Ohio University

Presidential Leadership Society

Presidential Leadership Society group portrait

About the Presidential Leaders

When he became Ohio University’s 21st president, President Nellis quickly recognized that Ohio University’s excellence is most apparent through its students and thus, the Presidential Leadership Society was formed. This group of student ambassadors serve as official representatives of Ohio University and the Office of the President at various presidential events throughout the academic year.

The Presidential Leaders are an elite society of student volunteers who give their time and talents to advance the priorities and initiatives of President Nellis. These premiere students are loyal Bobcats and role models who represent the very best Ohio University has to offer. Students apply to serve for one-year terms and must re-apply at the end of each term for consideration.

What Does A Presidential Leader Do?

L EARN more about the mission, vision, history and interworking of Ohio University
E NGAGE with faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors and friends of OHIO
A SSIST the Office of the President in furthering President Nellis’ strategic initiatives
D ETAIL the student experience to various constituents and polish public speaking skills
E LEVATE the reputation of OHIO by showcasing the tremendous talent of its students
R EPRESENT Ohio University and President Nellis at special events on and off campus

Current Members

Graduate Student Presidential Leaders

(* Denotes 2nd Year in Program)

Kendra Lutes

Portrait of Kendra Lutes
  • Hometown:  Perry, OH
  • Major/Minor:  M.Ed. in College Student Personnel
  • College:  Patton College of Education
  • Graduating Year:  2019

"My role as the advisor for the Pepsi Scholars program drives the intellectual and personal development of my students. In our program, we focus on leadership growth, teamwork, community service, and leaving a legacy at OHIO. These students are challenged to think critically about using their strengths to advance the community around them while growing on a personal level. It's experiences like these that make my experience at Ohio University special."

Stephen McNulty*

Portrait of Stephen McNulty
  • Hometown:  North Canton, OH
  • Major/Minor:  Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
  • College:  Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Graduating Year:  2019

"As a medical student, we engage with people daily. Currently, I am working on developing my medical leadership in Spanish and have been granted a full scholarship to the Canopy Medical Spanish Language Program. My hope in the future is to build and operate a clinic in Indonesia to meet the needs of an underserved population."


Austin Mullen

Portrait of Austin Mullen
  • Hometown:  Louisville, KY
  • Major/Minor:  MBA/M.S. in Sports Administration
  • College:  College of Business
  • Graduating Year:  2019

"The Bobcat Family and investment from alumni, faculty, and staff, current and former students, has defined my first year at OU. The Ohio University family is one that transcends time and is rooted in the similar student experiences that have remained for decades. Since my arrival in Athens, I have learned what it means to give back to something that has given you so much. Through philanthropic giving, coming back to campus to speak with students, and a willingness to talk over the phone, I now have a
model of how I want to serve as an alumnus in the future."


Susan Ngbabare

Portrait of  Susan Ngbabare
  • Hometown:  South Sudan
  • Major/Minor:  Ed.D. in Higher Education and Student Affairs
  • College:  Patton College of Education
  • Graduating Year:  2021

"Being born and raised in Africa, a large and diverse continent, I have always been amazed by how coming to Athens has been very eye-opening and rewarding. If I could describe my experience here at Ohio University in one word, I would say, "change." Meeting students from different countries in Africa and around the world has changed not only my views about the world, but also about the continent I thought I knew very well. This has not only been possible through the rigorous academic coursework, but also
through a series of events within the campus environment."

Cassandra Thompson

Portrait of Cassandra Thompson
  • Hometown:  Lima, OH
  • Major/Minor:  Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • College:  College of Arts & Sciences
  • Graduating Year:  2021


"While I've always had a passion for nature and animal conservation, I was uncertain how I could translate this into a "real-world" career. My passion grew exponentially as I was able to gain research experience in the ecological field, build strong relationships with my faculty members, and extend my own passions to others by teaching learning communities to undergraduates."


Gurneet Raina

Portrait of Gurneet Raina
  • Hometown:  Westlake, OH
  • Major/Minor:  Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
  • College:  Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Graduating Year:  2020


"Before entering OU-HCOM, I spent a few years working in both rural and urban high schools across NE Ohio through AmeriCorps. Through this opportunity, I utilized community building skills to help students create civic engagement projects addressing community needs. Seeing my students succeed and growing their confidence, I was beyond proud of their work. It made me realize that being a leader is more than just leading, it is teaching and supporting the growth of individuals involved so they
may lead too."


Undergraduate Presidential Leaders

(* Denotes 2nd Year in Program)

Amal Afyouni*

Portrait of Amal Afyouni
  • Hometown: Dubai, UAE
  • Major/Minor: Political Science; Sociology-Criminology
  • College: College of Arts & Sciences
  • Graduating Year: 2019


"Being a part of many professional organizations at Ohio University, such as Student Senate and Global Ambassadors, has allowed me to build connections with members of the administration, faculty, and students. These connections and relationships have assisted me in excelling, both in my academics and in my personal life." 


