Alyssa Toshimitsu chose Winthrop University for its size and the numerous opportunities to get involved on campus. The Santa Clarita, California, native also appreciated the mild South Carolina climate.
During her time here, she has taken advantage of the many opportunities: in addition to a full class load and an internship at Agape Senior Hospice, she has been an Orientation Leader, including student director of the group; a Residence Life Assistant; member and officer of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority; member of the DiGiorgio Student Union Board; an Emerging Leader; a student ambassador; and a member of the Fraternal Conduct Board, just to name a few. Her involvement recently earned her the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award, presented annually to a student who have given great service to the university, and a Woman of Excellence nomination.
Toshimitsu is quick to turn the spotlight away from herself.
“Everything I’ve done on campus is because I love my students,” she said. “I’m passionate about students, and I believe everyone has potential.”
That passion has steered Toshimitsu’s path at Winthrop. She started as a mathematics education major, but her heart was pulling her in a different direction. She walked through Bancroft Hall and talked to different professors about their majors, including Associate Professor of Social Work Cynthia Forrest.
“I feel like I can read passions off of people,” she said. “If you’re not passionate about what you do, I can’t feel it either. When she started talking about it, I just felt it.”
Toshimitsu changed her major to social work. She’s found many mentors on campus, such as Vice President for Student Life Frank Ardaiolo, Residential Learning Coordinator Steve Schuh, Assistant Professor of Social Work Kareema Gray and Director of New Student and Parent Programs Carrie Whiteside.
“[Carrie Whiteside] is my mentor, my go-to person,” she said. “I can’t thank her enough because I would not be able to be the leader I am if not for her.”
As she prepares to graduate with a degree in social work, she said Winthrop is “hard to leave.” She plans to pursue a master’s degree in higher education administration in student affairs from North Carolina State.
Last updated 5/7/2015