Between maintaining the high academic marks that keep her on the dean’s and honor’s lists semester after semester, working as a campus tour guide in the President’s Society, and leading the Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership cadet corps, it is hard to imagine how Kaylyn Lonergan ’16 finds time to train and compete on the Mary Baldwin cross country team. But, if you ask her, it is running that keeps everything else on track.

“Sometimes it’s a challenge to set aside time to run, but after I get going, I realize that it’s one of the most important things I do,” said Lonergan, who started running recreationally in high school in her hometown of Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

Reflection. Planning. Setting goals. Lonergan uses her time on the trail to mentally connect the various aspects of her undergraduate journey while pushing herself physically. Logging miles gives her the space to think ahead to the next steps in her busy life. Or not. Sometimes, the realization that she only needs to think about breathing, striding, and pacing the next mile is intensely satisfying.

Lonergan applies the same solid work ethic to her training, coursework, and leadership positions in the Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership (VWIL). As a junior, she served in one of the corps’ highest ranks, Sergeant Major, the cadet in charge of corps’ accountability for the regimental system. In that position, she offered the following inspiring remarks to new VWIL recruits:

“Throughout this program, you have the opportunity to apply leadership into your own life as a nULL and upper class cadet. By embarking in nULL year, you are going to build your own definition of leadership, struggle together, and succeed together. This is an outstanding journey that is unlike any other.“

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