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Jakymin Named "Chief Curator"

MAY 25, 2018 - MSL is excited to announce the promotion of long-time Regular Contributor, Elisa Jakymin, to the position of "Chief Curator". The first guest author to share her story with our site during its launch in the Fall of 2016, Elisa has continued to play an active part in the growth and development of our brand.

A resident of Sydney, Australia and active figure in the tourism industry, Elisa continues to bring her perspective to pieces written on the topics of travel, physical fitness, and leadership, combining her professional experience with her passions. An avid runner and athlete, Elisa is the featured voice of MSL's periodic "Fitness Friday" segments. Her new title also reflects that active roles that she's undertaken in guest author recruitment, brand development, and marketing.

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From the Classroom.jpg

MSL Co-Founder, Michael D. Johnson, announces new book

NOVEMBER, 2017 - Adolescence can be a battlefield. From the halls of high school to the dizzying process of selecting a college and a path to follow into adulthood and beyond, our kids face a number of daunting hurdles before additional stressors like academics and social pressures are thrown into the mix. It’s enough to make you cry out for a road map. Fortunately, a local voice is stepping up to offer one. 

Michael D. Johnson is no stranger to the trials of young adulthood. Since returning to Montville Township from his four years as a student at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY, he has served in a variety of local roles geared toward programming and services for our local youth, including a term on the Montville Township Board of Education. “Looking back on my former self, the Michael Johnson that sits on the Montville Township Board of Education today is a far cry from the timid little introvert who sat on the sidelines of high school hallways he'd one day govern,” he writes on his blog,

The website, launched in the fall of 2016, was developed by fellow Marist alumnus and friend, Brittany M. MacLeod to share the stories of young leaders and offer insights to its readers. Now, Johnson is extending yet another resource in the form of a new book. From the Classroom to the Boardroom: Memoirs of a Student Leader chronicles Johnson’s attempts to adapt to a new collegiate environment away from home and his subsequent rise through the Marist College Student Government Association. Exploring personal stories and valuable leadership lessons, it provides readers with the opportunity to reflect on their own goals and sketch out their “Leadership Profiles” through accompanying exercises. In viewing the college experience through a personal, narrative lens, Johnson creates a relatable journey for young readers to follow in outlining their own life stories.

The perfect read for current students and recent graduates alike, this personal tale roots the classic coming of age sage closer to home.


Over the course of his four years at Marist College, Michael D. Johnson did more than find his place in the school’s social structure. Through his experiences in student government, he was shaped as a person in ways that continue to affect his post-grad career. 
Eager to shed his identity as a shy high school senior from New Jersey, Michael arrived at college ready for transformation. He set his sights on the highest office possible: student body president. His personal storytelling delves into the emotional and rewarding pursuit and explores how he became a student leader. Though the events took place in the microcosm of a college campus, the lessons he learned proved valuable in later business experiences. Today Michael serves on the board of education in his hometown, a position he never would have considered without those critical college experiences. 
This profound memoir looks at the early years of leadership from a rare perspective—the fresh memories forged through the trials of student leadership—to guide others through the process of managing their own life stories by developing their leadership profiles. Johnson invites you to share in his story and begin your own leadership journey today!

From the Classroom to the Boardroom: Memoirs of a Student Leader is now available at and other online retailers.

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The Memoirs of a Student Leader teamwelcomes Jennifer Everdyke as its newest Regular Contributor.

The Memoirs of a Student Leader teamwelcomes Jennifer Everdyke as its newest Regular Contributor.

JANUARY 31, 2017 - Memoirs of a Student Leader welcomes another returning voice to its team of storytellers; Jennifer Everdyke of Geneseo, NY joins the project as its latest Regular Contributor. As a student of science and aspiring dietician, Jen offers insights on health and personal wellness from both a physical and spiritual perspectives. Through connecting the lessons learned throughout her coursework and professional career to her own, personal experiences, Jen hopes to offer advice and guidance through her new chapter in the MSL story, “Jen’s Journey”.

Jennifer received her Bachelor of Arts from the State University of New York at New Paltz in French, Anthropology, and Communication Media Production with a Theatre Arts minor in 2012. After losing sixty pounds working with a dietitian, she realized that her true career path involved fitness and nutrition. She became licensed to teach Zumba and obtained her group exercise certifications from the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America as well as the Aquatic Exercise Association. She also holds the title of Certified Personal Trainer from the American College of Sports Medicine. She went back to school and obtained her Bachelor of Science from the Rochester Institute of Technology in Nutrition Management in 2016. She currently is completing her Dietetic Internship and Masters of Science in Exercise Science at the University at Buffalo. Outside of school she teaches fitness classes at the YMCA and works at a long term care facility in Rochester, NY.For more from Jen, please visit

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Elisa Jakymin joins "memoirs of a student leader" as a regular contributor

Elisa Jakymin joins Elizabeth Newman as a  Regular Contributor  on the  Memoirs of a Student Leader  team.

