Jacob Ellis of Many has been named Greek Man of the Year and Samantha Sims of Newnan, Georgia, has been named Greek Woman of the Year at Northwestern State University.
Ellis, a member of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity, has served the organization as internal vice president, new member class president, brotherhood chair and a member of the recruitment committee. He is Northwestern State’s Student Government Association president for the 2018-19 year.
“My participation in the Greek community has greatly enhanced my collegiate experience,” said Ellis. “It has taught me so many skills that I can use in my life. These skills include respect for my fellow man; how to organize a group when working on a project; how to properly dress for certain occasions; how to effectively communicate and what it takes to pretty much run a business. Most importantly, my participation in the Greek community has instilled in me a set of values that I will forever hold dear.”
Ellis, a business administration major, said being part of being successful in managing time is remembering academics must be his first priority.
“A student’s number one goal should be achieving their degree,” he said. “I had to learn when to say no. There have been many nights when I would have loved to go hang out with my brothers or go watch an intramural game, but I had to get my schoolwork done. It takes discipline to be able to prioritize what you need to do over what you want to do.”
Gradually taking on leadership roles has caused a major change in Ellis’ outlook.
I have had to overcome many personal challenges and would often feel insecure about my adequacy,” said Ellis. “I would sometimes ask myself, ‘Am I the right person for the job?’ I would think that someone else might be able to handle a situation better than I would. My leadership experience here on campus has changed that mentality entirely. The leadership roles I have held on this campus have given me a newfound confidence that I did not have before.”
Sims, a senior psychology major, is a member of Alpha Omicron Pi Sorority. She served as vice president of chapter development and received the Helen Clair Mullen Founders Award and the Founders of the Sisterhood Ring. Sims is part president of the College Panhellenic Association.
“The Greek community has shaped me to become the leader I am today. Greek life is not just an organization you join for four years. It is something that becomes a part of you and a part of life. It brings people with common goals together to build a community that will strive to push the members to do the best they can.”
Sims said being part of the Greek Community has helped her “find a passion for helping people and wanting to make a difference in people’s lives.”
Balancing academics with participation in extracurricular activities has been important for Sims.
“You have to be able to manage time correctly and know how to prioritize with meetings and events that happen with in the community,” said Sims. “In AOP, we stress grades and study hours. I have sisters that want to see me succeed and graduate. Joining an organization that supports me with this challenge has been a blessing I have sisters that will help me study.”
Sims has been able to do that despite having a learning disability.
“I don’t let that get in my way or use it as a crutch,” she said. “I have sisters that support me and help me whenever I need them. I am grateful for that.”