As the class of 2017 prepares to cross the stage for Wittenberg's 167th Commencement Exercises, a few seniors take a moment to reflect on their time at Wittenberg. Today's featured senior is marketing major from Delta, Ohio, Leah Markovich.
Q. What are your career aspirations, and how did Wittenberg prepare you?
A. I found my calling to work for a non-profit within the food justice sector while at Wittenberg. I had been active with community service before, but it wasnâ€™t until coming to Witt that I found a true passion for service and advocacy. My freshman year I participated in the CROP Hunger Walk where I became connected with a couple of strong upper-class leaders who really inspired me and helped mold the kind of advocate I want to be. My sophomore year I had the opportunity to volunteer at Second Harvest Food Bank through the community service requirement, and I got to learn more about the cause I was fighting for by becoming directly involved with the people who were facing these injustices. My passion grew, but more importantly, so did my sense of what was truly helpful in this fight against hunger. Now in my senior year, I was the lead student coordinator for the CROP Walk and find myself in the same role as those upper-class students who inspired me when I first came to Witt. I am also interviewing with volunteer corps to work with food banks and other social justice issues, and I feel prepared because of my experiences here. Wittenberg not only helped me find a passion, but also refine, fuel and pursue it.
Q. Who influenced you the most during your time here at Wittenberg and how?
A. There were many upperclassmen who inspired me when I first came to Witt. I still keep in touch with them, and they continue to be a resource for me for career and personal advice. Their strong leadership skills that helped them to bravely stand up for what they knew was right gave me the confidence to do the same.
I have also had wonderful mentors in the faculty and staff. Pastor Rachel Tune has always been an incredibly supportive figure during my time here. She has helped me coordinate many events, programs and retreats that helped me develop concrete planning and organizational skills, which complemented the more important emotional support she showed me. I have also had wonderful professors like Dr. Wendy Gradwohl in the business department, and Dr. Cynthia Richards in the English department. Both of these professors thoroughly challenged me and pushed my intellectual pursuit. Additionally, they both went above and beyond the assigned duties of a professor to care for their students on a very personal level. They took time to get to know their students outside of the classroom and foster a very holistic learning style, which took care of the entire student, not just their particular class studies.
Q. Describe what Wittenberg means to you.
A. When I think of Wittenberg, I think of community. We joke a lot that Wittenberg is a place where you are almost expected to smile at everyone whether you know them or not. The truth is, though, that there is a certain bond among the students here that makes us want to pass on kindness. Maybe it is an extension of our motto, but we take care of one another here. I have had people whom I had never met before stop what they were doing to help me. There is a very special unity that we share that makes students feel genuinely welcome.
Q. What advice would you give to the current and future students of Wittenberg?
A. Find a few things you are really excited about and commit to them. Itâ€™s much more rewarding to succeed in a few things and fully enjoy them than to only participate in a little of each. This doesnâ€™t mean limit yourself to those things only; please, try everything you can! But make and keep some priorities.
Q. Describe your favorite memory you made at Wittenberg.
A. This is so hard to limit to just one, but I suppose the best memories come from bonding during an excessive amount of hours working together on the most dreadful tasks. Whether it was painfully long bus rides with my softball team, all-day tech rehearsals for a dance concert, or late-night cram sessions in Hollenbeck, I am continuously and wonderfully surprised how the friends Iâ€™ve made here can make the most overwhelming and tedious tasks so much fun.