As Florida Polytechnic University starts the fall 2020 semester under new guidelines and safety measures due to COVID-19, a group of 12 students is adapting to the changes and ready to take flight as campus leaders.
The new class of Presidential Ambassadors just finished a two-day orientation under the theme Flight Academy, in which they completed a series of lectures and workshops focused on communication, teamwork, service, and public speaking. At the end of the event, the students “earned their wings” – they are now ready to represent and serve the University for the 2020-21 academic year.
“Despite the challenging circumstance our students face this year, we are continuing to provide a robust leadership development experience for our Presidential Ambassadors,” said Kristen Wharton, staff advisor for the Presidential Ambassador program. “What is unique to this new class of Presidential Ambassadors is that their interviews, spring training, mentor-mentee pairing, and summer activities were all held virtually.”
Florida Poly’s Presidential Ambassadors are appointed each year by University President Randy K. Avent and are selected for their academic standing, leadership skills, citizenship, and service activities. The group participates in bi-weekly meetings with guest speakers, as well as workshops and other extracurricular activities to help them develop their soft skills. They are also trained to host University tours and other virtual opportunities to share their personal student experiences with external audiences.
“I know that this year is going to be different given the circumstances, however, I am still so excited for my first semester as a PA,” said sophomore Ahna Cecil, a computer engineering major from Pensacola, Florida. “I am hoping to gain experience in public speaking by giving tours, and also to grow together as a family with my fellow PAs.”
Other newcomers like sophomore Andre Archer, from Pensacola, Florida, are looking forward to the industry connections that can be developed through the program. The mechanical engineering major said he has already received an important opportunity through one of those connections.
“I believe that being a PA will help me expand my knowledge in my field of mechanical engineering by allowing me to interact with those directly involved in industry,” Archer said. “As a matter of fact, being a PA already helped me secure an internship at one of my top choice companies before we even returned to campus for the fall.”
Serving as a Presidential Ambassador is voluntary and highly selective. Applications are available each January. The Presidential Ambassadors Advisory Committee, which includes representatives from the Office of President, Academic Affairs, and Advancement, reviews the applications, conducts interviews, and makes recommendations to the president, who then makes the final selections.
“This program pushes you to do more and prepares you to succeed in a professional workplace by strengthening our communication skills, teamwork, and professionalism,” said Lillian Frometa, an electrical engineering junior from Miami, Florida, who is a returning Presidential Ambassador.
“Being a PA really focuses on being part of something bigger than yourself.”
Director of Communications