Harrison Leon, a junior conflict analysis and dispute resolution major, was chosen as the "Sea Gull Who Soars” for the month of February.
The "Sea Gull Who Soars” is a program in which peers, faculty and staff at Salisbury University can nominate an SU student who devotes themselves to being a phenomenal citizen in the community.
Leon was nominated by junior earth science major Summer Bingaman, who thought that Leon was doing great work for the world that people need to know about.
Leon initially came from Paoli, Pennsylvania and came into SU as an undecided major. He started to focus on environmental science because of his passion for health and fitness.
With the help of a friend, he was able to start getting into conflict analysis and dispute resolution. Leon wants to get a master’s degree in public policy and a law degree. He aims to run for public office, but first wants to start out as a policy analyst.
Leon has been able to connect the different activities that he loves while also being able to help the community. He has aided various programs both on campus and off campus.
A notable success that Leon played a role in is the Leadership Alliance & Off-Street Performance, where he was able to provide $1,000 worth of donations from a Go-Fund Me that he set up by himself.
“I love working out, I love health and fitness, and I thought a great way to give back to the community was to create a nonprofit for underprivileged youth. I thought that the strategic fit would be to create a connection between the university and community with this kind of fitness program,” Leon stated.
Leon has also been able to benefit the SU community with the proposal of bringing the Laridae to SU’s campus.
Coming to SU during the fall semester of 2019, the Laridae is an academic journal that would be able to provide students with the ability to write for a multi-disciplinary journal where they are not defined by their studies.
The Laridae will be available online for students and there will be 200 print copies to be placed on campus. Leon is the editor-in-chief.
In 2018, Leon interned with The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and worked with the Social and Human Sciences Sectors in the Youth Division.
Leon was able to work administratively on various projects concentrated on preventing violent extremism, with a main focus toward the Middle East and North Africa.
He attended the fellowship program with SU students Dana Day and Nathan Sansom.
“During his six-month fellowship at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France in [the] spring 2018 semester, he interned and worked with many people across the globe on projects that will hopefully reduce and eliminate this extremism, while targeting the youth population,” Summer Bingaman said.
Dr. Brain Polkinghorn, a distinguished professor in conflict analysis and dispute resolution, met Leon two years ago during his freshman year and was able to introduce Leon to the director general of UNESCO.
“He is just out there, a super accomplished young man but he’s so approachable. He is an accomplish[ed] guy even at this young stage of his life and yet he’s modest,” Polkinghorn said.
Leon was also able to go to Tunisia from April 8 to April 14 to attend a conference to help prevent violent extremism.
"My experiences abroad also taught me how multinational organizations get involved in nationally-led programs or nationwide programs,” Leon said.
Without the help of Polkinghorn, the entire conflict analysis and dispute resolution department, Carolina Bown and others, Leon believes would not be in the position that he is right now.
In his advice to his fellow peers, Leon revealed his key to success has revolved around his tendency to be curious and ask questions.
“I would say start off by asking question. It’s provided me with a lot of opportunities, it put me in positions where I am, the ability to seize more opportunities and it also just taught me more along the road,” Leon said.
For more information on the "Sea Gulls Who Soar” or to nominate a peer, see:
By SYLLIA NEWSTEAD
Featured photos: Harrison Leon images.