For the first time in 2017-18, the Bucknell Athletics Leadership Institute is recognizing Leaders of the Month. Candidates for Leaders of the Month are nominated by coaches based on leadership qualities demonsrated on and off the field. At least one "Principal Leader" and at least one "Aspiring Leader" will be selected each month. There are three recipients for the October 2017 award: Maddie Dano of women's soccer, Drew Newcomb of football, and Celeste Barker of volleyball. 

Each of the recipients was asked for their thoughts on various elements of leadership.

MADDIE DANO, Women's Soccer (Principal Leader)

Maddie is a junior center back from Mission Viejo, California. She has started every game this season and leads the team in minutes played (1,780) and assists (5). She is a key part of a defense that has posted eight shutouts and helped lead the Bison to a second straight Patriot League championship this season. 

What is your favorite part about being a leader? What is the toughest? 

My favorite part about being a leader is the position I am in to make an impact on the lives of my teammates and coaches. As someone who was lucky enough to have inspiring leaders as captains and coaches throughout my soccer career, I remember how intentional they were with me and the ways they invested in my life. As a leader now, I want to do the same for others and the relationships/friendships that have been formed because of it are definitely my favorite thing. The toughest part about being a leader is establishing a balance with teammates as both a leader and their friend. 

What was the most important leadership moment on your team this year and why? 

My team started this thing called the energy bus this year. When a person is on the energy bus, they do something before our next game to encourage the team and hype them up for the game. I was the first member on the bus and I wrote each person a personalized card with inspiration and gave them starbursts for a "burst" of energy. We continued this throughout the season, with a new teammate on the energy bus for each game. It has been a huge success and has been great to see people buy into it just as I did from the start. 

What "gets you up in the morning?" 

Ultimately, I want to honor the Lord on and off the field. I have been given such an amazing opportunity as a student-athlete at Bucknell to make an impact on others lives. At one of our leadership sessions, Lauren Wicklund explained to us mission statements and had us form one for our lives. Mine is "To encourage faith, extend hope, and serve others in love."

What advice do you have for other student-athlete leaders? 

I would encourage other student-athlete leaders to be willing to grow and to be intentional with the actions they take and with the words they speak. I would also tell them to acknowledge the good times and the bad times, being patient and working hard in both situations. 


CELESTE BARKER, Volleyball (Principal Leader)

After battling injuries for much of her career, Celeste is enjoying an outstanding senior year for the Bison. The San Francisco native ranks sixth in the Patriot League in blocks at 0.97 per set and is among Bucknell's team leaders in kills (130) and hitting percentage (.255). 

What is your favorite part about being a leader? What is the toughest? 

My favorite part about being a leader is playing an active role in changing the culture of our team. I feel my strength is leading by example through working hard and pushing others to work hard as well. My goal is to leave a lasting impression on our underclassmen, particularly our aspiring leaders, such that this new culture of accountability and strong work ethic will remain in tact for many years to come. I think the toughest part about being a leader is not letting my emotions get the best of me and cloud my ability to be there for my team, especially during difficult situations. This is something I am still working on everyday, in an effort to be the best leader I can be for my teammates. 

What was the most important leadership moment on your team this year and why?

I think the most important leadership moment for me started back in January as we began our spring training in preparation for this season. It was then that my fellow co-captain and I set the tone for this new culture we were trying to establish and laid out what was to be expected as a member of this team, as well as bring the team together as a cohesive unit on an off the court. Since then we have been able to build upon this foundation and grow as a team, and will continue to do so throughout the rest of this season. 

What "gets you up in the morning?"

This being my senior year, I have tried to remind myself every day of why I fell in love with this sport. It's easy to get caught up in the everyday routine of being a student-athlete, and forget why you play in the first place. Knowing that this is my last year being a part of BUVB, I am striving to give absolutely everything I have to this team. In order to do so, I need to wake up every morning and use my passion to continue to grow as a player. This team has become my family, and I want to do everything in my power to help us reach the goals we have set out to accomplish. 

What advice do you have for other student-athlete leaders?

Take advantage of every opportunity you have with your team. Four years may seem like forever, but it will fly by faster than you think. The fondest memories I have of my past years at Bucknell, good and bad, were on the volleyball court with my team. Never take a game, practice, lift, etc. for granted. Being a Bucknell student-athlete is a privilege, and it will teach you more about yourself and how to navigate through life than you ever imagined it would. 


DREW NEWCOMB, Football (Aspiring Leader)

Drew is a junior safety who hails from right here in Lewisburg. He has been a key contributor on special teams throughout his career, and this year he has seen an increased workload in the defensive secondary, including his first three career starts. In Bucknell's 13-7 overtime win at Lafayette on Oct. 21, Drew not only recorded his first interception, but he brought it back for a touchdown on the first series of the game.  

What are the elements of leadership that you are working hardest on?

I am working hard to become a more outspoken and outgoing leader and improve communication on our team, but I am also working hard to lead by example.

What was the most important leadership moment on your team this year and why? 

Personally, I think my most important leadership moment on our team came in the Lafayette game. It was only my second start defensively of my career so I wasn't exactly the person most people looked to to make a big impact. However, I ended up having a pretty solid game and actually scored a touchdown that helped us win. I think this was important to my leadership ability because it shows my teammates, especially those younger than me, that if you work hard every day you will eventually be rewarded by being able to make a big impact on your team. So it was a pretty big "lead by example" moment for me.

What "gets you up in the morning?" 

For me, the things I love get me up in the morning. Those things being my family and friends, my God, and my sport. All of the things in my life are valuable and important to me, and make waking up every day that much easier.

What advice do you have for other student-athlete leaders? 

I would say that being a leader isn't always easy. Sometimes you may have to say things that step on people's toes but it may be the thing your team needs the most. If your team has good communication skills you will be able to put yourselves on the right track so that you are all headed for the same goal.