Over a century ago, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini urged her teachers to ‘educate the hearts’ of their students. Now, Cabrini not only provides a hands-on social justice based education of the heart to students every day, but also allows them to become leaders and engaged citizens of our world through endless opportunities in communities both on and off campus.
On Wednesday, Feb. 22, 51 members of Cabrini’s undergraduate and graduate community that have demonstrated strong academics and leadership skills at Cabrini were recognized for their achievements by O∆K, a special honors society that stretches to over hundreds of colleges and universities all across the United States.
Since its founding in 1914, the Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honors Society has been developing leaders through scholarships, workshops, career opportunities, leadership resources and lifelong connections to other members. Now, the society continues to induct students such as our very own into their circle for demonstrating leadership achievements in one of five phases of campus life.
“Being a member of Omicron Delta Kappa is something I know that I will be able to take far from here,” junior exercise science and health promotion major and new inductee Sarah Minnikc said. “It’s something that doesn’t just stay at this school like other inductions into societies do.”
In addition to being an undergraduate student that excels academically in her current junior class, Minnick has been demonstrating leadership achievements in campus service, community service and social and religious activities on Cabrini’s campus since her freshman year. However, it was not until this past February that her leadership excelled to a new level.
In conjunction with Project Appalachia and Cabrini’s Wolfington Center, Minnick independently organized and lead her first mission trip to Roncafort, West Virginia for students to help repair homes for low income families this past spring break. After advertising the opportunity around campus, she gathered a group of students together, gave them a packing list and made sure everyone was part taking in food preparation to bring along and share amongst the group during the trip. Minnick also took the extra necessary step of taking a van certification test in order to drive a number of group members down to West Virginia in a Cabrini van.
“The trip was a great experience in itself, but being the head student to organize it showed me that I can accomplish more than I thought was possible,” Minnick said. “Now I know I’m completely capable of leading a team based activity and only want to do more at Cabrini my remainder of my time here.”
In order to obtain this prestigious award, Cabrini undergraduate students must be a current junior or senior student and rank in the 35 percentile of their class. Although, undergraduate students were not the only inductees recognized for leadership and strong academics. Graduate students, alumni of at least five years and faculty were also among the many hard-working, dedicated individuals receiving the O∆K award. This overall strong circle of “diverse cross-section” of the campus community primarily gives students the opportunity to grow and learn from people in different stages of life.
Alumna Jackie Marciano, who graduated from Cabrini in 2010 with a bachelors in business administration and a minor in marketing, was one of a number of graduate students to get inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa at the ceremony.
After picking up a job as Cabrini’s director of alumni engagement and development, Marciano enrolled in Cabrini’s graduate program in 2015 to get her masters in leadership.
“As a Cabrini alumna, graduate student and employee, it’s an honor to now be part of such a historic society,” Marciano said after the induction. “Omicron Delta Kappa gives me the opportunity and motivation get more involved and do more service both on and off Cabrini’s campus even this many years after my graduation.”
After the ceremony concluded, Anne Filippone, Cabrini’s director of student engagement and leadership and the circle coordinator of Cabrini’s chapter in O∆K, reflected on how far Cabrini has come with the honors society since the spring of 2014.
“In our first Omicron Delta Kappa ceremony, we only inducted 17 undergraduate students, faculty and staff,” she said. “Now, with undergraduate and graduate students we more than doubled that number by inducting a total of 51 people.”
While the induction ceremonies for junior and senior undergraduate students took place once every semester from 2014-2015, the increase in the amount of applicants has lead Cabrini to now only induct new members once a year. However, according to Filippone, this also avoids conflicts with other honors society inductions, which allows senior students to have the opportunity to be actively engaged in the organization for the remainder of their time at Cabrini.
“Overall, I really enjoy being a part of these inductions and acknowledging all of the had work and achievements of our students,” Filippone said. “Our students really deserve it for all of the hard work they do and engagement that they have in our campus life.”
Vonya Womack, Cabrini’s O∆K faculty adviser, agrees with Filippone and is equally as proud of all of the students that carry out leadership roles at Cabrini. Womack is also a strong advocate of encouraging students to look at picking up a leadership minor or at least looking into different leadership positions they can have on campus.”
“Being inducted into O∆K is truly an honor because it allows students to have access to a bigger, beneficial network of other people involved in the honors society all across the United States,” Womack said. “The students that are inducted don’t just have leadership of a club or team or organization, but are also moral and ethical leaders that represent multiple phases of campus life.”
“It’s also a very valuable title for students to have when talking to employers,” she said. “On cover letters, in resumes and during interviews, they can discuss how they are a representation of scholarship, service, integrity, character and fellowship as a part of this society.”
More photos from the Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honors Society induction in February of 2017 can be found here.