Junior Christine Longnecker was one of four candidates for this year’s local Athena Young Professional Award.
This prestigious award was established in 2007.
The Athena Young Professional Award is an extension of the prestigious Athena Award, which was established in 1982 and has been presented to over 6000 women leaders.
“All of the local colleges chose a student to be represented, and I was lucky enough to be the student chosen from Mercyhurst,” Longnecker said.
There are several qualifications to be nominated for the award, and Longnecker demonstrates all of them.
Some of the qualifications to be nominated for the award consist of leaders who demonstrate excellence, creativity and initiative, contribute time and energy to improve their community through service and serve as a role model for young women.
She met the criteria for the award and was nominated by Shelly Freyn, a professor at Mercyhurst.
Longnecker is an intelligence studies major, but there is much more to her than that.
She is on the Dean’s list and participates in several extracurricular activities. She was chosen to attend a conference in Washington, D.C., which focused on software for intelligence analysis. Longnecker is also part author of Insights and Analysis in 10 Minutes (or Less), a book published by the college.
Longnecker’s community service activities relate to her passion – the love of horses. Since 2007, she has volunteered for the Therapeutic Riding Equestrian Center (TREC), a local non-profit organization in Erie. She assisted in horse care and helping with classes for the disabled. From 2008-11, she ran an annual horse show, The Ultimate Cowboy Race, raising over $2,000 each year for TREC.
She also is a distinguished expert marksman, one of only seven members in the Erie area, and one of only three women with this honor. She shoots competitively, which is a unique trait, especially as a male-dominated sport. Her success helps empower women to learn the skill.
Overall, Freyn believes she is a role model and mentor for young women, constantly striving for excellence academically and achieving it.
Although Longnecker did not receive the award, being a nominee is a huge honor.
Longnecker said, “I could not have been more honored when I was selected as the nominee for the award. I will continue to strive for greatness in all that I do, and I will continue to help empower other young women to do the same.”