Mariella DiStefano is a junior majoring in Biology with a minor
in Biochemistry on the Pre-PA track. She will be serving as
Chair of the Board for the Spring 2019 and Fall 2020 semesters.
There are a few different things I’m involved with on campus. Currently, I am involved different ministries and clubs like Wednesday Night Worship, Chapel Worship team, International Justice Mission, and Sigma Zeta science honors society. In the past, I’ve been a part of the Student Activities Board, Student Chaplain program, the Leadership Fellows Program small groups, and Earthkeepers.
I’ve been really blessed to have served as a leader in lots of the clubs and ministries I mentioned previously. I was a Chapel Worship team leader, a team leader for Wednesday Night Worship, and a Student Chaplain in a residence hall. Now, I am a member of the Leadership Fellows Program board (as well as being Chair), I’m co-President of Wednesday Night Worship, and I TA for a biology lab! LFP has not only given me direct opportunities to step into leadership, such as being a small group leader, member of the board, and the current Chair, but has also equipped with me for other types of leadership, both on and off campus. Through the freshmen year small group, the classes built into the program, and the relationships formed in my cohort (and in the cohorts above and below my own!) and with Dr. Stutzman, I’ve grown as a leader in the areas of service, patience, delegation, communication, and innovation.
I am really passionate about a lot of things, but mostly about people. I love seeing people realize their potential. I love watching a person choose to take a step that is outside of their comfort zone, but will allow them to grow in a new way. I love listening to people and making them feel heard and understood. I love community. I also love learning about people that are different from me, and making those who are forgotten feel recognized and cared for and remembered. One of my biggest passions developed this summer, when I had the privilege of living in South Dakota on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation for three months. This reservation is in the poorest county of the United States, with an unemployment rate of 73%, and increasing. Doing construction work and being around members of the Oglala Lakota community all day and leading worship for youth groups all night allowed some of my biggest passions to culminate into an experience that radically impacted me, and shaped the way I will live for the rest of life. That was a really long explanation, sorry!
As Chair of LFP, I get to lead orientation (the best thing ever!), be involved with the Board, meet with Dr. Stutzman, and help plan events for the current members of LFP. Really, I just get to hang out with people in LFP all the time and do things to serve them and our EU community as a whole, so I’m a happy camper!
I’ve been thinking about all the different things that could happen this year. Being Chair is a great position, but it is also hard, because you’re given the opportunity to make a lasting mark on the LFP, and on Eastern as a whole. After talking with the Board, we’ll definitely continue to host events for LFP members every month to give everyone an opportunity see each other have fun together. Additionally, since I am a student worker in the Undergraduate Admissions Office, I would really like to be involved in reaching out to the future 2023 cohort of LFP, and to help with the recruiting process. There has been discussion of incorporating aspects of service into our program, both on and off campus. Lastly, as someone who has been a small group leader for LFP for the past two years, I would love expand that program, since it so fundamental to the way we come together as a community of servant-leaders.