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Mt. Pleasant area students to help lead college's orientation program

| Wednesday, May 21, 2014, 9:01 p.m.
St. Vincent College students Liz Susko of Mt. Pleasant; Ryan Wagner, also of Mt. Pleasant; and Devin Wallace of Acme this fall will join seven other students at the Unity school in heading a committee of more than 160 student volunteers who will plan and implement a five-week program called 'Destination — SVC.' The program is designed to provide a successful transition to college academic, residential and campus life.

Come fall, three St. Vincent College students with local ties will serve as volunteer leaders during an orientation program for roughly 400 freshmen and other new students at the Unity school.

Elizabeth Susko, Ryan Wagner and Devin Wallace were among seven students chosen to lead a committee of more than 160 student volunteers in the planning and implementation of “Destination — SVC.”

The five-week program is designed to provide newcomers a successful transition to college academic, residential and campus life.

Students were selected to lead the program by Jeff Mallory, the college's director of orientation.

Performer to offer views on self-discipline

Susko, 21, of Mt. Pleasant, is a 2011 Mt. Pleasant Areagraduate who will enter her senior year in the fall as a mathematics education major at St. Vincent.

She will serve as the program's student orientation director.

She said her organizational skills, high energy, positive attitude and work ethic will help her successfully fulfill that role.

“I also enjoy being with people and new students,” Susko said.

As one who also served as a member of the college's orientation team in 2013, Susko said, she was excited to be selected to serve again.

She said she feels confident she will be able to impart wisdom on incoming St. Vincent freshmen on structure and self-discipline attained from her past experiences in competitive ice skating and high school cheerleading.

“That will enable me to successfully carry out the responsibilities

associated with this position,” Susko said.

Other volunteer assignments and campus programs Susko has taken part include the activity programming board and student government, along with service as an ambassador for admissions during the summer and partly through the school year.

“I have been a student at St. Vincent for the past three years, and I have enjoyed living on campus and taking part in college activities,” Susko said.

One of her obligations will be to match students with an upperclass student who will serve as a mentor, she said.

“Having positive experiences in the new, unfamiliar college environment provides the new student time to become better adjusted to college life,” Susko said. “The college atmosphere at SVC is warm and welcoming and I want to continue to convey this attitude to all new students and their families.”

In the future, Susko said she wants to become a high school math teacher and to obtain a Master's degree in special education.

Traveler to share his love for learning

Ryan Wagner, 19, also of Mt. Pleasant, who will enter his junior year this fall as a marketing major at the college.

He will serve as an event coordinator for the program.

He said his time management and organization skills are a good fit for the role, as it requires balancing academic requirements with extracurricular responsibilities.

“I simply love St. Vincent: it is without a doubt the best decision I could have made, and I believe my passion and enthusiasm for the college will serve as a good (example) for making the incoming freshmen just as enthusiastic and proud of the college as I am,” Wagner said.

He added that the college's leaders did “an excellent job” in selecting an effective group to lead the program's committee.

“The seven of us work together so well and appreciate each others ideas and contributions. We are a great team and I am proud to represent St. Vincent in such a capacity,” said Wagner, who also serves as secretary of the college's Spanish Club and is an active member of the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society.

He said his previous experiences traveling abroad, including a trip in 2013 to the Vatican, might inspire new students to take advantage of such outlets offered at the college.

“Whether that be traveling with the college on a religious excursion or finding a major that's perfect for them ... I hope to incorporate my love of learning into the program, further emphasizing St. Vincent's commitment to the liberal arts and creating a well-rounded individual,” Wagner said.

In the future, he said he hopes to study abroad and use skills he gains living in a foreign country to secure employment in the marketing field before pursuing a graduate degree.

Former drum major to inspire freshmen field

Devin Wallace, 21, of Acme, who will enter his senior year this fall as a junior finance major at the college.

He will join Wagner as an event coordinator for the program.

He said he believes the greatest personal quality he will bring to the program is his affability and willingness to welcome the Class of 2018.

“I've always been easy to get along with and glad to help,” said Wallace, who also serves as president of the college's Photography Club, secretary of its Outdoors Club, and as an admissions ambassador.

“So when put in a leadership position with a team to accomplish events, I feel that trait has always helped me get everyone motivated and involved to accomplish the task,” Wallace said.

As a team leader, he said he will incorporate his three years of experience as a high school drum major in high school.

“I really feel like we've got a great group for the committee this coming year though so I'm really excited to work with them,” Wallace said.

As one who previously and currently serves as an activities programming board member at the college, he said he always enjoy working with the team to provide events for the campus.

“Doing so has let me see a lot of ideas for events and how to run them,” Wallace said. “If I can incorporate a few along the way that would be great.”

A.J. Panian is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-547-5722 or

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