Seven Mount Saint Mary College students recently graduated from the Walden Savings Bank Medici Scholars Program, becoming the fifth group to complete the prestigious initiative since its inception in 2015.
The competitive program, open to fewer than ten Mount Business students each year, is made possible through an endowed gift to the Mount from Walden Savings Bank.
The students are Jose Colotlacuateco of Monticello,; Robert Lawless of Monroe; Mark Olsen of Walden; Alexander Perlak of West Hempstead, N.Y.; Patrice Polo of Hartford, Conn.; Emily Quinn of Montgomery; and Kathrine Smith of Goshen.
Through the generosity of Walden Savings Bank, the collaborative Medici Program prepares students for leadership and principled corporate citizenship. The program introduces undergraduate Business and Accounting students to the world of arts and nonprofits, in order to foster a better understanding of the important role the business community plays in supporting them.
This year, Mount students worked with Safe Harbors of the Hudson, a mixed-use, nonprofit housing and arts redevelopment project located in the City of Newburgh. The student scholars were tasked with planning several large events for the organization, among other responsibilities.
Perlak, who graduated from the Mount recently, said that one of the most important aspects of the Medici program is teamwork.
“From the start of the program until the end we were a team, making decisions and feeding off of each other’s ideas,” Perlak explained. “It is important to offer opinions and work together because it will help you achieve your goal to its fullest potential.”
With the COVID-19 pandemic hitting in the middle of the program, the Medici scholars adapted much the same way many businesses have: by moving meetings online. The change put an increased emphasis on continued teamwork and good communication. This was made easier, Perlak noted, by the hard-working members of the Safe Harbors family.
“From the e-board to the members of the community serving, it was a lot friendlier than I could have imagined and they supported us by listening to our ideas,” he explained. “If I were to describe Safe Harbors in one word, it would be community.”
At the start of this year’s Medici program, Walden Savings Bank President and CEO, Derrik R. Wynkoop, said, “As a community bank, we recognize the importance of preparing our young people to be future leaders. The Medici Program provides us with a unique opportunity to support both the participating students who gain invaluable experience as well as the involved non-profit organizations that benefit from needed assistance. We are thrilled to play a role in this exceptional program.”
Wynkoop was honored with the Joseph A. Bonura Award for Leadership Excellence at the Mount’s Tenth Annual Gala Reception last December. This award recognizes individuals whose professional accomplishments and approach to management reflect the same commitment to quality, concern for neighbors, and shared prosperity that have exemplified the career and character of restaurateur Joseph A. Bonura.