In celebration of her efforts to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion on campus, Jaelynn Rodney ’24 was awarded the Faculty of Color Association’s Student Leadership Award. Assistant Professor of Accounting Marie Solange Lopes, a member of the association, presented the student with the award at the recent Student of Color Empowerment Dinner hosted by the Office of Intercultural Affairs

“I am so grateful and honored to receive this recognition,” Rodney said. “I am thankful for those who have believed in me and supported me these past four years.”

Throughout her time at Stonehill, Rodney has worked tirelessly to advocate for others through her involvement with campus organizations like the Student Government Association, the RISE Dialogue Group, the Black Student Union, PRIDE Club, the Pan Asian Alliance and the Latinx Club. We recently sat down with the graduating senior to explore the topic of leadership. 

What does receiving this award mean to you?

Receiving this award means so much to me. Coming to Stonehill, I never imagined myself getting so involved. I didn’t expect to dedicate my time and efforts to amazing people and affinity organizations on our campus. Receiving this award is such an honor that I will carry with me forever. 

How do you personally define leadership?

I define leadership as dedication. One must be passionate and dedicated to the role they serve or else everything falls. To be a leader you must relate to those who look up to you. You can't only be the one in charge. You must also be a member of the team. Leadership takes understanding and patience, along with drive and respect. 

Who are the leaders on and off campus who inspire you?

One leader on campus who inspires me is Kristine Din, director of Intercultural Affairs. She is someone I look up to. She is the definition of a strong leader. She knows how to get things done and done right. She knows how to voice her opinions while being respectful and respected. Also, my mom is a leader off campus who inspires me. She is so driven. She has grit and passion. She has always been my role model. 

Tell us about your most impactful leadership opportunity since joining the Stonehill community.

I serve as the Student Government Association Executive Diversity Chair. This position has impacted my life in many ways. I was able to befriend lovely people and support identity groups on campus that I truly care about. This position has allowed me to be a leader and an advocate.