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Katie Manta and Josh Lewis smile on the UD campus

Future elementary school teacher Katie Manta ’19 finds the opportunity to give, serve and learn in everything she does. Human Services major Josh Lewis ‘20 is drawn to helping others. Both combined their interests with their passion for UD by becoming  New Student Orientation (NSO) Leaders Students accepted into this competitive program are responsible for welcoming incoming Blue Hens and their families onto campus. While over a hundred students apply each year, only 17 were selected in 2018. “The orientation leader selection process is a competitive one, but it’s also an opportunity for students with all different personalities, energy levels and backgrounds to come together as one team to welcome and support new students and their families,” said Brittany Acosta, assistant director, Orientation & Transition Programs. “Katie and Josh exemplify this exactly—they are such different, and absolutely outstanding, people—and they did an amazing job helping our new Blue Hens transition to the UD community!” With the help of Manta, Lewis and the other 15 Orientation Leaders (OLs), incoming students and their families learn about the campus resources, connect with new and current students and meet their academic advisors. “This role aligned with my personal values and mission—to learn as much outside the classroom as I do inside of it,” said Manta. “OLs contribute to what makes this university so great, and I want to be part of that legacy.” “My main motivation for wanting to be an OL came from reflecting on my own experience at orientation,” said Lewis.  “I wanted to make a positive impact on a new student, just like my OL had on me.” For Manta, serving as an OL is just one of many extracurricular activities. She has been a Peer Mentor with the Quest Extended Orientation program and has been a two-time participant in the UD Alternative Breaks. “I try to live by the Mother Theresa quote: ‘Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier,’” said Manta. “This epitomizes the work philosophy we practice during Orientation and aligns with my personal values of empathy, growth and empowerment.” Lewis is equally engaged in campus life, having been president of his residence hall’s community council during his first year and serving as a Resident Assistant last year. While OL teams include a wide mix of personalities, strengths and UD experiences, Lewis believes “the one value we all shared is a love for UD and a desire to make a positive impact for the new students we interacted with.” Both Manta and Lewis are confident that their OL experience will enrich their personal and career paths going forward, having strengthened their verbal communication skills in both public speaking and facilitation. “The skills I gained from my OL experience are crucial to leading a productive and positive classroom and will positively contribute to my future career in the field of education,” said Manta. Read about 2017 NSO Leaders Haylee Hidalgo and Joey Gallo.