North Central College senior wins national leadership award at Blue Key Honor Society conference

Feb 19, 2016

Alyxandria “Lexy” Schwarzwalder ’16/M ’17 recently received a national award and scholarship at the National Blue Key Honor Society conference. On the academic fast track to pursuing leadership roles in the nonprofit sector, Schwarzwalder is pursuing North Central College’s five-year master leadership studies degree as part of the College's Leadership, Ethics and Values (LEV) program. After she completes her B.A. in organizational communication with a minor in leadership, she will finish in 2017 her M.A. in leadership studies with a focus on professional leadership.  

A Distinguished Leader and president of North Central’s Blue Key Honor Society chapter, she was awarded the Gregory Lee Smith Exemplary Blue Key Member Award and $1,000 scholarship at the National Blue Key Honor Society conference held at Kansas State University. This award recognizes one student’s “exemplary record of leadership, dedication, commitment and service to Blue Key and the chapter institution.”

Her pursuit of leadership opportunities in the community influenced her nomination for this award. She currently works in the membership and member services departments of the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana. Because of her diverse projects in this role, she’s developed a skill set that distinguishes her as a future leader in the nonprofit sector.

“I’ve been able to interact with upper-level management and have significant leadership experiences in my position,” she says.

Last summer, Schwarzwalder interned at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., and conducted original research on authentic leadership. The internship gave her opportunities to witness leadership roles in action at a Fortune 500 company.

“I observed a multitude of different leadership styles while I was at Disney,” she says. “I focused a lot on teamwork and servant leadership, which ultimately ties to my interest in authentic leadership.”

Schwarzwalder’s experiences at both Girl Scouts and Disney have exposed her to different leadership styles in major companies. She’s learned to apply her classroom knowledge to real-world work experience. She hopes to eventually use this experience in tandem with her M.A. to work in executive-level leadership in the nonprofit sector.

By Lauren Baltas ’16