Bartek Szymanski: Acting, President
Through heavy involvement with student government, Bartek Szymanski has been able to merge his studies and achievements in an unorthodox, yet extremely meaningful way.
Bartek Szymanski ’18 is feeling presidential. As the newly-elected president of the Student Government Association (SGA) on the New York City Campus, Szymanski hopes to decisively lead the student community that has challenged, informed, and positively impacted him as an undergraduate.
“When I came here, I knew I wanted to go into student government, and during Orientation I learned as much as I could,” says Szymanski. “I contacted all the student government executives; I picked up their constitution from Student Development and Campus Activities (SDACA). I did as much as I could to prepare myself.”
Szymanski’s commitment to preparation has served him well throughout his time at Pace, particularly in the realm of student government. Since joining SGA in 2014, Szymanski has been very active within the organization—he ran for office for four consecutive positions, and served in various posts prior to the presidency, including sophomore class president and executive parliamentarian.
Through years of meaningful work and campaigning, Szymanski has been able to piece together not only how different aspects of University operate, but also how he can unite them to help Pace function more effectively as a whole.
“I learned a lot and got the gist of how clubs and people work, and what needs to be fixed at Pace...I think campaigning is a great way to bring everything together,” says Szymanski.
As an Acting for Film, Television, Voice-Overs, and Commercials (FTVC) major at the Pace School of Performing Arts, Szymanski has been able to merge his distinct talents to forge his own unique Pace Path. For instance, his background in theater combined with his inclination for governmental involvement has enabled him to thrive as a member of the Mock Trial team—an extracurricular through which he’s gained a considerable amount of experiential learning. The team competed at the American Mock Trial Association Regional Tournament, where Szymanski won an All-Regional Witness award, and after competing in a competition with Ivy League heavyweights such as Columbia, Cornell, and Yale, became nationally ranked for the first time in Pace history.
Given his classroom experience in the arts, Szymanski looks at Mock Trial in an unorthodox, yet undeniably effective way—viewing it not only as a way to gain legal experience, but also as a way to brush up on his acting chops.
“I really enjoy the characters I play,” says Szymanski. “I think it’s such a great playground for actors to be witnesses…when you get crossed by another attorney, you have to be prepared and on your toes.”
Entering his final year as an undergraduate, Szymanski stresses that his accomplishments aren’t simply of his own doing, and that he continues to learn and be inspired by the Pace Community. He notes that opportunities are everywhere at Pace, and sometimes all it takes is to strike up a chat with a professor.
“The Pace Community really helped me out. The resources here are infinite. Professors—it is so important to stay after and just talk to them. I got invited to a very high-end club just because I stayed after and talked with my professor and showed interest.”
While Szymanski will undoubtedly go on to great things following his time as an undergraduate, he’s excited about discovering even more “hidden treasures” around campus during his senior year. As the semester reaches its halfway point, he’s already discovered one. Szymanski will be playing a role in the acclaimed pop-up reading series American Scoreboard, an incisive take on recent developments in Washington, D.C. when it comes to campus on October 23.
“This University has a lot of hidden gems that students just don’t know about. There are a lot of labs and clinics that people don’t take advantage of. I’ve found a lot of those hidden treasures, but I think there’s many hiding that I don’t know about."
As acting SGA President, it’s hard to say that Szymanski is hidden. But just like the labs, clinics, and people that he readily mentions, he’s undoubtedly quite the gem.
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