Elisa Jakymin joins Elizabeth Newman as a Regular Contributor on the Memoirs of a Student Leader team.

JANUARY 4, 2017 - Memoirs of a Student Leader welcomes a familiar face to its team this month, as Elisa Jakymin of Australia joins the project as a Regular Contributor. As the very first guest author featured on the site, Elisa has remained an active voice within the MSL community. In continuing to write on lessons in life, education, travel, and wellness, Elisa will carve out her own category in the growing narrative of the site, "Elisa's Expedition."

Elisa is a Bachelor of Business (Tourism Management & Marketing) graduate of the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia and a passionate ambassador for Australia’s tourism industry. Her proudest achievements to date include her nomination as a National Finalist for the Young Tourism Professional Award and her completion of a half-marathon in support of the Can Too Foundation – a non-profit foundation which transforms lives through fitness and fundraising for cancer research. Elisa is committed to promoting self-awareness and self-improvement as core principles of leadership and life. She is an enthusiastic believer of the notion that life begins at the end of your comfort zone. For more from Elisa, please visit

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Shaping the World Through Shared Stories: Young Leaders Launch New Site for Students and Young Professionals

Memoirs of a Student Leader  Co-Founders, Brittany M. MacLeod and Michael D. Johnson.

Memoirs of a Student Leader Co-Founders, Brittany M. MacLeod and Michael D. Johnson.

OCTOBER 17, 2016 – Memoirs of a Student Leader (, a website designed to share the stories of young leaders has been launched, co-founders Michael D. Johnson and Brittany MacLeod announced today. The duo is collecting the experiences and life lessons of their peers, tapping into an international network of young professionals, and shaping them into a resource for current high school and college-aged students. Their growing media platform is founded on the philosophy that leaders aren’t defined by their titles, or lack thereof, but their actions. The founders hope that Memoirs of a Student Leader will serve as a resource for millennials in shaping their own journeys and life goals.

Featuring a new guest author each week, Memoirs of a Student Leader assembles perspectives on a wide variety of topics. As they reflect on past experiences, such as internships and hunting for first jobs, adjustments to new schools and communities, and their efforts to turn their visions into reality, the guests of MSL extend worldly wisdom to their peers and aspiring “world-changers.” It’s all part of Johnson and MacLeod’s two-pronged mission to inspire and engage young adults in tackling new, innovative approaches to leadership by developing their own styles and identities through reflection and discussion. By showcasing other young leaders who have made an impact in their own communities, the MSL team hopes to promote civic engagement through service and guide readers through the process of discovering what they need to live the lives they’ve always imagined.

More importantly, Memoirs of a Student Leader showcases the accomplishments of young professionals so that the experiences of their peers will help millennials in mapping out their own journeys through life. Johnson and MacLeod cite their own experiences as a reminder that, no matter how far you reach, it’s always helpful to know that someone else in the world is sharing in the experience. As demonstrated by the site’s first regular contributor, Elizabeth Newman of Colorado Springs, these installments weave through lessons learned in both the professional and personal lives of MSL’s authors. From overcoming disappointment to build a career she could be proud of, and finding love in the most unexpected of places, Newman crafts pearls out of life’s darker moments. It’s all part of MSL’s broader mission to guide its readers through the school of life.

Michael D. Johnson and Brittany M. MacLeod are both graduates of Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY. Johnson developed his career in leadership as a member of the Marist College Student Government Association, as well as the campus’ chapters of the National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH), the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS), Toastmasters International, and the Emerging Leaders Program. He currently serves as a member of the Montville Township Board of Education and Drug Awareness Council, and is an officer of the Montville Township Kiwanis club. MacLeod is the former Vice President of Club Affairs for Marist’s Student Government, a past President and Area Governor of the Campus’ Toastmasters chapter, and one of the youngest recipients of the international organization’s highest distinction, “The Distinguished Toastmaster.” MacLeod gained international notoriety as a finalist in the “Best Jobs in the World” competition, hosted by Tourism Australia, in 2013.

For the full story behind the Memoirs of a Student Leader, please visit The story continues on Facebook (, as well as on Twitter and Instagram (@MSLstories).

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