Student Alumni Ambassadors learn from high-level leaders how to serve with confidence and humility
At age 17, Yvette Tyson joined the military and served for eight years. After a couple of years of working full-time, she decided to pursue her education at Regent. Tyson is now majoring in international studies within the College of Arts & Sciences. When she applied to the Student Alumni Ambassadors (SAA) last year, she was looking for a group that offered something beyond academics—exposure to real-world leadership and interaction with the local community. She also wanted to experience some of the social aspects of college she had missed by joining the military directly after high school.
“SAA has given me the opportunity to do everything I wanted to do in just one group,” she says. “It really fit because of its emphasis on leadership and teamwork—much like the military—and the community service aspect.”
One highlight, she says, is supporting Regent’s Executive Leadership Series, which features distinguished professionals such as FOX News anchor Gretchen Carlson, Virginia Congressman Randy Forbes, and retired Marine Corps Captain Donovan Campbell, among others. Leadership is a skill Tyson values from her military career.
“Regent has brought privileges in so many different avenues, and SAA was the last thing—other than a cap and gown—that brought it all together for me. SAA is what I needed,” she says.
Tyson has applied to Regent’s law school and, if accepted, hopes to continue serving with SAA. Her long-term plans include reenlisting in the military and becoming a member of the Justice Advocate General’s corps.
Tim Pettman, a juris doctorate student in the School of Law, also touts the benefits of personal and professional growth that SAA brings. He serves as SAA’s vice president of spiritual life. Pettman has found it helps him balance his studies with other endeavors, including serving as staff editor for the Journal of Law and Public Policy and as a class representative in the Student Bar Association.
“That block on the schedule where I have to focus on something other than law for some time each week, that’s been part of what keeps me sane,” he explains. “It has helped me realize life isn’t just law books.” It has also helped him develop confidence and crucial skills, including the ability to delegate and manage teams.
Attend any local Regent event and you’re likely to be greeted by members of SAA. In their crisp navy blazers, these students represent Regent’s finest.
“We set the tone of the event,” Pettman explains. “Serving in this role increases your confidence in dealing with people because you’re learning to capably become the go-to person.”
Ambassadors are selected through a competitive application process. Each year, they participate in an off-site retreat where they complete personality and spiritual gifts tests and analyze the results. This helped Pettman clarify his career goals, which include becoming a judge advocate in the Air Force and teaching law. It has also helped him learn to manage teams and projects by assessing team members’ strengths and aligning their responsibilities to them.
“There are so many ways that you benefit from SAA, whether that is in leadership development or learning how to schedule and make everything happen on time, or the opportunity to attend events and serve esteemed guests,” he says. “It really has enriched my time here at Regent beyond going to law school.”