Dan Stypa 2004 Cohort
What area of study did you earn your degree in?
Interpersonal Communications with a focus in Organizational Communications
What things did you learn through your involvement with the PLA?
By being involved with the PLA, I learned that in order to be a successful leader, you need to be skilled in building collations and teams that support a common goal and purpose. A person in a leadership position can easily dictate what needs to be done, but a true transformational leader is one who can unite a team and bring along the whole group towards achieving goals.
What organizations and activities were you involved with during your four years at BGSU?
I was involved with the Campus Tour Guides, Dance Marathon, Student Alumni Connection, Resident Advisor, Conference Programs, Student Money Management Team, UNIV 100 Peer Instructor, and worked as Dr. Sidney Ribeau's student assistant for 3.5 years.
Did you serve in any leadership roles?
I was a member of various steering committees for Dance Marathon, served as the Vice President of the Student Alumni Connection, and was the Team Leader for Conference Programs.
What is your favorite PLA memory?
My favorite PLA memory is the fall retreat we had each year at the off-site facility. It was great to bring all the cohorts together for a variety of seminars, team building activities, and opportunities to further develop our leadership skills.
Are there any PLA or BGSU faculty or staff members that inspired/mentored you?
Dr.Sidney Ribeau (former BGSU President); Andrew Rivers, Ana Brown, Barbara Jameson, Deanna Vatan Woodhouse (PLA staff members when I was in the program); Jill Carr (current BGSU VP of Student Affairs); Tracy Barton (Communications instructor); and Kerby Nelson (Conference Director) all were huge inspirations and are still mentors to this day.
Where are you now? (Living, where do you work, family, etc.)
After graduating BGSU, I went to grad school at the University of Tennessee and earned a master's degree in College Student Personnel. I work in the Office of Alumni Affairs at Rice University in Houston, TX as the Assistant Director for Lifelong Learning and Educational Engagement. I'm the chair of the BGSU Houston-area alumni chapter and volunteer with an animal shelter in Houston. In addition, I was nominated as one of the "Top 30 Under 30" young professionals in Houston. I have 2 dogs - a black lab and terrier mix - and spend free time traveling and learning about new places and cultures.
How have you used the lessons of PLA in your life beyond BG?
I have been able to apply the lessons of PLA in my daily life both at work and at home. All of the decisions that I make are grounded in the ideas of servant leadership. I recognize that in my work, I am ultimately responsible for creating a sense of engagement and connectedness among Rice alumni with their alma mater so I invest time and energy into building relationships and learning about their needs. Once I have built rapport and trust with the constituents I serve, I am able to bring them along the journey with me and achieve significant levels of support and buy-in.