Clark Kent exist in our everyday lives. That is why the NLC would like to spotlight one of

our greatest unsung heroes. Vincent J. Strabo is a student at Binghamton University in New York. Aside from being an excellent student, he is an outstanding member of our NSCS family because of his leadership skills, determination to overcome all challenges and compromise to help his community.

continued on page 3...

Platinum Powerhouse: Induction at Winona State An Induction Spotlight By Brady Griffith

Winona State University has worked to maintain one of the most impactful and successful chapters of NSCS across the country. Being the only chapter in the history of NSCS to achieve Platinum STAR status three years in a row, WSU sets an impressive example for other chapters to emulate. For their 2011-2012 New Member Induction Ceremony, WSU inducted forty-nine new members. They were honored to have the President of WSU, Dr. Judith Ramaely, deliver the keynote address and speak to students about achieving their dreams. Liz Sellers, Manager of Member Benefits from the NSCS national office, traveled all the way from Washington D.C. to the good ol’ state of Minnesota to present WSU’s chapter with a Platinum STAR Certificate. The application for Platinum Status is a rigorous and detailed process, and WSU is one of only eight chapters across the nation

to receive this honorable distinction for the 2011-12 chapter year. WSU also used this event to promote a new fundraising campaign entitled, “Ring us to Summit!” Based on their experience at the NSCS leadership summit, officers at WSU are working to raise money by selling hand-made, wire-wrapped rings to send more officers to this beneficial event. By doing so, officers can exchange ideas and look to incorporate new ideas at their chapters. Kayli Chihak, Executive Vice President of NSCS at WSU, credited the success of their Induction Ceremony in large part to Stephanie Stango and Matthew Noland who work tirelessly to ensure

The National Society of Collegiate Scholars

the seamless use of technology throughout the event. WSU is anticipating another impactful year for NSCS, and they are always looking to grow and innovate. As Kayli Chihak states, “We are striving to reach Platinum STAR Status again this year with the help of all of our dedicated, active members.”

RUSH! Week 2012 Vol. 2 Page 2

Acclaim for an Advisor An Advisor Spotlight By Cassi Konopaske

Christopher Hyer is the Honors College Activities Coordinator at Boise State University. His position has given him experience with high-ability students, and he is an advocate for getting students involved in leadership and community service opportunities, therefore being an NSCS Chapter Advisor has proved to be an enjoyable extension to his position. “Extending the walls of the classroom to incorporate life learning and leadership development is a passion of mine,” said Chris. He has found NSCS students to be very adept at assisting other students to make the connection between academics to real life application. When asked about his favorite NSCS activity and why, Chris shared it was aspects of the recruitment process. He said “it is always fun to talk to new people and to offer them something that they didn’t know existed”. He enjoys the ability to be creative and find crazy

ways, such as an inflatable joust tournament on the quad, to attract people to learn about the networking and leadership opportunities NSCS has to offer. He has found his advisor position has allowed him to play a more active role in the community and given him the opportunity to encourage more students to step out for their comfort zones to engage in new activities and leadership roles. Chris is always looking to continue his education and tweak his teaching style, and the resources and opportunities NSCS offers have allowed him to develop those skills while fostering relationships with some incredible students.

Christopher Hyer

Inspire Duty and Honor

Military. Jered Holder is an Army Staff Sergeant veteran who has served our country for nine and half years, and.. A Member Spotlight Alexander “Alex” Fonseca is a Cadet 1st By Jacqueline Gamboa Varela Lieutenant for the Army and is entering Honor. Inspire. Engage. his fourth year of service. In addition to is NSCS’ tagline but being members of the military they are these members embody proud members of NSCS and here are these three words in a very unique way: their stories. continued on page 4... they are members of the United States The National Society of Collegiate Scholars

The NSCS Superhereo, continued from page 2.

V i n c e n t considers being part of the Binghamton University Chapter of NSCS one of his greatest Vincent J. Strabo achievements. He joined NSCS while attending SUNY Buffalo, but soon decided to transfer to Binghamton University. Binghamton did not have an NSCS chapter, but with the help of the NSCS national office, he decided to jump at the opportunity to found a new chapter. Vincent felt it would allow him “to be an integral part of an organization that does many great things for its members.” The NSCS Chapter at Binghamton has put a lot of effort into helping out its community. At the beginning of September, the area went through major flooding and the chapter has been working hard to get involved, helping restore the area and getting everybody back on their feet. Vincent shared, “When I first joined NSCS I thought that I would just be adding another group to my resume. Then I was presented with the opportunity to start a chapter and have a great impact on my university and my community. Giving the Binghamton area an opportunity to experience what NSCS has to offer has to be the biggest benefit for me because this is my hometown. I will be able to see the growth of the Binghamton chapter many years after I have graduated and be reminded of how I was a part of making an impact on my community.” RUSH! Week 2012 Vol. 2 Page 3

Duty and Honor, continued from page 3.

