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Introducing a new branch of student leaders: Broad Champions

By Grace Griffin, student writer
Monday, November 20, 2023

The Broad College of Business has created a new legacy for a few students to become ambassadors and shine a light on each of the college’s seven majors. In a program launching this fall, 15 students were chosen to become Broad Champions, representing their peers and their area of study to Broad alumni and donors.

As ambassadors, they share their voices to create more opportunities for students, grow their network and develop their leadership skills. Through this new annual program, the Broad Champions have the privilege to advocate for others and gain once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“As a student leader who has thoroughly enjoyed all four of my years here, I am proud and humbled to have been selected as a hospitality business Broad Champion,” Tyler Dahms, a senior studying hospitality business with a minor in German, said. “I felt that becoming a Broad Champion and showcasing why MSU’s hospitality students in the Broad College should be top-of-mind to alumni, current donors and potential donors was an important calling that I could not miss.”

Growing support, growing a network

Envisioned by Interim Dean Judith Whipple, the college’s development team and the Advisory Board, the Broad Champions program is a nine-month term in which the ambassadors participate at various events, including Advisory Board meetings, the Broad Homecoming tailgate, college-sponsored lectures, individual donor meetings, campus tours and more.

For Dahms, this means having the chance to be a standout voice and represent his major. His goal is to show alumni, donors and stakeholders why they should continue to support Broad’s hospitality program — which is ranked in the nation’s top five.

“Like many of our alumni before them, the future leaders that our school produces are destined to become hospitality champions in their own right, trailblazing and innovating to establish new industry standards and celebrate career successes,” he said.

This is also an experience that will grow the ambassadors’ networks, giving students real-life experiences and direct opportunities to learn from mentors. Already this semester, the selected ambassadors have been able to have one-on-one conversations with CEOs, CFOs and COOs of many large corporations.

“I think the connections I am building now will serve me well in the future, as I pave my way through the finance industry,” Dina Younes, a sophomore studying finance with a minor in real estate, said.

“If I ever feel that I need advice, it is amazing to have these individuals willing to connect and be mentors for fellow Spartans,” she continued. “I am excited to use the insight that is provided to me during this experience and apply to my life moving forward. The alumni have a lot of great advice to provide students as they have been in our seats at one point in their life, too.”

Where passion meets professionalism

For their engagement in the program, each Broad Champion receives a $500 scholarship per semester. Over their term, they are also required to reflect on their experiences by writing a point-of-view article that will be featured in the Broad College’s alumni newsletter.

Helen Dashney, fixed-term faculty of finance, helped select the initial cohort and is serving as a mentor for the champions. Dashney goes above and beyond to guide and care for the success of her students, and she noted some of the criteria for the inaugural class of Broad Champions.

“We were looking for a wide range of students — different minors, a variety of activities on campus (student orgs, on-campus jobs, etc.), various journeys coming into MSU. Other characteristics: outgoing and eager to meet new people, good communicators, sufficient time in their schedules to participate and obviously positive about their MSU/Broad experience.”

And with the end of their first semester approaching, Dashney said she’s excited to see where the champions continue to flourish.

“At the end of this academic year, I know each of the champions will be even more confident than now. And I’m excited that the program gives them the unique opportunity to meet so many MSU and Broad alumni, with the likelihood that some of their connections will continue into their professional careers,” she said.

These students demonstrate strong communication skills and are actively engaged and participate in activities. They have passions and aspirations, and they show professionalism and commitment. Most importantly, they are leaders and represent the Broad College in all different aspects. These champions embrace their responsibilities and are excited to continue making an impact.

Meet your champions

These 15 students are the inaugural Broad Champion cohort for the 2023–24 academic year:

  • Colleen Andrews, supply chain management sophomore
  • Kennedi Bryant, human resource management junior
  • Paris Carter, human resource management sophomore
  • Tyler Dahms, hospitality business senior
  • Nathan Dornala (Anish), supply chain management junior
  • Matt England, finance senior
  • Orienda Franchi, accounting senior
  • Jolene Harawa, finance junior
  • Teri Hunter, marketing sophomore
  • Symone King, human resource management senior
  • Laney Mabrito, management junior
  • Amanda Nguyen, accounting senior
  • Caden Opsommer, supply chain management junior
  • Maddie Rizzo, human resource management senior
  • Dina Younes, finance sophomore

A new cohort of Broad Champions will be selected each year, and current (non-graduating) champions are encouraged to reapply. For any business student wanting to build relationships, grow as a professional and connect with alumni, your opportunity awaits for the 2024–25 year! Be sure to express why you can bring a unique set of assets to the program. Focus on your experiences at Broad and how they have helped you grow, and name any and all roles or demonstrations of how you have been a leader.

Students interested in learning more or applying to become a Broad Champion can contact Hanna Leestma, the Broad College’s assistant director of stewardship and donor relations.

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