Who I Am
(Outside of Work)
Rotary Youth Leadership Awards
The Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) is a leadership program for selected high school juniors that is organized through Rotary International and takes place all over the world. I participated in RYLA (District 7490) in May 2014. I have returned to help plan, organize and lead the annual RYLA 7490 program since March 2016.
RYLA teaches skills and lessons of both service and leadership as well as the aggregate, servant leadership. RYLA exemplifies Rotary International's motto, "Service Above Self," and equips participants with the knowledge and language necessary to return to their home, school and community (and the world at large) and make a positive difference. RYLA 7490 plants seeds of high potential in its participants through a programming model designed to take each participant through personal, team, communal and global growth.
As a RYLA 7490 Servant Leader, the learning only continues. RYLA is a mindset, a passion, a community, a lifestyle that I see in everything I do and that serves as a definition of who I am. On Team RYLA 7490, we serve not for ourselves and not only for the immediate participants of any given RYLA year—we serve so that we make a positive difference in at least one person's life and that they person will go on and have a positive influence on someone else and that that person may go on to make a positive difference on someone else who will never know about us nor RYLA. Alone we cannot change the world; we change the world through our reach. For others, through others, in service.
It is truly a privilege, a pleasure and an honor to serve with Team RYLA 7490.
I began my training in the art of Isshin-Ryu karate when I was eight years old in December 2005. Today, I hold the rank of first-degree black belt.
Karate is more than just part of my life: it is an entire definition of who I am. Karate is not simply about the techniques of self-defense, kata and sparring. There has always been a deeper way of thinking—a special kind of fine-tuned mindset—and a fuller connection to the art and to others involved in my journey. I continue to pursue further understanding of the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of karate, and I continually apply them to my everyday life.
Courage, honor, justice, courtesy, truthfulness, benevolence, loyalty, leadership, history, respect, virtue, ambition, drive, precision, family and dedication are all words I would use to describe my journey.
In high school, I always enjoyed playing badminton during gym class. In college, I played on the Syracuse University badminton team.
I enjoyed badminton practices after long days of hard work (often finishing being on air at CitrusTV, eating dinner, changing quickly and heading to practice with my dress socks still on!). I have met some good friends on the team and I play with and against some very interesting people. Once, the team was visited by the Japanese national badminton champion!
Badminton, for me, is not only about playing the sport; it is also about socializing with other people and making friends outside of the journalistic bubble. Each person I have met while playing badminton is so diverse and has such an interesting story. I constantly look forward to playing badminton, having fun and learning about the sport and life from each of my teammates.
After wanting to start an ultimate frisbee club in high school and then choosing to focus on badminton in college, I finally got my chance to play ultimate frisbee with the Utica Frisbee Club in Utica, NY and the Ilion Frisbee Club in Ilion, NY in 2020.
You could say ultimate frisbee is the "ultimate" experience.
For one, playing the game is a lot of fun. It's a chance to get outside (no matter the Central New York weather!), meet cool people and, simply, run around and play a game.
And also, ultimate frisbee is an exercise in skill development, willingness and ability to receive and employ advice, teamwork, communication, decision making and spirit.
Current [unofficial] stats:
Touchdowns caught: 26 (Game Winning: 3)
Touchdowns thrown: 6 (GW: 1)
Defensive turnovers: 23