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The Founding President

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Joseph Colella ’19 founded the Political Science Society to spark more dialogue about politics on campus. Before his grand ambitions at Pace? He was part of the Grand Awkward, a band that’s actually on Spotify.

Joseph Colella ’19 was no stranger to Pace when he started looking into colleges. “I’m from Brooklyn, and the fifth person in my family on my dad’s side to attend Pace.” Still, he had very specific criteria in mind when considering higher education: a college that connected students with opportunities for personal and professional growth, and “somewhere that made me feel like I could leave a lasting impact,” he explained. Colella found that at Pace. It was settling on a major that proved a little more difficult.

“I went from wanting to major in aeronautical engineering to international business to even jazz performance,” he told us. It was the political climate in the mid-2010s (when former President Obama was serving his second year in office) that pushed him to study political science, but he wasn’t quite satisfied with that, either. “I always felt [like] I was missing some of the business and fiscal acumen in many conversations that inherently affected the politics I desperately wanted to be involved in.”

Motivated to learn more, he signed up for Professor Mark Weinstock’s macroeconomics class. “Boy,” Colella exclaimed, “That man knows how to change your beliefs.” Weinstock was instrumental in inspiring Colella to pursue a second major, and he’s now studying both political science and economics.

He had another interesting experience when he took public speaking with Professor Aditi Paul, PhD, the summer after his first year at Pace. “The class was almost entirely made up of veterans from different US military branches,” Colella said. He was one of only three non-veteran students, and since summer classes are, by design, scheduled to be much longer due to the shorter semester, Colella spent a significant amount of time getting to know his classmates. “[It’s] hard not to feel cool when you’re walking around with a couple of Marines during breaks.”

That experience, perhaps, informed Colella’s priorities as executive president of the Student Government Association (SGA) this year. “The Executive Board [and I] have been searching for ways to establish official representation for other student demographics, such as veterans,” he said, noting that he’d like to see Senate positions specified for transfer, international, and commuter students as well. Among his other plans (and there are many), Colella intends to instate what he calls “Setter Sit Downs,” or an increase in town halls, in order to recap after events that significantly affect the Pace Community.

Colella is also the founding president of Pace’s Political Science Society, which he launched in an effort to facilitate greater dialogue between students and the Political Science department. They’re currently planning to organize a panel of faculty and students regarding the 2018 Midterm Elections, an event he would also be speaking at. “It’s gaining the attention of many students outside the department, and I’m honored to be invited as a panelist,” Colella said.

During his time at Pace so far, he was awarded an Outstanding Position Paper award at the 2016 National Model United Nations conference, worked as a Resident Assistant (third year running), served the Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and volunteered for The Lowline and Generation Citizen. He’s currently working as an NYPD Auxiliary Police Officer in the First Precinct. Before all of that, though? Colella was actually a minor rock star.

“I was in a band in high school called the Grand Awkward, and we recorded an EP of two songs.” They’re still available on Spotify if you want to catch a listen. Colella’s the one on bass.

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