Max Annable*

Portrait of Max Annable
  • Hometown:  Oberlin, OH
  • Major/Minor:  Spanish; Political Science & Global Studies
  • College:  College of Arts & Sciences
  • Graduating Year:  2019


"I have been very lucky to study abroad during my time at Ohio University, and these experiences in Mexico, Peru, Spain, and Brazil gave me the confidence, language skills, and eagerness to learn and explore more."

Amira Battle

Portrait of Amira Battle
  • Hometown:  Cincinnati, OH
  • Major/Minor:  Marketing, Business Analytics & Sales
  • College:  College of Business
  • Graduating Year:  2019


"Holding executive board positions in student organizations, such as Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and Women to Women Empowering through Mentorship, has given me the opportunity to enhance my skills and obtain valuable knowledge on how to be a better leader. My passion for helping others has enabled me to give back to the community in a multitude of ways, such as volunteering, executing programs, and encouraging individuals from diverse backgrounds to converge."

Matt Benson*

Portrait of Matt Benson
  • Hometown:  Chillicothe, OH
  • Major/Minor:  Entrepreneurship and Finance
  • College:  College of Business
  • Graduating Year:  2019


"As a freshman at OU, I was privileged to meet some extremely intelligent and ambitious young entrepreneurs. In partnership with some of these individuals, I was able to create and run a software company that allowed me to grow more than I have ever experienced."

Brie Boothby

Portrait of Brie Boothby
  • Hometown:  Fredericksburg, VA
  • Major/Minor:  Journalism - News & Media
  • College:  Scripps College of Communication
  • Graduating Year:  2019


"Ever since I stepped foot on the Athens bricks, I have been offered every opportunity to grow and engage here at Ohio University. As a LINKS member, OHIO Tour Guide, Margaret Boyd Scholar, and YoungLife Leader, I have learned to be a committed, passionate and open-minded friend, student and leader. Most importantly, I have learned to face adversity with passion and courage."


Aissatou Boye

Aissatou Boye
  • Hometown:  Baltimore, MD
  • Major/Minor:  Sociology, Criminology, and African Studies
  • College:  College of Arts & Sciences
  • Graduating Year:  2020


"Being a member of Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity, studying abroad in Northern Ireland and Jamaica, and being a tour guide are just some of the opportunities provided to me through this university, that not only aided my professional and social experiences, but also impacted how I envision myself in the future."


Natalie Butko

Portrait of Natalie Butko
  • Hometown:  Pittsburgh, PA
  • Major/Minor:  Strategic Communication
  • College:  Scripps College of Communication
  • Graduating Year:  2019


"The diverse student organizations at Ohio University have been an instrumental part of my undergrad and are preparing me for my professional career. Organizations such as Scripps PRSSA, Student Alumni Board, and Scripps Hispanic Network have helped in my professional development, given me countless networking opportunities across the country, and rewarded me with lifelong friends and mentors."


Alvin Chaney*

Portrait of Alvin Chaney
  • Hometown:  Cincinnati, OH
  • Major/Minor:  Industrial and Systems Engineering
  • College:  Russ College of Engineering
  • Graduating Year:  2020


"Through giving back to my community and broadening my world view, I have been able to help those in need at Ohio University, as well as the City of Athens, while volunteering at the United Campus Ministry. It has given me the opportunity to create for good."


Matt Colpo

Portrait of Matt Colpo
  • Hometown:  Kent, OH
  • Major/Minor:  Biological Sciences, Pre-Med
  • College:  Honors Tutorial College
  • Graduating Year:  2019


"As an Ohio University student, I have benefitted from unique opportunities, such as research through the Honors Tutorial College and volunteer service at O'Bleness Hospital, to prepare me for a future in primary care medicine."


Dylan Denner*

Portrait of Dylan Denner
  • Hometown:  Brooklyn Heights, OH
  • Major/Minor:  Computer Engineering; Applied Mathematics
  • College:  Russ College of Engineering
  • Graduating Year:  2019


"As the national director of NASA's 217 member intern organization, I am able to provide professional development, leadership training, as well as challenge myself to lead a diverse and passionate group of individuals."


Summer Finley

Portrait of Summer Finley
  • Hometown:  Kennesaw, GA
  • Major/Minor:  Acting Performance
  • College:  College of Fine Arts
  • Graduating Year:  2019


"Being a Pepsi Scholar, I was able to cultivate and design my personal style of leadership skills. This guided my passion to speak on the importance of equality and servitude as a student in the School of Theater and in my role as the president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority."


Megan Foley

Portrait of Megan Foley
  • Hometown:  Dayton, OH
  • Major/Minor:  Restaurant, Hotel & Tourism
  • College:  Patton College of Education
  • Graduating Year:  2019


"The professors and peers I have met through my coursework inspires me to create a space for students to feel involved and included. Working for Event Services allows me to witness events, from start to finish, that promote unity and inspire me to continue the incredible sense of community found at Ohio University."


