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  • Writer's pictureThe HYPE Team

You Can B Optimistic — Katelyn Petronack (’21) 

Updated: Sep 16, 2021

In the past year, staying positive hasn’t been an easy task, especially for yet another graduating class whose last year at Bentley has been marred by the pandemic. However, senior Katelyn Petronack’s optimism has remained unwavering throughout. Despite the myriad changes the pandemic has brought on, Katelyn has artfully turned them all into a positive. Even with the recent restrictions in place, that most students have deplored, Katelyn said, “it just means more quality time with my roommate.” And in discussing the plans of a virtual commencement, Katelyn simply said, “it means I’ll be able to spend it with my whole family at home.” But Katelyn’s positivity certainly doesn’t end there. Her optimistic outlook has also been ubiquitous during her time in the Kappa Delta sorority, as an Admissions Fellow, and as the Vice President of Marketing on the Senior Class Cabinet.

With the imposition of restrictions and safety guidelines caused by the pandemic, Katelyn knew her senior year wasn’t going to be normal. The typical events and mainstays of the graduating class’s final year have been turned upside down. Anticipating this, Katelyn joined the Senior Class Cabinet last summer and now serves as the Vice President of Marketing. While this is a relatively new involvement for her, the dedication she has brought has been essential to ensuring the class has a memorable year. Katelyn explained that the role of serving on the cabinet has changed this year and has “morphed into a role of amplifying my peers’ voices.” She also labeled the role as a “very big honor” to represent her class and advocate for her peers at a time when that could not be more important—and to ensure that the “senior experience” is the best it can be amid the pandemic.

“I wanted to be another person [prospective students] could turn to during the admissions process.”

While Katelyn knew she wanted to attend Bentley when she first stepped foot on campus during her first tour, there was a resource she wishes she had as a prospective student: an Admissions Fellow. When Katelyn started her junior year, she knew right away she wanted to apply to be an Admissions Fellow and do all she could to help the next classes of Bentley students. As an Admissions Fellow, Katelyn’s main tasks are interviewing high school seniors interested in applying to the school and recalculating GPAs, but Katelyn sees the position as much more than that. She sees herself as a voice for these prospective students and wants to be able to represent the school the best she can. With all the prospective students she has interviewed and spoken with, there is a common piece of advice she offers to all of them: “say yes to more opportunities—whether they are leadership positions or just joining organizations.” This advice stems from her own experience in which she said, “I wished I raised my hand a little earlier—because the things I did say yes to really shaped my experience at Bentley for the better.”

“I just want to leave places better than I found them—and I hope I’ve done that.”

Katelyn has also been a part of Bentley’s Kappa Delta sorority and is a founding member as well. During her tenure in the organization, she has served in numerous roles, including Vice President of Community Service, President, and is now the Alumni Chair. Katelyn has seen her time within the sorority as a way to help prepare the next generation of girls and as a way to really instill the values that the organization was founded on within the members. Despite being President last year throughout the pandemic, Katelyn saw plenty of “positives” that came from it, including a perfect retention rate among all of their members, stating, “I was so grateful to have led throughout the pandemic.” While her time with the organization is coming to a close, she could not be more optimistic about the way the organization is growing and will continue to grow in the future.

In almost any situation, no matter how big or small, Katelyn’s focus is always ahead—looking on the bright side. As someone who has served in various leadership roles, one of her guiding principles has always been “to find the positives—despite the hardships you may encounter along the way.” This philosophy has served her well within the organizations she has been a part of and even outside of them as well. And to those who fill the roles she will leave behind upon graduating, her message is simple, “I hope you do better than me”—always looking ahead at the bigger picture, rather than any one individual.

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