ESU Announces University Leadership and Service Award Winners
Graduating seniors Abigail Soto and Megan Harding have spent their years at East Stroudsburg University with a desire to lead and serve others.
Soto, a history and political science major from Mount Pocono, Pa., was awarded the University Leadership Award for the 2018-19 academic year. Megan Harding, a communication and sciences disorder major from West Pittston, Pa., was awarded the University Service Award.
The University Leadership and Service Awards are the highest non-academic honor a graduating senior can receive for their work as a leader in extra-curricular activities on campus or in participation in activities and services off campus. To be eligible, applicants must have held office or demonstrated participation in a minimum of three clubs, activities, and committees, have a grade point average of 2.6, and be in good standing.
Both award recipients were immersed in student life during their time on campus.
Soto served as the student trustee on ESU’s Council of Trustees, was an admissions tour guide, secretary of Student Senate, head resident advisor, a member of the Moses Society, a member of the National Residence Hall Honorary, a facilitator at the Schisler Museum and McMunn Planetarium, alumni chair of Tri Sigma Sorority, the student trustee for WESS administrative council and the University Wide Senate, and treasurer of the Laurel Hall community board. She was also a member of the university honors program, campus activity board, the residence hall association, CAB concert committee, the diversity committee, staff selection committee, and order of the Omega. Soto has attended Advocacy Day to advocate in Harrisburg for ESU and her fellow students, spoke at the annual Walk of the Warrior, was the student speaker during the 2018 Remembrance Day ceremony, introduced Senator Bob Casey during his visit to campus, and was the co-host of the 2019 Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Breakfast.
“I learned that my time had more value when it was being used to help others,” Soto said. “Because of the leadership opportunities ESU has offered me, I have grown into someone I am proud to be.”
Harding served as president of the sign language club, president of Phi Eta Sigma, treasurer of Autism Speaks U, captain of the Warriors cheerleading squad, and a mentee in the university mentor program. She was also a member of Sigma Phi Omega, dean’s student leader council, the National Honor Society of Leadership and Service, National Student Speech, Language, and Hearing Association, the sign language club, and College of Health Sciences living learning community. Harding uses her cheerleader mindset – keep smiling even if you’re losing – to push forward and serve her clubs and organizations. She wrote the Phi Eta Sigma constitution to have the honor society recognized as an official club, helped to develop on campus programs for the deaf community including the deaf friendly feel-the-beat dance, and an American Sign Language cooking class, and encouraged members of Autism Speaks U to engage with children during events such as scavenger hunts.
“In all of the positions I’ve held at ESU, I was unafraid to speak up for what I believe is right and advocate for the members of the organization and the causes we supported,” Harding said. “I strive to do what is right, not what is easy.”
ESU awarded 1,187 degrees at separate commencement exercises for undergraduate and graduate students on May 10 and 11.