I wanted to be there for them—to be able to mentor them and provide guidance and leadership. it’s just what you do when you’re part of a team.
Over his four years at Elizabethtown, sociology/anthropology major David Spelfogel ’11 has found joy and aptitude in coaching others to success. “I’ve realized that I have a calling to help people,” he reflects.
Some of David’s best memories center around his experiences on the Mock Trial Team. “My participation has really showed me what I can do,” he explains. “It has taught me how to work as a team, how to communicate ideas, and how to analyze arguments.”
As a junior, David saw the team—then loaded with graduating seniors—achieve success that positioned them among the best in the region. “Our case theories were flawless. We had such good witnesses and attorneys,” he recalls of the team that lost a heartbreaker in regional competition. “We fell just short against some really tough competition.”
After watching a great opportunity slip away, David could have chosen not to return for a rebuilding year. Instead, he rejoined the group as president and captain with a focus on the future. “This year, we have a pretty young group so I wanted to be there for them—to be able to mentor them and provide guidance and leadership,” he reflects about his decision. “It’s just what you do when you’re part of a team.” Over the past year, he’s been proud of their success, and he’s achieved a bit of his own, winning the all-region outstanding attorney award at the 2011 regional mock trial competition.
David approaches his role as a teaching assistant in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology in much the same way—not by giving away answers, but by developing skills that last a lifetime. “I love working with younger students and trying to help them answer their own questions, while at the same time guiding them and building their confidence,” he says.
And, someday, his coaching will help juvenile offenders as they put their life back on track. “I’m gearing myself toward either working with adolescents who have behavioral problems or getting my master’s degree in clinical psychology or counseling,” he says. “A lot of offenders have drug and alcohol problems, and they need treatment instead of just imprisonment. Working in a rehabilitation setting, I could help those individuals.”