For Ethan Wunibald enrolling at Thomas Nelson was an ideal fit and an obvious choice. He followed the lead of his two siblings who are alumni of the College.
“It was so beneficial to their academic path that I chose to follow suit,” said Wunibald noting that his siblings completed the 2+2 program in their day.
A Jamestown High School graduate who is keen on biology, he is working toward an associate degree in science and aspires to a career in medicine.
“I have always enjoyed STEM, but am more specifically aiming to work as a (physician). I am enrolled in several early science classes. The professors are excellent and are expanding my basic knowledge before I transfer,” he said. “In the next five years, I hope to transfer to William & Mary and study in medical school while working in the healthcare field.”
Although studies consume a lot of his time, he found a way to make an impact at the College and maximize his student experience between classes. He was accepted into the Presidential Ambassadors program for the 2021-2022 academic year.
Students in the program commit to assist the College for 10 months by participating in events and working in various roles on campus. Program Coordinator Michelle Manfred views the Presidential Ambassadors program as a win-win for students.
“First of all, there is a monetary incentive (of $1,000). Secondly, I think the ambassadors are connecting with other students at events and sometimes building friendships,” she said. “Lastly, the program offers mentoring by deans and vice presidents. And the ambassadors are receiving leadership training by President Brannon which is invaluable and a huge commitment on the part of our College leader.”
Wunibald serves at the Historic Triangle campus in Williamsburg and is among four participants this term. Manfred said he has already made a splash.
“Ethan impressed me with his maturity and goal-orientation/direction. Normally, Presidential Ambassadors who are chosen are upper-class students that have some experience at (the College) but Ethan was selected because of his maturity, enthusiasm, and desire to be involved,” she said.
“His service in the program has been outstanding so far. He has made an effort to attend all events where his presence is requested. Ethan works a part-time job, so this required him to request time off to work at (the College),” she added.
That kind of dedication is typical of Winubald, who delights in being of service to others. In addition to being a presidential ambassador, he teaches Sunday school, works with a local scout troop, and volunteers with the Jamestown High School band.
“I always enjoy helping people, as well as pursuing my interests. These are all great ways for me to stay active in my community and make my experiences available to youth, he said.
Wunibald is pleased with the program and plans to take advantage of other clubs and student organizations on campus. He thanked Manfred and others who have positively shaped his experiences since he enrolled at the College in summer 2021.
“Michelle Manfred has done an amazing job in organizing the Presidential Ambassador Program. The staff, including the professors, is amazing. They want students to succeed!<" said he said. "Janice Hoffman is an excellent professor, and she created a comfortable environment for learning and writing, even (via) the strange medium of zoom,” he said recalling the English 112 class he took.
This is the first in a series introducing this year’s presidential ambassadors. Other profiles will be featured soon.
Connect with Manfred at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about the Presidential Ambassadors Program.