Mary Lenyo: Sister, Volunteer, Leader and Fighter

You're likely to come across the bubbly, kind, and powerful Mary Lenyo while she works in The Stud, studies in The Lib with her sisters, or volunteers at local animal shelters. Her campus presence and personal strength are sure to be the catalysts that lead Lenyo to take her future in the advertising world by storm.

Originally from Hamilton, NJ, Mary is a Marketing major and is a member of Sigma Kappa, Animal Benefits Club and the American Marketing Association here at TCNJ.

"I rushed my freshman year unsure if it was what I wanted to do, but I definitely do not regret it," Lenyo said about her Greek life experience. Sigma Kappa has brought her so many great friends and a support system that she doesn't believe she would have found anywhere else. On top of the life-long friendships the organization brought, Lenyo is able to volunteer and attend philanthropic events through Sigma Kappa.

Lenyo's personal passion for animals and animal rights led her to become the Vice President of Animal Benefits Club, and organization at TCNJ that volunteers at local animal shelters and fundraises for animal rights organizations. "Volunteering at the local Ewing and Trenton animal shelters is such a rewarding experience," Lenyo said, and nothing compares to the excitement she feels when she helps these animals find their forever homes.

Although Lenyo is often busy with clubs and volunteering, she spends a lot of her time at the Brower Student Center, where she works as the Undergraduate Student Manager. She has been working at The Stud since her sophomore year and says she has developed a true passion for the job. "Ask anyone," she said, "...The Stud has brought me experiences I will never forget, as well as lifelong friends." She's often the one who opens The Stud's doors at 7 a.m. and manages and aids the various events and people who walk in and out of this central hub on campus.

The radiant, passionate, community-driven Mary Lenyo I have described received a life-changing diagnosis in August of 2017. She was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. The cancer, along with other personal issues she was enduring at home, led 2017 to be what Mary described as the hardest year of her life. She underwent two surgeries and a round of treatment, and she is currently in remission. Lenyo is waiting to hear official word about her last treatment, but her progress has been outstanding!

"You never think you are going to hear those words - 'it's cancer' - especially when you're 20-years-old," Lenyo said.

Throughout the process of the diagnosis, surgeries, and treatment, Mary has remained tremendously positive and up-beat. "I am a generally positive person and tried to remain positive for the entire process," she said, "which I think was the most important part of getting through it." Mary's coworkers, who worked with her in the months she got the news, acknowledged that her happy bubbly personality never faded. Mary attributes much of her strength and mental well-being to the strong friendships she has at home and at school. "It's okay not to be okay and to reach out to people for support," she said. "TCNJ has given me the greatest people to rely on to keep me feeling positive when I feel down."

Lenyo has a remarkably bright future ahead of her. She will be spending the coming Maymester studying abroad in Italy - which will be her second semester abroad in Europe. She's also excited to begin her professional career in the advertising sector of marketing, which has always attracted her. And she's excited to continue making memories with great friends by her side.

"This past year has been one with many downs but also a lot of ups, and I don't think I would have been able to handle it without the great people in my life," Mary said. "I learned a lot about myself and am actually so thankful for that."

A special note from Mary: "If you think something is wrong, get it checked out! I had so many people tell me it was nothing, only to discover that it indeed was not nothing!"


All photos courtesy of Mary Lenyo