Two Worlds Colliding: 8 QUESTees Tapped into ODK

Omicron Delta Kappa, better known as ODK, is the National Leadership Honor Society with a chapter at the University of Maryland. Membership in the organization is a great honor and is bestowed upon students with outstanding leadership. The most recent UMD induction took place on December 2nd, and we are very excited to share that eight of inductees also belong to the QUEST community. Doron Tadmor, the youngest-ever President of ODK at UMD and a QUEST student in Cohort 29, expressed that ODK has the ability to “bring together a network of leaders across campus into one organization.” Jacob Lapidus (Q27), David Polefrone (Q32), Ari Riske (Q29), Julia Roh (Q27), Barret Rus (Q30), Ankit Sheth (Q29), and Alex Tran (Q27) are the QUEST students who were admitted into ODK this semester. Alongside them, Dr. Joe Bailey was inducted as a faculty member.

ODK, like QUEST, is an amazing community of people who push themselves to be their best. Ari from Cohort 29 said, “I feel like I have always surrounded myself with people who are stronger, smarter, and more insightful than I am which pushes me to consistently grow. It feels incredible to be inducted into such a prestigious organization with so many diversified leaders who can teach me so much.” ODK is an organization that has a great mix of people. Current ODK member Nikhil Modi (Q30) emphasizes the amazing network of peers that exist within the program. Nikhil urges the inductees to “learn as much as they can from the experiences of other talented leaders around them.”

It may seem like a funny coincidence that so many QUEST members were admitted into ODK. However, the inductees attest that there is actually great parallel between both organizations. Julia Roh from Cohort 27 feels that “QUEST students are some of the most passionate and intelligent students [she] has met.” Another inductee, Jacob Lapidus (Q27), told me that “QUEST ranked among the top activities in the ODK application, and the exposure to different types of thinkers, teams, and projects definitely contributed to [Jacob’s] confidence as a leader.” Nikhil feels that at their cores, ODK and QUEST are working towards the same goal. He says, “Members of ODK are leaders on campus who work relentlessly to improve their own organizations, bringing them from a current state to a more ideal state.”

All of the students in the QUEST program recognize Dr. Bailey as a true leader and as someone who has put the QUEST community’s interests first, time and time again. To be inducted, side by side, with such a motivating and inspiring figure in QUEST was very exciting for the new ODK members. Barret from Q30 said, “It was a pretty unique experience considering [Dr. Bailey] is the one who imparts knowledge onto us through 390H… He is a real testament to how well the guild prepares students for success inside and outside of the classroom.” On a similar note, Ari feels like Dr. Bailey “pushes us all to think about what we are capable of. Of course, he has also achieved an incredible amount in his lifetime and serves as a personal role model… He embodies every pillar of ODK, exemplifying what many of us should aim to be more like.”

ODK as an organization has a very positive impact on campus. Ankit from Cohort 29 feels empowered to have another platform for him to use to make a change. Previously, Ankit “looked up to the people who are in ODK as they have served as role models, mentors, and great friends” and now he is happy to be one of them. When I asked Alex Tran for advice to QUEST students regarding a potential future in ODK, he said something that really stuck with me. Alex said, “Getting tapped should never be the goal. College is too short to spend time doing things just to improve your resume. Find things you love and dive in. Become a leader and focus on leaving the community a better place than when you first saw it. If you can do that, you will without a doubt get tapped.”

Doron feels that having so many QUEST students in ODK “shows how QUEST students are going above and beyond to be leaders and change makers across campus.” It is really amazing and inspiring to see that members of the QUEST community are constantly pushing themselves and pursuing remarkable experiences and achievements. David Polefrone of Q32 says that “becoming a part of ODK is a great reward, but the real benefits of leadership are derived from the connections you make along the way.” Like anything else, the joys of a new journey are just coming about for our QUEST students in ODK, and we wish them all the best! Congrats ODK inductees, we look forward to seeing what the future holds! Keep up the good work!  

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