Tyler Varda '19 is president of the UMassD Student Government Association. He represents all undergraduate views on campus, engages students in leadership development workshops, and helps open a world of opportunities to his peers through networking with business professionals.
A passion for advocating
Most of my leadership roles at UMassD have revolved around serving students. I feel that as a leader, it’s my job and responsibility to serve others. Service is much more than doing something for someone else though. Service involves informing, empowering and developing others.
I have been blessed with this position and I consider myself fortunate to have access to many important resources and individuals on this campus. If a student is struggling or succeeding, I want to share the network and the resources I have with them, so their successes are shouted from the mountaintops and their struggles are short-lived. Hopefully, by doing so, I am better informing the student and the university administrators.
Serving as SGA president
As Student Government Association (SGA) president, I have held leadership development workshops within SGA to promote the growth of our members and make them stronger, more effective leaders.
As part of my role, I represent all undergraduate student views on this campus, and that’s no easy task, especially at such a diverse university. I make it a goal to attend as many different events as I can, to understand what students’ passions, interests, and concerns are. This allows me to accurately represent them to university administration.
Being SGA president has also taught me a lot about myself, has revealed my passion for Higher Education Administration and has positively affected my life. I can’t say I would have developed into such a strong leader at another institution because the people here are what made me.
Preparing for business
As a business management major at the Charlton College of Business, I've had a well-rounded educational experience, which has included course-embedded career development, speaker series, speed interviewing sessions, and assistance with developing an impressive resume and cover letter.
I've also benefited from the mentorship I've received from Dean Kathryn Carter and Dr. Anthony Baird, director of Corporate Program Development. My Project Team Management course taught me a great deal about leadership abilities, teamwork, and the importance of getting to know people on campus and in the business world. I also learned a lot about networking and the benefits of sharing my network with my peers.
Gaining real-world experience
During my summer breaks, I decided to pursue internships and apply what I've been learning in the classroom while also gaining practical experience. My favorite internship has been in the Production Planning department of a French building materials company called Saint-Gobain. They are an international company and have locations in Taunton, Northboro and Worcester, MA. My favorite story from them is that they make the wheels that give Frito Lay corn chips their shape!
I was in charge of customer order expedites for one of their two manufacturing facilities, with a sales volume of close to $200 million. As an intern, I not only led a team of 40-50 professionals, but I even trained my full-time replacement.
Though it was stressful trying to meet customer demands, I learned a lot about myself as a leader, my strengths and weaknesses, and made tons of connections with my schoolwork. The concepts I learned in the classroom weren’t just theory, they were real-world business strategies and tools.
Plans after graduation
I plan on entering graduate school to pursue a master’s in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Higher Education Administration. My experience here at UMassD has made me realize how important service to others is and how a college environment is a place where you can positively affect countless lives every day.