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Student-athletes represent Loyola at National Leadership Conference

Joe Smalzer and Gina Valgoi attend the National Jesuit Student Leadership Conference

Joe Smalzer and Gina Valgoi attend the National Jesuit Student Leadership Conference

Aug. 2, 2012

CHICAGO - Networking and leadership converged for men's volleyball player Joseph Smalzer and cross country/track runner Gina Valgoi as they attended the National Jesuit Student Leadership Conference (NJSLC) this past week at Holy Cross College in Massachusetts. The athletes were two of 30 students representing Loyola University Chicago during the annual conference.

Led by this year's theme of "Live the Mission" the delegates attended NJSLC for a span of five days, working to improve their ability to better represent the university and organizations on campus. During the conference Valgoi and Smalzer went through a series of sessions and speaking events, building their leadership skills and making connections with over 300 students from Jesuit institutions nationwide.

"It was cool to listen to all of the sessions from the different universities," said Smalzer. "When I ran a session and taught a class of 40 students, everyone was eager to participate and put in their two cents. It was nice to hear different point of views."

Valgoi and Smalzer learned more than just ways to improve their personal and academic lives during the conference. With leadership playing a large role for student-athletes, the two participants were given a chance to improve in their respective sports as well.

"I can play in front of thousands of people but getting up and having a session in front of 40 people is ten times harder," said Smalzer. "I don't have as much confidence in my speaking ability as I do in my athletic ability, so I've definitely learned how to use more vocal leadership on the court."



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