Major: Biological Sciences, Pre-medicine
Leadership positions, jobs, and organizations involved in:
Founder and Owner: Athenian Openers
Lee Electrophysiology Lab: Research Apprentice
Biological Advising and Resource Room: Biology Info Guide
Student Alumni Board: Member
Biggest accomplishment as a student leader:
One of my biggest and most recent accomplishments as a student at Ohio University was starting my own business. I had an idea for a product, and put together a couple of prototypes over winter break. I showed them to a few family members and friends to gauge interest and to ask what people would pay for it. With that information, along with some cost analysis, I put together a business plan, and assessed it for sustainability. Seeing the potential for success, I showed the product to a friend, and after he showed interest I asked if he would like to help me build a business. He has been an incredible asset in helping me to further develop the product and establish relationships with manufacturers across the world. Together, we have been networking with alumni and other potential business partners to build a wide customer base. We originally started by selling on Etsy and now also sell via our own website, athenianopeners.com. In order to drive the business forward, we have also been marketing our brand by launching a social media campaign via Twitter (@AthenianOpeners). Our product has become popular as birthday, graduation, wedding, and anniversary gifts, and as gifts for corporate events. The pace of sales continues to rise with each passing week, and I am ecstatic to see how far we can take this endeavor.
As biology majors on the pre-medical track, my friend and I were charting completely new territory for ourselves in starting a business. We had limited experience, and therefore reached out to a lot of our friends in the PR, marketing, and communications fields for advice and input. Our friends in those majors have been incredibly supportive throughout this entire process, and I can’t express how grateful I am to have had them on my side during the unfolding of this project. We have also had an immense support system through the Student Alumni Board, in addition to support from career-development oriented resources on campus. While the success of the business has been an incredibly unexpected and fun ride, we could never have guessed the amazing lessons we would learn along the way. We have learned so much not only about fields we’ve never had the chance to take a class in, but we have learned a tremendous amount about people and building and maintaining relationships along the way.
Best OHIO memory:
One of my best OHIO memories was my first Mom’s Weekend freshman year. My mom is an amazing woman, and I always have fun when she’s around. Taking her uptown and showing her how Bobcats have fun was a blast, and one of many good memories I’ve made while on this campus.
I am a big hand talker, and get mocked all of the time for it. But hey, I am a tactile learner and have always found it easiest to express myself with the aid of my hands, so I do what I’ve got to do.
Your role model and why:
Neil Young is one of the people that I admire the most. He is an incredible lyricist, with a career spanning over half of a century and across multiple genres to attest to the breadth his influence. Neil sets his own agenda and pursues it through his music, speaking out against what he thinks is wrong, and speaking up about what he thinks is right. He is uninfluenced by commercial pressures to market his music, but rather writes and sings from his heart. He comes across to me as genuine and believable, a quality that I find remarkably admirable.
What makes a leader:
Creativity and critical thinking skills are essential assets to a great leader. Creativity is crucial for effectively driving the forward progress and evolution of your group. Creative thinkers can flood a group with novel ideas and potential new avenues for problem solving and development. Critical analysis and reflection can then help manipulate and polish those ideas into a sustainable plan or course of action. The last piece of the puzzle is to actively execute that plan to bring it to fruition. Orchestrating those three steps is essential in order to encourage the progress and development of your organization.
If you have an original idea, do not be afraid to take a risk and pursue it! Ideas are malleable, so spend some time developing and shaping it into something real and sustainable. It’s like working on an art project, or solving a Rubik’s cube. It is an active, engaging process. As Robert F. Kennedy said, “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”
“My music isn’t anything but me. It has jazz in it, and rock ‘n’ roll, and it has an urgency to it.”
I have found satisfaction in trying to implement this attitude in every aspect of my life.