Two Hamline Class of 2013 graduates, Angela Lesnak and Carly Braun, have been selected to receive the highly selective Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) foundation scholarships. Omicron Delta Kappa is a national leadership honor society which recognizes the achievements of students in five areas: campus/community service; social/religious activities and campus government; journalism, speech, and the mass media; athletics; and performing arts. Regarded as one of the highest collegiate honors, ODK selects members who exemplify superior leadership skills and who help to develop the leadership of others.
“Receiving a national foundation scholarship affirms my passion for leadership development,” Lesnak said. “It is important for leaders to be recognized because many times they are the ones who support and encourage others, regardless of the public recognition that they may get.”
Omicron Delta Kappa has chapters, or circles, on more than 300 college campuses and thousands of members around the country. This year, Hamline has the distinction of being the only university to have two students selected for the scholarship.
“It puts our institution on the map as a stellar circle for this national organization,” Dean of Students Alan Sickbert said. “Comments from the national selection committee praised both students for their ability to write and detail their college experiences in clear and expressive fashion. Their applications showed how well the faculty and staff, who wrote recommendations, knew these students and were able to support them with well written personal statements.”
Lesnak majored in legal studies and English and also earned her paralegal certificate at Hamline. She will use the scholarship to pursue a master's degree in global governance, politics, and security at the School of International Service at American University in Washington, DC. As an undergraduate, Lesnak was the vice president of Hamline’s ODK circle, a new student mentor, a member of the 2012 - 2013 Model United Nations team, and a member of the women’s swim team. Lesnak also completed honors research within the legal studies department and interned with Gender Justice, a nonprofit organization in St. Paul.
Braun majored in both biology and exercise and sports science. She will be attending the Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program at the Mayo School of Health Sciences in Rochester, MN starting in August. During her time at Hamline, Braun was part of the track and field team where she competed as a pole vaulter and a sprinter. She also served as team captain for two years. In addition, she was a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and Student Alumni Board (SAB). Within the ODK circle, Braun served as president.
“Being a part of ODK, especially as the president, really strengthened my leadership skills and allowed me to connect with other leaders on Hamline's campus,” Braun said. “Because ODK recognizes leaders from many different areas of college life, I was able to connect with leaders that I most likely never would have met had it not been for ODK.”
Braun believes having two winners represents the growth that Hamline's ODK circle has undergone in the past year and she believes that growth will continue long into the future.