Jered did not have a paternal figure while growing up and joined the Army because he wanted to learn how to do “men stuff ”. He shares, “I believe every human as a number of heartbeats, therefore do everything you can in the years given and be part of something.”Being enlisted taught him not to give up, to keep on trying what he started, and to be more dedicated to any task he was assigned. To Jared, the NSCS tagline is an example to members to members to live by a high standard, be a good example by doing the right things and to be involved in the campus community as much as possible. One of the benefits he sees as being an NSCS member is that he is able to do community service, as well as meeting “smart people from different majors” since it is a multidisciplinary environment that encourages him to keep up with a high GPA.

Alex on the other hand, joined because he wanted to serve his country “while using intellectual capabilities learned from college education.” His military experience has developed him into a more responsible and disciplined man that has integrity in any choice he makes. One of the challenges Alex faced was developing into a leader, sharing that decision-making is not only based on what is assumed to

Jered Holder

be right or wrong. Instead, making the best choice to the situation and, based on that, accepting and owning the consequences that follow, stating “In life there is no right or wrong choice, is just a best choice and deal with consequences.” The NSCS tagline is part of the code Alex embodies as an officer of the military in order to inspire leadership for others while being an active and successful leader himself.

Alexander Fonseca

Continuing to Lead by Example An NLC Spotlight, By Amy James

Frances Rivera serves on the NSCS executive board at the University of Puerto Rico Piedras. Since joining NSCS, she has made it a goal to increase member engagement and participation, and make NSCS more visible on her campus. She joined the National Leadership Council to serve as a bridge between members and staff of NSCS always facilitating the flow of information. NSCS has made Frances a more outgoing and influential leader. The part she loves most about NSCS is meeting different people from all sorts of different places and making lifelong friendships.” The National Society of Collegiate Scholars

Glenn Madigan is the current Chapter President at Columbia College Chicago where he studies Advertising Art Direction. NSCS has given Glenn an outlet for his creative energy and an audience for his work. He has helped design materials for the NSCS Leadership Summit and Convention, Summer Success (S2) Challenge, and National March to College™ Day—with even more design projects in the works. Glenn finds inspiration from other NSCS members and the amazing things they do for NSCS. It inspires him to continue his work and dedication to NSCS. RUSH! Week 2012 Vol. 2 Page 4

Never Give Up: The University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras’s Story By Nicole Maher

This past year, the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras chapter faced some serious obstacles due to various events occurring on their campus. Former Chapter President, Frances Rivera said, “Last year, our school faced a strike against the economic decisions the government was making…those decisions affected our campus because it established an additional annual tuition fee of $800 and it eliminated exemptions for athletes and other groups that represent the university. The strike lasted around three months.” Because of this, the UPR campus was closed, which created for many obstacles for the chapter. “We had deadlines to meet, members to recruit, activities to be held…and since the campus wasn’t open, we couldn’t

Frances Rivera and Jose Camacho

meet with faculty and administrators, we didn’t have a common ground for everyone to meet, we couldn’t recruit

Jacqueline Gamboa Varela is a NSCS member at the University of Texas at El Paso where she helped take her chapter from Bronze STAR to Gold STAR Status in one year. She is most proud of her chapter’s PACE Program, which was nationally recognized by the NSCS national office. NSCS has helped Jackie become more sociable and adventurous eventually leading her to become a member of the National Leadership Council. She hopes by seeing the passion in other people, she can help inspire them to do more as she sees that as the purpose in helping all those around her. The National Society of Collegiate Scholars

new people, we couldn’t hold officer elections, etc.” The UPR chapter members and officer board refused to give up, in spite of these challenges. Rather than temporarily taking a break from NSCS, the officer board and the NSCS national office staff “worked as a team, using a lot of e-mail communication with the members to keep them updated on our efforts and upcoming events…we made sure to maintain a neutral point of view towards the situation because our membership is so large and we have so many different people within our chapter,” said Frances. “It was very important to us that the members felt comfortable within the chapter, but that they also got the full experience of what NSCS is like at the University of Puerto Rico.” continued on page 6...

Nominate Yourself for the Scholar Spotlight! The Scholar Spotlight is your chance to embrace the spotlight and tell us about your NSCS experience. What’s your favorite NSCS memory? What skills have you learned? Share your story with us by submitting a short video nominating yourself to be the next Scholar Spotlight. The NSCS Scholar Spotlight will highlight one outstanding NSCS member’s video on our website every week—our next Scholar Spotlight could be you!

