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Mount Student’s Initiative Helps University Join Beneficial Honor Society

Courtney Twigg, C'17

The National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) is the largest collegiate honor society in the United States, with more than 700,000 members and 500 chapters nationwide. Mount St. Mary’s University officially became one of them in November 2016, thanks to a few dedicated professors, an encouraging president and one ambitious student.

nsls-on-stage-300.jpgOlivia White is a second semester junior majoring in criminal justice, and is largely responsible for making the Mount’s NSLS chapter a reality. “I was actually searching for a job online and as I was going through the internships portion, NSLS came to the top of the list,” says White. “I have always been very passionate about leadership, so I decided to check it out.”

After doing more research about the society and its benefits, White thought an NSLS chapter would be the perfect addition to the Mount. She brought the idea to Dana Sauers, director of the Institute for Leadership, Ethics, Achievement and Development, and Paula Whetsel-Ribeau, Ph.D., associate provost. They encouraged her to present the concept to Mount St. Mary’s Interim President Timothy Trainor, Ph.D.

“The presentation I gave President Trainor explained what the society is and how it will benefit Mount students,” explains White. “I was so nervous. I was also very ill that day but I really wanted to present my vision to him. Having his blessing for this first year really meant a lot to us.”

After Trainor heard White’s pitch, he gave the green light for the university to begin the process of starting a chapter. “Olivia saw the opportunity to create the Mount’s chapter and I’m grateful for her vision and hard work, as well as the support she received from the members of iLEAD, CSES and provost offices,” says Trainor. The chapter will be known as Sigma Alpha Pi, and be led by a 12-member student executive board.

White was correct in her assessment of whether students would be interested in joining NSLS. Nearly 300 sophomores and juniors attended the first orientation session in January.

Students who are nominated for the NSLS are not simply inducted and automatically awarded a certificate and a few honor chords. Instead, all candidates must undergo a series of intensive leadership training steps that are designed to cultivate the necessary mindset and skills that every leader must have to succeed.

A few of these training steps include interactive and introspective sessions that help students discover their strengths, aiding them in setting goals that serve to foster and build upon their individual skill sets.

Additionally, members are also required to attend live-streamed sessions with prominent leaders, celebrities and best-selling authors where students have an opportunity to interact with speakers via Twitter or Facebook during the broadcast. If the students succeed in this training, they will be inducted into the society in the spring.

White believes everyone has leadership potential, adding, “My goal is to really help students grow personally, professionally, and academically [through the society].”

To learn more about the National Society of Leadership and Success, please visit:

Courtney Twigg, C'17