Kean University is an institution that allows its students to develop and to achieve greatness through leadership, communication and professional skills. There are many departments and organizations on campus that are eager to help students and mentor them to be ready for their potential careers.
Ashanti Lyking, a junior studying biology health professions with a concentration in physical therapy, is highly involved at Kean. Through many mediums such as leadership, involvement and facilitating tasks, Ashanti has become a shining example of a student who chooses to be highly active and involved during their time at Kean University.
Sandra Espinal, the coordinator of the Leadership Institute, has seen the development of Lyking as a leadership student and understands that she is an influential asset to the program.
"Ashanti is very energetic and outgoing, which helps her to communicate with other students," said Espinal. "She first started as a volunteer and mentor where she was able to build a connection with the other students. Through her mentor platform she was awarded mentor of the year because she did everything she was supposed to and more."
With that being said, Lyking is a student ambassador with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, a leadership student within the Center for Leadership and Service (CLS), the secretary for Student Government, a member of National Council of Negro Women and captain of the Top Knotch team on campus.
"I decided to study at Kean because my high school guidance counselor referred to a person who went to Kean, who in turn sold me on choosing Kean University. Of course I got a tour from the Office of Admissions, but having someone who prepared me for this environment was something that made me look into if other schools could benefit me as well. He was actually the person that told me about [the Leadership Institute], so I then decided to compare the schools to see what would best fit me," said Lyking.
As Lyking mentioned, being introduced to a program like the Leadership Institute was what continued her motivation to find more outlets to become involved.
"I honestly think that the Leadership Institute contributes to everything I have done so far," said Lyking. "Coming into that program I had already become comfortable with the university so that helped develop me, especially as a leader. So with that, I wanted to do everything because I saw that all doors were open for me. If I weren't a part of the leadership program, all of the things I stepped out to do wouldn't have been accomplished."
Alongside the Leadership Institute, Lyking is a student ambassador with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. As a student ambassador, she hosts personalized tours while also working with admissions counselors who guide prospective students through the application process.
Lyking can attest that being an ambassador has aided in her ability to communicate with others and to create a pleasurable environment for both prospective and current students.
"We want to make sure that students know what Kean has to offer and help students acclimate to the university. I also introduce students to different departments to give them a push toward activities they might be interested in," said Lyking.
Furthermore, Lyking also ventured into Student Government where she started off as a freshman class representative and worked her way up.
"I wanted to establish myself as a person at first, but then I continued on my sophomore year where I was sophomore class secretary, then junior class secretary, but I don't know where I want to go from there. All I know is that Student Government is a place where I feel at home just like the Leadership Institute."
Aside from her student ambassador and Student Government positions, Lyking enjoys being a part of the Top Knotch dance team where she has danced since her freshman year of college. Lyking understood that being eager to be involved as a freshman helped her to develop more options for her college career.
"The Top Knotch dance team is a majorette dance team and is the first on campus. When you think majorette, think marching bands. We are still fairly new, but we are trying to establish ourselves. I am proud that we have been able to do that through the Top Knotch parade [that] Student Government hosted last year," Lyking mentioned.
Lastly, Lyking is a part of the National Council for Negro Women, which is another up-and-coming organization on campus.
"Last spring, we spent a lot of time getting the organization green-lighted at Kean and now I am really excited because this semester we are working on pushing out events and other additions."
Lyking's ultimate goal is to become a physical therapist in which she will serve an under-served community, and every skill she has learned will provide her with an upper hand in her future endeavors.
Lyking wants to spread the news that pushing the limits and becoming involved at Kean will prove to be the ultimate reward in the end.