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Leadership for ONU students, by ONU students

Examples of leadership are plentiful on Ohio Northern’s campus — from Student Senate and Leaders’ Council to Open Doors and Student Planning Committee. Organizations large and small give students a chance to flex their leadership muscle and make positive contributions to campus.

This feature series celebrates the contributions of outstanding individual leaders and organizations.

Leadership Series, part 3: Catherine Taylor

Catherine Taylor can be described in many ways - driven, enthusiastic, accomplished - but perhaps the best word for her is humble. Even though she's a prominent figure on campus, this fifth-year pharmacy major from Powell, Ohio, remains modest about her accomplishments and keeps her leadership priorities in focus.

As the 2008 recipient of the Catherine Freed Leadership and Service Award, Taylor was honored as an outstanding campus leader. The annual award, named for Catherine Freed, wife of President Emeritus Dr. DeBow Freed, recognizes a fourth- or fifth-year woman who has shown extraordinary leadership and service throughout her time at Ohio Northern.

Nominated anonymously, Taylor was surprised to be the recipient of the prestigious award, which she received at a special ceremony on April 24. "I was extremely honored just to be nominated," she remarks. "I am very grateful to the selection committee for choosing me; it means a lot to be chosen."

An impressive résumé of student organizations, honor societies, volunteer work and awards affirms Taylor's status as an involved leader and strong role model.

However, the words about her character, written for her nomination letter, illustrate why Taylor is a great leader: "She is mature beyond her years, dedicated and capable. She is a beautiful young woman with a warm, personable nature."

Taylor's dedication to serve for the good of the whole, and not for personal gain, is the backbone of her leadership philosophy. Simply put, she maintains that leaders must want to do things for the right reasons.

"If you're trying to do something so you can put it on a résumé, or so you can win an award, I think you won't be as successful a leader as the person who really has a personal drive to lead a group or make a change," she explains. She also cites the importance of being excited about a cause and letting that passion motivate the entire group. "Without help and support, you can never make a difference."

As she focuses on her final two years of college, Taylor is confident her leadership skills will transition into a pharmaceutical career. She plans to work in a retail pharmacy setting, leaving time for volunteer work for professional pharmacy organizations and her fraternity, Zeta Tau Alpha.

"I do think my leadership experience will be very helpful, along with the many things I've learned at Ohio Northern, both inside and outside the classroom."