SVSU tennis player Danielle Slonac’s hard work and dedication paid off, as she was awarded the Great Lakes Bay Region YWCA Emerging Leader Award.
“I was very humbled and honored to receive this award from the YWCA,” Slonac said. “All of the women that were honored are so incredible and empowering, and the way they give back to the community and help others is truly inspiring. To be considered among them as an emerging leader and to be able to represent SVSU is such a special honor that has meant so much to me.”
Slonac, a senior, was one of four women to receive the award. Accepting on behalf of SVSU, she joined the stage with representatives from Central Michigan University, Delta College, and Northwood University. The Emerging Leader Award is given to those women who best exemplify leadership through her actions and character and strive toward the empowerment of women and commitment to community.
Slonac, who has represented SVSU as a student-athlete for the last four years, was nominated by her coach, Jennifer Boehm.
“You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who takes on the level of responsibility and workload that Danielle has over her college career,” Boehm said. “She has set the standard for academic excellence, not only on our team, but was also recognized as the top senior GPA for student-athletes. I’m just really proud of her and what she has been able to accomplish.”
A triple major in finance, business management and supply chain management, Slonac is also a Vitito Fellow and was a member of the Cardinal Business Edge program.
“I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of so many wonderful programs and organizations at SVSU,” Slonac said. “With the busy schedule that comes with this, I always try to find time to give back whenever I can. My family and friends have always instilled in me the importance of volunteering and being involved with the community, so no matter what else I have going on in my life, I strive to make that a top priority.”
Fellow senior Shea Donahue has spent the last four years traveling, playing and bonding with Slonac. The two were in the same recruitment class and bring out the best in one another.
“For the last four years, I’ve had the privilege of not only being a teammate of Danielle’s but considering her a lifelong friend,” Donahue said. “This award is just the icing on the cake for all she has achieved on and off the court. The past four years, I have seen Danielle grow into an exceptional leader. She is very humble … but I know she appreciates the recognition for her hard work. Danielle has worked over and above all, she always sets high expectations for herself and has always succeeded in reaching them.”
A native of St. Clair, Slonac is active on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and participates with various subcommittees. With the tennis team, she has led tennis clinics and tennis lessons at local schools. Bringing joy to others is what she finds most rewarding.
“I think that even doing little things can make a big difference and that small acts of kindness can have more of an impact on other’s lives than we may realize in the moment,” Slonac said. “Anything I can do to make someone’s life even just a little bit better is my favorite way to give back.”
She credits Boehm for helping her and the team get involved with the community. As both a member of the tennis team and a Vitito Fellow, she has had ample opportunities to become engaged with the community.
Slonac is graduating SVSU with a high regard of the impact that the university has had on her.
“Being a student at SVSU has really strengthened my confidence in myself and my leadership capabilities, as well as my passion to make a positive impact on others,” Slonac said. “The people that make up the SVSU community are so genuinely kind, supportive and inspiring, and they have created an environment that has allowed me to grow as a student, leader and person. I’m so grateful that I decided to come to SVSU, and I will always be incredibly proud to be a Cardinal.”