RUSH! Week 2012 Vol. 2 Page 5

Engage On PACE: Concerning the Preparations of a Successful PACE Program By Scott Perske

NSCS measures a chapter’s strength based on its engagement, both on campus and in the community, through the STAR Status system. The highest recognition of success bestowed on a chapter is the Platinum STAR Status Award, to which only chapters that have attained Gold Status in two consecutive years may apply. This year, nine chapters were given Platinum Status: the University of Alabama, Virginia Tech, Winona State University, the University of Houston, Wayne State University, Michigan State University, Stony Brook University, and the University of California, San Diego (in no particular order).

Never Give Up, continued from page 5.

The University of Puerto Rico’s communication with the national office is a perfect example of the value of having Member Engagement Managers. Richard Failla, UPR’s Member Engagement Manager, helped the officer board with deadlines as well as sending out information to members. According to Jose Camacho, current President of the chapter, they utilized Facebook, chapter emails, and emails from the national office to ensure effective communication with their members. Even with last year’s large obstacles to overcome, both Frances

For most chapters, the creation and management of a PACE program is the most challenging part of the NSCS experience – particularly for the recently-founded and small-school chapters. However it’s important for all our members to realize that PACE programs already exist outside of your chapter. In an effort to offer some guidance, I have contacted each of the Platinum chapters to figure out how their PACE programs began, how they’re managed, and how they can be examples for other chapters to follow. The first piece of advice that many PACE officers have expressed is to gain a better understanding of your member base. Everyone, members and non-members alike, participates in the community to some degree. So while it makes

sense that the officers should be in charge of the planning, it’s entirely clear that member feedback and interaction in the planning process is key to the foundations of a PACE program. Jessica Davey, President of the Winona State chapter, suggests officers should “ask their members what they are already doing out in the community and see if [your chapter] can make those opportunities available to other members as well.” There are certainly many ways to figure this out, but Nikita Chadha, Chapter President at Virginia Tech, explains that what was most effective for the VTU chapter was “getting more people out to meetings or events” because “spreading the word there will be easier.”

and Jose said that the chapter is in a better state now than it was before. “In spite of all the obstacles we had to overcome, our chapter is better, bigger, and stronger than ever. We went up a STAR Status during the year (from Bronze to Silver), and we won the Civic Spirit Award at last year’s NSCS Leadership Summit and Convention. Our New Member Induction Ceremony as well as all our other activities had a large number of participants, and were able to accomplish all of our goals,” said Frances. Jose’s advice for other chapters facing obstacles is, “Never lose hope and temper. Always have

patience and tolerance with your board and with your membership… and of course, always ask for your Manager’s advice in tough spots; it helps tremendously because they are trained for that, and they are always willing to help.” Frances’s advice is, “Don’t give up. Even when there seems to be no way out; even when it seems impossible. Get creative and find alternatives. Always, always, always have a plan B. But never give up or cancel anything unless it’s a matter of life and death. It can be done. And the feeling of accomplishment you get afterwards is amazing. You know you have made a difference.”

The National Society of Collegiate Scholars

continued on page 8...

RUSH! Week 2012 Vol. 2 Page 6

Search. Execute. Excel By Kenneth Rosario-Gonzales

When first developing a PACE (Planning to Achieve Collegiate Excellence) program, it can be difficult to pilot it. I had the opportunity to interview Megan Erickson, Vice President of PACE program at Winona State University. This chapter earned the Gold Star Status and Platinum Status Award for 20102011. WSU’s PACE program has developed into a more efficient and growing program with principles that any NSCS chapter can use for their advantage.

Search: Look for Middle Schools Winona State University’s (WSU) NSCS Chapter started the PACE program by first making a list of local schools or organizations in order to create partnerships. An informational letter was written that explained their identity as an NSCS chapter. As a result, they are partnered with three local schools, the Winona Family YMCA, and an elementary school in Chicago. WSU officers reached out to their peers with education and nursing majors. They had the opportunity to practice teaching while gaining

experience of interacting with children and their level of communication.