Justin Kelley

Portrait of Justin Kelley
  • Hometown:  Liberty Township, OH
  • Major/Minor:  Finance
  • College:  College of Business
  • Graduating Year:  2021


"My Freshman Year at Ohio University has allowed me to expand my horizons beyond expectation through experiences abroad, involvement in campus activities, intimate conversations with faculty and peers, as well as attendance at sporting events. These encounters allowed me to gain a better understanding of the world around me, while discovering my own unique path toward the future." 


Haley Kennedy*

Portrait of Haley Kennedy
  • Hometown:  Middleport, OH
  • Major/Minor:  Psychology
  • College:  College of Arts & Sciences
  • Graduating Year:  2019


"As a Voinovich Scholar, I worked on a project evaluating scholarship support for engineering students who come from Appalachia. This project helped me realize how passionate I am about helping those who struggle, and try to improve the experience for other Appalachian students."


Zachary Kennedy*

Portrait of Zachary Kennedy
  • Hometown:  Pittsburgh, PA
  • Major/Minor:  Economics
  • College:  College of Arts & Sciences
  • Graduating Year:  2019


"Being involved in student organizations has had such a substantial impact in defining my character, as well as given me a platform to perform public service in a very meaningful way."


Gabriella Lopez*

Gabriella Lopez
  • Hometown:  Marysville, OH
  • Major/Minor:  Biology; Psychology
  • College:  College of Arts & Sciences
  • Graduating Year:  2019


"Studying abroad in Thailand allowed me to experience a new culture, and to be able to share my passion with others. I was able to learn in a new environment, expand my knowledge, and step out of my comfort zone. I wouldn't have had this opportunity without Ohio University."


Sahuaro Marzolf*

Portrait of Sahuaro Marzolf
  • Hometown:  Carbondale, IL
  • Major/Minor:  International Business; Global Economics
  • College:  College of Business
  • Graduating Year:  2019


"My peers, my co-workers, and my faculty have always been there to support me in every way imaginable, and have motivated me to continue to better myself, and to give back to my school and my community."


Chais Michael*

Portrait of Chais Michael
  • Hometown:  Syracuse, OH
  • Major/Minor:  Child & Family Studies
  • College:  College of Health Sciences and Professions
  • Graduating Year:  2019


"The Division of Student Affairs as a whole has helped shape me into the person I am today, and I am forever grateful. I have become a better person from everything I have experience - my job, my awards, the organizations I am involved in, and even my academic coursework."


Helena Petrik*

Portrait of Helena Petrik
  • Hometown:  Athens, OH
  • Major/Minor:  Finance
  • College:  College of Business
  • Graduating Year:  2019


"During my study abroad experience in Toledo, Spain, I lived with a host family and attended classes at a local university entirely in Spanish. I was surrounded by foreign cultures and embraced every opportunity I had to learn others' way of living. It is truly incredible what you can learn in your day-to-day interactions in the most unlikely of places."


Sarah Negash

Portrait of Sarah Negash
  • Hometown:  Athens, OH
  • Major/Minor:  Integrated Language Arts Education
  • College:  Patton College of Education
  • Graduating Year:  2020


"My involvement in the Margaret Boyd Scholars Program has surrounded me with engaged and connected leaders on campus, provided me with amazing opportunities, and instilled in me the confidence to make the most of my time with the excellent students and faculty of Ohio University."


Ami Scherson

Portrait of Ami Scherson
  • Hometown:  Beachwood, OH
  • Major/Minor:  Music
  • College:  Honors Tutorial College
  • Graduating Year:  2019


"Being a part of the Honors Tutorial College has given me opportunities to explore subjects that aren't usually offered at OHIO. Taking one-on-one tutorials about arts administration, and the impacts of arts in Appalachia, have given me opportunities to intern with incredible arts nonprofits around the country."


Hannah Steele

Portrait of Hannah Steele
  • Hometown:  Columbus, OH
  • Major/Minor:  Geographic Information Systems
  • College:  College of Arts & Sciences
  • Graduating Year:  2019


"Serving in the International Student Union at Ohio University has allowed me to connect with students and faculty from all around the world, while also helping to improve the Athens community. This experience has taught me that communication, learning, and friendship can transcend borders."


Carlie Tianello

Portrait of Carlie Tianello
  • Hometown:  Rocky River, OH
  • Major/Minor:  Political Science
  • College:  College of Arts & Sciences
  • Graduating Year:  2020


"As a Cutler Scholar, I have had many experiences in leadership and professional development, and I look forward to futher engaging with my peers at Ohio University." 

For more information, please contact John T. Rogers, Director of Donor Relations and Presidential Events, and advisor to the Presidential Leadership Society, at (740) 593-2569 or rogersj1@ohio.edu.