Get inspiration from one special individual who’s making a difference

Daryn Frischknecht was involved heavily in her high school’s student council, serving ultimately as student body president. She was also a member of NHS. Today, she works as a staff assistant for Congressman Chris Stewart (of Utah’s 2nd district). As staff assistant, her responsibilities range from conducting research and tracking legislation on labor policy issues to managing interns.

Advise: Please describe your journey as a student leader. What role(s) did you play? How did they lead you where you are now? 

Frischknecht: My journey as a student leader was kind of a roller coaster. I first became interested in student government in middle school, running for office in sixth, seventh, and eighth grades and never actually winning an election. It was something I wanted to be involved in so badly, so I ran again in high school. I was elected to office every year in high school, serving as student body president my senior year. From there, my whole life began to revolve around participating and performing as a student leader. I wanted to be involved. I wanted to be a part of the decision-making process. I wanted to make a difference.

I was thoroughly involved in student government in college, serving as the student advocate vice president. Through this position I was able to represent my peers’ ideas, concerns, and needs to the university administration, as well as local, state, and national government. One summer during college I moved to Washington, D.C., to participate in an internship on Capitol Hill. I was able to witness how leadership can build—and destroy—a nation. I felt an immense urge to be a part of this, and to use my skill set and knowledge for good.

Advise: What skills did you pick up from your time as a student leader that you now use on a daily basis? 

Frischknecht: Some of the most important skills I learned as a student leader revolve around communication. Taking on a leadership role helped me to provide clarity and keep my council on the same page to ultimately achieve success together. Communication harbored confidence in my dealings with others and continues to do so. Now in my career, communication helps me convey ideas, promote productivity, and be a part of a team to find success.

Advise: What is your fondest memory from your years as a student leader? What activities did you find most engaging? 

Frischknecht: The activities I found the most engaging as a student leader were the ones where the whole school was fighting for the same cause. As student body president, my council and I made service a priority throughout campus. We really tried to engage the whole school in our different causes from coat drives to campus clean-up days. My high school ended the school year as one of the top schools in the state for the most service hours.

Advise: What advice would you give the student leaders of today? 

Frischknecht: Remember that high school is not the end-all be-all. The things you are learning as a student leader can help you truly make a difference in the world! Dream big and work hard. The world needs leaders like you. —