Unlike most other college students, Ashley Geffken Eddy finds solace not in downtime, but taking on tasks.
So when Eddy was inducted on March 14 as New Jersey State President of the Middle States Region for Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society of two-year colleges, she immediately embraced the workload.
“It’s like a full time job,” Eddy said. “But I like these tasks where I can grow as a person and get out of my comfort zone.”
Each of the 29 Phi Theta Kappa regions in the United States has their own state officer. Eddy’s region, Middle States, includes New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Washington D.C. As New Jersey president, Eddy oversees the 19 chapters in the state and speaks at their induction ceremonies.
Eddy's leadership began at a young age. Growing up, Eddy’s family was constantly moving, which she describes as a difficult time. For 8 years she was the primary caregiver for her great aunt. She did this while balancing school and a full-time job—tasks that took her mind off home life and reduced stress.
After a year of involvement in RVCC’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, Eddy became Vice President of Leadership and Service for 2014-2015, a position she felt at ease in despite (and because of) the demand.
In this role she organized community service projects, the “Equality for All” Honors in Action program and the TD Bank Leadership and Development series—eight events with talks by well-known business, academic and political leaders. This year ended with a talk from Sichan Siv, former United States ambassador to the United Nations Economic and Social Council from 2001-2006.
“I became good friends with him (Sichan Siv)," Eddy said. "I was lucky enough to get him to talk for much less than what he usually gets at other places.”
In addition, Eddy is a full-time worker and plays Ultimate Frisbee recreationally. So what is her secret for balancing these activities?
Ryan Roberts, Co-President of RVCC’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, says he is impressed with Eddy’s time management skills and working with her has been a one of a kind experience.
“If you need help with something she’ll stop what she’s doing and focus her attention on helping you,” Roberts said. “And overall she’s been a great friend. When time came for her to help me because I had to work, she did that flawlessly. She’s a very outgoing person. It radiates off of her when you get to know her.”
As New Jersey president, Eddy says she wants to create more team building activities in the state. Communication, says Eddy, is the most distinctive quality of a good leader. Two months in, she has spoken at several induction ceremonies, where she emphasizes taking risks and “true leadership is not power over people, but power with people.”
Eddy has three more classes to complete her associate degree in business. Instead of finishing them in the summer, she decided to stretch them for another year to stay engaged in Phi Theta Kappa. She is transferring to Ocean County Community College in the fall because her family is moving.
Eddy will soon be awarded a scholarship for a week-long summer program at the University of New Mexico and another scholarship when she transfers. Her position ends in April 2016.
Featured image caption:
Ashley Geffken Eddy to the far right with (from left to right) Noemie Broussoux-Coutard, Middle States Region President; Brandy Stably, Pennsylvania President; Pattie Van Atter, Middle States Region Coordinator; and David Butler, Delaware, Maryland and Washington D.C President.