Well before the University started the fall semester, senior James Walsh was on campus preparing for the intensive freshman orientation he helps lead. For the past two years, he has served as a team captain of the Orientation Advisor Staff, helping the faculty and student directors of orientation train 72 Orientation Advisors (OAs) for their roles.

“OAs receive leadership training and learn how to best represent the University community,” says Walsh.

[We] "strive to make the student and their family feel welcomed into the Catholic University community"
–James Walsh 

James exemplifies the University’s commitment to service to others. During Orientation he is on duty from 6:30 a.m. until midnight during the four-day event, helping to facilitate activities day and night.

For example: The OAs ensure that freshmen and their families feel welcome by taking time to have meals with them and engage in conversation. OAs “strive to make the student and their family feel welcomed into the Catholic University community” says Walsh. “As OAs, we are a reassuring presence and resource for the first-year students during their transition to college.”

It’s no surprise that James won the 2016-2017 Roy Bode Memorial Award for outstanding leadership and faith values as a junior. Even after Orientation is over James’s leadership continues. He has served as co-captain of the men’s ultimate frisbee club team as a junior and senior. “It’s tons of fun but still competitive and challenging,” says James.

Majoring in civil engineering, James hopes to design buildings. As a civil engineer, he will be collaborating with architects to ensure that their vision is technically feasible and meets building code requirements. James credits his faculty advisor, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering Gunnar Lucko, with helping him succeed: “Dr. Lucko has helped me apply for and gain scholarships from engineering societies and has helped me land paid internships every summer.”

Lucko returns the admiration: Rating James’s academic performance as "excellent," he says James “exemplifies the best qualities of a Catholic University student. The engineering profession will gain a valuable new member.”

During two of his summer internships, James’s firm helped design new athletic fields for local middle schools and high schools. “As civil engineers, it’s our job to make the technical calculations to ensure the land is sustainable—that it won’t flood and that the product will last a long time," James said. "The work challenged me and taught me a lot.”