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‘It’s about networking, and improving your leadership skills’

Being an involved student leads to scholarship for Jessica Palfi

Friday Jul 18, 2014


Indiana University Northwest student Jessica Palfi will soon travel to Bloomington to be recognized by the IU Alumni Association (IUAA). The $2,000 scholarship she has been awarded is a gesture that she appreciates deeply, especially as she enters her final year at IU Northwest.

Palfi, 23, of Crown Point, is looking toward a May 2015 graduation with a degree in business administration. The scholarship is thanks to the generosity of Charles and Jo Ann Linsmith, who established a scholarship in 2001 to recognize the dedication of staff and students affiliated with the IUAA. Eligible to apply are children and grandchildren of IUAA employees, IUAA student employees or interns, or student leaders of an IUAA-sponsored student organization or group.

As a student who clearly lives the motto, “get a student life,” Palfi is arguably one of the most involved students on campus. Largely because of her contributions to the IUAA over the past five years, Palfi received the scholarship on recommendations from the advisors of her favorite student groups: The Student Alumni Association (SAA), the Student Government (SGA), the Student Ambassadors, the National Society for Leadership and Success (NSLS) and the Student Activities Board.

“Jessica sees the value of nurturing a family of involved alumni,” said Alumni Relations Director Paulette LaFata-Johnson, who endorsed Palfi for the scholarship. “She deserves to be rewarded for the example she sets as a student leader.”

Palfi spent three years as the president of the SAA, and has also served as the treasurer for the NSLS, a senator for the SGA and a co-chair of the Students Activities Board.

Palfi says the name “Student Alumni Association” sometimes draws puzzled looks.

“It seems like an oxymoron, really,” she explains. “But what the title really means is building a bridge between current students and alumni, and ensuring that students are connected alumni before they leave the University. The SAA works hard to engage students and show them the value of establishing lifelong connections with their University and fellow alumni for life.”

Palfi admits that she originally joined student organizations as a way to meet friends. She quickly learned that her involvement was giving her valuable life and career skills as well.

“Not only is getting involved a great way to boost your networking and your people skills, but it’s building that home away from home,” she said. “And you have to find something that you enjoy. Don’t just get involved so that you can throw it on a resume. Get involved in something that really interests you. Once you find that, you are set. You are going to want to stay with it.”

Originally a nursing major, Palfi quickly learned through her involvement that her outgoing personality and knack for planning and organization made her better suited for a career in business.

Palfi loves dabbling in photography and is frequently seen around campus with her camera as she works to build her portfolio. She hopes to use her business education to one day open her own photography studio.

When she is not giving tours on campus, organizing club meetings, or studying, Palfi works at an Arby’s restaurant as well as in internship at The Fieldhouse Athletic Complex in Merrillville. There, she works on marketing and business as well as coaching a basketball team for young girls.

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