Senior Mallory Roughton focuses on community building both before and after graduating from Lees-McRae

Those who know senior Mallory Roughton, as many Bobcats do, know that the Exercise Science major can’t stay still for very long. That is why, when she came to college, Roughton set a goal for herself to be as involved with the college and campus life as she could.

“A lot of the seniors on the soccer team my freshman year were really involved, and that was something I was really drawn to. I had been involved in a lot of different stuff at my high school, and I don’t like sitting still and not doing anything,” Roughton said. “I like being busy, so I said, ‘I want to see how much stuff I can do.’”

Over the past three years─Roughton is graduating a year early thanks to coming in as a freshman with a significant number of dual-enrollment credits─she has certainly achieved that goal. In addition to her courseload in the Exercise Science program, Roughton is the goalkeeper on the women's soccer team and a defensive player on the women's lacrosse team. She is the vice president of the student leadership organization Order of the Tower (OT), and the president of Students Today, Alumni Tomorrow (STAT), which highlights the transition from student to alum by focusing on philanthropy and campus engagement. She is also a resident assistant for Baldwin, Bentley, and McMillan halls, a peer tutor in the Burton Center for Student Success, and has even worked in the dining hall.

While Roughton said each of these clubs and organizations have taught her countless lessons and skills and have helped her grow, her motivation to be involved on campus comes from a deeper desire to be a leader in the community and have an influence on the world around her.

As a member of OT, Roughton’s responsibilities include talking about Lees-McRae with prospective students and their families and conducting tours of the campus. On a recent tour Roughton said she had a moment where she realized that she had truly accomplished her goal to be deeply involved in campus and student life.

“I was giving a tour and I had said hello to a few different people, and one of the students on the tour said, ‘wow, you know everyone on campus,’” Roughton said. “Being that person that people can come to and ask where something is or who they should speak to about something has been beneficial in helping me make connections.”

Roughton’s expertise on the college will come in handy even after she graduates. Although she has plans to go back to school, pursue a graduate degree, and eventually establish a career as an athletic trainer, Roughton will first take a year off school to come back to Lees-McRae and work as an admissions counselor.

This path will allow her to continue making use of the extensive knowledge she has gained about Lees-McRae and keep strengthening the relationships she has built with staff, faculty, and her fellow students. Finding a place where she could establish these kinds of strong relationships was important to her in selecting a school for college and remains important when Roughton thinks about the graduate schools and careers she will pursue in the future.

“Finding a job where there is a community, where there are people to go and talk to that you can have good friendships and good relationships with is important,” Roughton said. “I found that in different groups and things here at Lees-McRae, so finding that in a workplace would be beneficial.”

Roughton said her vision of a healthy work environment, along with personal skills such as time management and effective communication, were some of the most significant takeaways from her undergraduate career.

By Maya JarrellMarch 31, 2023