Thom Schlinck '19 - President of the Siena Mentoring Program and SAINT Orientation Leader

Whether he's playing a game of basketball against students in the Siena College Mentoring Program, singing at 7:00 mass on Sunday evenings in Psalm 150, perfecting his dance moves for Mr. Siena, or helping students acclimate themselves to campus as a SAINT orientation leader, Orangeburg, New York resident Thom Schlinck, to say the least, is involved on campus. ​

Image courtesy of Thom Schlinck/Facebook

Her Campus Siena: What do you do around campus?

Thom Schlinck: My favorite thing that I do around campus is my involvement in the Siena Mentoring Program, which is the oldest club on campus. We hang out with students from the Albany area and make connections with them to provide role models in their lives that they would not otherwise have.

HCS: Obviously, you’re almost everywhere at the same time, what is your favorite club/activity?

TS: Mentoring is probably my favorite, but another influential part of my Siena career has been my experience as a SAINT Orientation Leader. It is really cool to help freshmen join the community and show them that college is going to be okay and show them all of the opportunities offered around campus.

HCS: What made you choose Siena?

TS: With a strong family tradition and multiple connections to Siena, I figured I should apply after hearing such great stories. At Siena, you are a person rather than a number and I enjoyed the smaller school feel of this campus. This school is very student-focused and the personable professors solidified my decision to come here. There is also a general excitement about the community that is seen within each student on the campus which intrigued me.

HCS: Who is your favorite professor, and what has been your favorite class so far?

TS: My favorite professor is Dr. Tim Cooper in the History department. He was the very first professor I ever had, evidently, my first class on my first day of my freshman year. I thought I was so prepared to be a history student but was welcomed with a baptism by fire into the subject. Without the help of this professor so early in my Siena career I would not have had the same success that I’ve been having. My favorite class would have to be Exceptional and at-Risk-Learners with Dr. Evan. It's a class where we mainly talk about students that have various disabilities and how to integrate them into the classroom in a way that would encourage them to reach their full potential. As an aspiring educator, this class has helped me reconsider real-world issues that arise in the classroom and has solidified my commitment to this career choice.

HCS: Where is your favorite place on campus?

TS: One of my favorite places on campus is definitely the Grotto, because although popular, it is a quiet and peaceful place on campus that is a really good to go to and just think, pray or simply be. If a semester is really tough and I’m dealing with personal stuff, I’d definitely choose to be there. My other favorite place on the Siena campus is the Serra Mansion on the farther, more hidden side of campus. It has a beautiful big hill in the back and over the summer while on campus for mentoring camp, I would visit almost every day. I would love to sit there and read or take time to myself to decompress and relax after days full of activities and energy.

Image courtesy of Thom Schlinck/Facebook

HCS: What has been the most impactful experience during your time at Siena?

TS: Definitely my service trip to Nicaragua last year. I would not have had the same opportunity at any other point in my life to travel and spend time in such a special country. At one point during the trip, we stayed in the mountains of Nicaragua. While the group was there, we experienced an abundance of warmth and friendliness from the Nicaraguan people. These people were so willing to go out of their way to be kind, regardless of their less affluent lifestyle, and that really stood out to me.

Image courtesy of Thom Schlinck/Facebook

HCS: How do you think service trips impact people spiritually?

TS: I think service trips really open your mind and your heart more than any other travel that you might engage in. Especially from a faith perspective, seeing people in desperate situations with seemingly no hope that still hold on to their faith is extremely heartwarming. Trips like these tend to help you think differently about situations at home, in the U.S. They kind of force you to reconsider your own attitude and your own struggles as well as that of those around you.

Image courtesy of Thom Schlinck/Facebook

HCS: Why did you choose to pursue a career in education?

TS: When I was in high school there were a couple of teachers that really helped me through some difficult times, they helped me grow as a person. It’s a common theme that people have one specific teacher that would help them academically and also emotionally. Being able to reciprocate that for a living is something I would really enjoy, especially considering fact that I’m a HUGE history nerd.

HCS: Are you looking forward to Mr. Siena?

TS: I’m very much looking forward to Mr. Siena. It’s a really dumb and fun and cool experience to be a part of, especially for my second year. It’s an amazing opportunity to get so much closer with 7 other guys and to hopefully bring the Siena community closer together to support Habitat for Humanity and to give back to the community.

Image courtesy of Thom Schlinck/Facebook

HCS: What can students expect to see at Mr. Siena this year?

TS:  On February 3rd, expect to see a gratuitous amount of booty-shaking and a bunch of guys pretending to be better at dancing than they really are. There is a group of talented energetic handsome and creative men joining together to provide laughter and cheer for the Siena community and the local area through Habitat for Humanity.

HCS: What are you looking forward to the most in 2018?

TS: I am looking forward to being able to improve the things that have meant so much to me during my time here at Siena, and Mr. Siena. I am also looking forward to the Nicaragua trip that I am leading this year, being the president of the Mentoring Club, helping SAINTS help freshman this upcoming academic year, and focusing on making the most of my time.

HCS: Do you have any advice for students at Siena that are looking to get involved?

TS: A big thing is to just be open and ask people about their clubs. Siena is a welcoming environment and people love to talk about the things that they do. If you find something that you enjoy on campus, take it and run with it. For example with the Mentoring Program, I had never worked with kids before and was hesitant to join. I eventually saw it through and it’s become one of the most important things that I do on campus now. Simply stopping and looking around at the opportunities on this campus can help you find your passion without even realizing it.

Image courtesy of Thom Schlinck/Instagram

At Siena in particular, Thom finds a way to devote himself to every opportunity as if he has never done anything else, and as he would say himself, "I'm livin' the dream."