In this month’s Insider Interview, we speak with Kevin Loder, member engagement manager with the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS), an honors organization that recognizes and elevates high achievers. NSCS provides career and graduate school connections, leadership and service opportunities and gives out $1 million in scholarships annually.
PRSA-NCC Insider: Describe your role with the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.
KL: I’ve enjoyed my journey with NSCS, from being a member of this honor society to now working as a member engagement manager. NSCS is a recognized organization with chapters represented by more than 300 colleges and universities across the nation. I work with 50 chapters in our Midwest region around the Great Lakes.
I especially enjoy our new member induction ceremonies. This provides me with an opportunity to travel to new places and meet new members. Each chapter has a team of five or more students serving as chapter officers as well as an on-campus advisor to discuss chapter management between the campus and our national office in Washington, D.C.
PRSA-NCC Insider: Tell us more about the organization and its mission.
KL: NSCS is a non-profit organization founded in 1994 on the campus of The George Washington University. It is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies. Eligible freshmen and sophomores who are in the top 20 percent of their class and who hold a 3.4 or higher cumulative GPA are invited to join. NSCS provides career and graduate school connections, along with leadership and service opportunities, and the organizations gives out nearly $1 million dollars in scholarships and awards annually. NSCS members are deeply committed to scholarship, leadership and service, and as a result, they are impacting their campus and local communities every day.
Our signature community service program is called Planning to Achieve Collegiate Excellence (PACE). PACE is a program in which NCSC chapters partner with local middle and/or high schools, typically from an underserved neighborhood, on a recurring basis to encourage them to graduate high school and plan for college. One component of PACE is March to College™ Day, where NSCS chapters host PACE program participants on their campuses to give them a day-in-the-life experience of a college student.
PRSA-NCC Insider: Why is member engagement so important?
KL: Successful member engagement for NSCS chapters begins with new member induction ceremonies. These are big events, typically with several hundred students and their guests attending. Member participation is high when a chapter has strategically planned, promoted and hosted activities, which creates a positive reputation on campus. When perspective members ask what the society is about, it’s important to highlight what the chapter has accomplished the year before through member engagement.
PRSA-NCC: Congratulations on recently joining the National Capital Chapter of PRSA? What led you to join?
KL: A friend of mine recently moved to Columbus, Ohio and was looking for a job there. My advice to her was to join the local PRSA chapter to network and learn more about possible PR opportunities in the area. With encouragement from each other, we joined our respective chapters on the same day.
PRSA-NCC Insider: How can PRSA-NCC help you? How can you help PRSA-NCC?
KL: I’m most interested in the chapter’s professional development programs and educational events as a way to be a lifelong learner. When I want to learn more about a topic in the PR profession, the PRSA chapter is where I’ll go first. I would soon like to serve on a committee, perhaps the Association and Non-Profit Committee.
PRSA-NCC Insider: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
KL: Working with students has piqued my interest in pursuing a master’s degree or graduate program. After several years of professional work experience, I will be ready to return to life as a student and balance that with a career. I enjoy working in a membership organization. In five years I see myself in a director’s role.
PRSA-NCC Insider: When you’re not working, what do you like to do in your spare time?
KL: This summer, I joined the Stonewall Sport Billiards League. This non-profit organization hosts a variety of organized sports leagues. I highly recommend people who are new to the city to consider joining. It’s a fun way to meet new people outside of work. I try to play pool on a weekly basis.