Skip to main content

Develop Leadership

Rising Leader Class

Mentor Profiles

Courtney Otto

Courtney Otto

Head Mentor

    Hometown: Amherst, NH

    Major: International Relations

    Freshman Activities: Debate, Circle K, Fencing, Students for a Global Perspective, intern at the Gandhi institute

    Current Activities: Debate, Circle K, Fencing, Students for a Global Perspective, intern at the Gandhi institute

    Fun Fact: I enjoy playing golf with friends and family.

    Why did you want to be a mentor?  I had a great experience as a student in the Rising Leader class, and wanted to have the opportunity to help spread the teachings to others. Freshman year was so exciting for me, and I hope to make it one of the best times for the mentees in my group by introducing them to fun activities on campus and being there for then as a form of support.

    What did you gain from participating in the Rising Leader Class?  This class provided me with the opportunity to work with some of the amazing leaders on our campus and to meet people from different backgrounds who all have such passion for helping others, taking initiate, and making a difference. 



Jake Sehnert

Jake Sehnert

Head Mentor

    Hometown: Fairport, NY

    Major: Economics and Political Science

    Freshman Activities: Rising Leader Class, Campus Times Writer, Intramural Basketball, College Republicans, SA's Policy & Review Committee and Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity

    Current Activities: President of Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity, Rising Leader Class, Campus Times Writer, SA's Student Life Committee

    Fun Fact: I love going to concerts, and I once met Imagine Dragons!

    Why did I want to be a mentor? Having a mentor while participating in the Rising Leader Class helped me learn more about myself and the Rochester community, and I wanted to use this opportunity to guide other freshmen through this growth process.

    What did you gain from participating in the Rising Leader Class? I was given the opportunity to learn about myself as a leader while being surrounded by bright, motivated leaders coming from different backgrounds and environments. In addition to having informative teachers, the environment helped me understand my leadership potential and instill in me confidence to take on a bigger role in the campus community.



Jackie Capita

    Hometown: Rochester, NY

    Major: History & English, Minor in Classics

    Freshman Activities: Off Broadway on Campus, Rising Leader Class, Vocal lessons at Eastman

    Current Activities: Ballet Performance Group, Stage Manager for Off Broadway on Campus, Meridian Society, D'Lion, Pre-College Counselor

    Fun Fact: I danced 10 feet away from Marcus Mumford when I attended one of his concerts in Queens, NY.

    Why did you want to be a mentor?: I want to enrich the lives of incoming freshmen. I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by resources that enabled me to take opportunities and guide me through various obstacles my freshman year. I believe mentors are a crucial component to providing students the resources to excel.

    What did you gain from participating in the Rising Leader Class?: I gained the knowledge and tools necessary to be a good leader on campus and in the community. More importantly, I learned collaboration is a crucial part to being a leader. 



Brian Filipiak

    Hometown: Glenview, IL

    Major: Environmental Science

    Freshman Activities: Rising Leader Class, Resident Advisor Class, Intramural Sports, Game Operations & Video Streaming for Athletics Department, Citation in Community-Engaged Scholarship

    Current Activities: Resident Advisor, Citation in Community-Engaged Scholarship, Game Operations & Video Streaming for Athletics Department, Intramural Sports, Rising Leader Class

    Fun Fact: I have been coached by and practiced basketball on the same court as many NBA and former NBA players including Patrick Beverly, Dickey Simpkins, and Scottie Pippen.

    Why did you want to be a mentor?: I want to help the incoming students realize their potential and give them a person to help them get involved in whatever they want to do. Also, I would like to continue my own development through their experiences.

    What did you gain from participating in the Rising Leader Class?: Besides meeting many of my friends in the class, I gained confidence to do what I wanted and I obtained the skills to help me become a better leader. Also, the Rising Leader Class helped me find the right resources to help me with my ideas.



Samekh Harris Reed

    Hometown: Buffalo, NY

    Major: Psychology with a double minor in East Asian Studies & International Relations

    Freshman Activities: PRIDE Network, Japanese Students Association, Korean American Students Association

    Current Activities: PRIDE Network, Black Students Union, Japanese Students Association, Korean American Students Association, Psychology Undergraduate Council

    Fun Fact: I love to do Zumba and my favorite aquatic creature is the Japanese giant spider crab.

    Why did you want to be a mentor?: I really wanted to be a mentor because I know how scary the transition is from high school to college and even leaving home for the first time. I want to offer my guidance and help to anyone who felt the way I did.

    What do you hope to gain from being a mentor?: I hope to gain not only a wider perspective of different cultures, but also to know I was able to help at least one person have an easier time.



Meghan Jordan

Meghan Jordan

    Hometown: Ithaca, NY

    Major: Health Policy

    Freshman Activities: BCS and Neuroscience Undergraduate Council, Publicity Chair of the Charles Drew Pre-Health Society, piano lessons at Eastman School of Music and Yoga Club

    Current Activities:  Co-President of the Charles Drew Pre-Health Society, Secretary of the Hartnett Art Gallery Committee, Running Club, Memorial Art Gallery Volunteer, Lab Assistant in the Nedergaard Neuroscience Lab at URMC

    Fun Fact: I enjoy listening to jazz singers like Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday.

    Why did you want to be a mentor? I believe mentoring is a wonderful way to be able to grow as a leader and provide guidance and inspiration to others as they navigate their paths to leadership.

    What did you gain from participating in the Rising Leader Class? I learned a lot about my strengths and weaknesses as a leader, and had the opportunity to be surrounded by a group of people who inspired and challenged me to step out of my comfort zone and get involved on campus.



Brendan Stone

    Hometown: Elmira, NY

    Major: International Relations

    Freshman Activities: Quad Area Council Hall Ambassador, Athletic Communications Department, Outing Club, Alpha Delta Phi Fraternity

    Current Activities: Outing Club Vice President, D'Lions Vice President, Athletic Communications Department, Alpha Delta Phi Fraternity, 2020 Class Council, Rising Leader Class

    Fun Fact: I have played the national anthem at a Cleveland Indians game with my high school marching band.

    Why do you want to be a mentor?: I wanted to become a mentor to give back to the program what I got out of it and to continue to develop the strong leaders I want to see every day on this campus.

    What did you gain from participating in the Rising Leader Class?: I gained the boost of confidence I needed to put myself out there more in college. This program allowed me to confidently budget my time and gauge my interests in different organizations; rather than being involved in a bunch of different organizations, it showed me how to pour more effort into a few organizations I was really passionate about.