Excel: WSU PACE Program Strength

Execute: Maintain Success by Spreading the Branch

This year WSU hosted the eighth annual March to College. WSU had 100 fifth grade students come WSU tries to improve by to the campus from Winona Middle branching out to new schools and School and experience what is it like organizations to create new volunteer opportunities. WSU listens to the to be “A Warrior for a Day”. The fifth graders had a busy feedback that their PACE program day learning about our college and the campus. First, they were divided into teams and given a bag of materials. The students were instructed to create a mascot using only the items in the bag. These activities helped each student feel welcome to the campus as they began a long day as a college student. This March to College also had students participate in science, technology and art lessons, and a college relay activity. Each took place in different buildings around campus, so they were able to see where WSU students take classes. They were also introduced to the Student Union, library, and dormitories. The students met the Dean of the College of Education, the Vice President of Academic Affairs, and the Vice President of Student Life and Development. partners provide. Maintaining success They were all sent home with a gift also requires listening to your wise bag, some information about WSU, leader. WSU’s PACE program receives and a March to College T-Shirt. The support from their chapter advisor, students enjoyed their day at March Dr. Penny Warner. As an advisor, she to College because they learned is able to suggest innovative PACE new concepts through hands-on activities. “We would not have the experiences. Each student’s intellect, PACE Program that we have today creativity, and sportsmanship shone without her,” says Megan Erickson. throughout the event.

The National Society of Collegiate Scholars

RUSH! Week 2012 Vol. 2 Page 7

and to “utilize resources that help make for a great [March to College] What’s more, interaction and day, assembly, mentoring program, brain-storming between members and PACE initiative altogether.” at these meetings usually provides The final piece of advice valuable direction to a PACE program comes from the Wayne State chapter: that accurately reflects the demands incentivize your PACE events. Let’s of your chapter’s members. face it, we all have the goodness in The PACE program does our hearts to want to get involved, but not need to be a solo act. There are we need something to convince us undoubtedly many other groups that our efforts are well-spent. Like around campus who are looking most other chapters, Wayne State has to fulfill the same goal we have for a member points system that tracks PACE. Chapter President Minal its members’ activity throughout Kadam and the others at Stony the year. Yet Andrew Reid, Chapter Brook University suggest partnering President at WSU, explains that “a with other organizations dedicated points-for-participation system with to causes with which your chapter rewards/incentives at the end of agrees. Perhaps the most consistently each school year has dramatically accepting groups that NSCS chapters improved our ability as a chapter to join are their university’s schools serve our community.” There are a of education or of social work. few ways you can do this. You could Oftentimes those programs require create a chapter scholarship around their students to accumulate hours of participation in your PACE program community engagement – try to join – the member with most PACE in. You could then ask the programs points wins. This is perhaps the best with which you’d work to participate option because the award winner in your March to College Day event! could then list this award on their Both Bhavika Chepuri and resume, CV, and any other relevant Andrew Reid of the Wayne State application materials. You could also chapter assert that it’s “important offer a tangible prize – an e-reader or to establish a relationship with the bookstore gift card, for example. But university and community partners,” don’t forget about those you serve, as On PACE, continued from page 6.

well. Find ways to make them want to get involved with you. The goal of PACE is to offer a means to engage in the community by inspiring the children in our areas to continue their education to a higher level. Yet if there’s one lesson we can learn from overseeing a PACE program, it’s that we must continually seek feedback and review of the effectiveness of our initiatives. The best way to do this is to follow other NSCS chapters’ PACE programs with the intention of building off each other’s successes (and failures). Increasing communication between chapters is a vital aspect to both chapter and NSCS growth. In this regard, the feedback offered from the Platinum chapter officers should not merely be accepted and transplanted into your own chapter – it should be continually built upon and amended. To do so, then, this author provides two suggestions: ‘like’ other chapters’ Facebook pages to follow their program events, and check out the ‘PACE Effect’ discussion through the national Facebook fan page. Help your PACE program by reviewing others.

Newsletter Team Section Supervisors Brady Griffith: NLC DVP Crown College

Amy James: NLC President University of Toledo

Scott Perske: NLC EVP University of Hawaii, Manoa

Layout Editor NLC Members and Byron Pitts at Convention 2011

Glenn Madigan Columbia College Chicago

The National Society of Collegiate Scholars

Contributors Jacqueline Gamboa Varela University of Texas at El Paso

Cassi Konopaske

Any suggestions or corrections are appreciated and should be e-mailed to the NLC at Thank you!

Regis University

Nicole Maher Ohio State University

Frances Rivera University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras

Kenneth Rosario-Gonzalez Hillsborough Community College

RUSH! Week 2012 Vol. 2 Page 8

The Study Break: The Newsletter by the NLC, RUSH Week Edition  

The National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) is an honors organization that recognizes and elevates high achievers. NSCS provides care...

The Study Break: The Newsletter by the NLC, RUSH Week Edition  

The National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) is an honors organization that recognizes and elevates high achievers. NSCS provides care...