Old North Building
Category: General News, Student Experience

Title: New MSA president brings leadership experience, bold vision to McCourt

Elsa Ingwersen
Elsa Ingwersen (MPP’24)

Elsa Ingwersen (MPP’24) almost decided not to run for president of the McCourt Student Association (MSA). Despite an abundance of leadership experience, she struggled with imposter syndrome, doubting her talents and preparedness for MSA’s top leadership position.

“My friends reminded me that as a vibrant, compassionate and creative problem solver, I had the leadership skills and vision required for the position,” said Ingwersen. 

As an undergraduate studying astrophysics at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Ingwersen was the president of the Association for Women in Mathematics, the vice president of the Honors Student Association and the lead tutor of the Digital Studio. In her first year at the McCourt School, Ingwersen served on the New Student Committees of the Women in Public Policy Initiative (WiPPI) and MSA. 

Last spring, just weeks before MSA elections, Ingwersen faced a number of personal setbacks, including the death of her beloved pet, Pluto, and a broken ankle. She leaned on her McCourt community for support.

“​​My peers gave me comfort when I needed it most,” she said. “I continue to be inspired by their kindness, intelligence and passion. They are the reason I chose to run for MSA president.”

Everyone has different experiences and beliefs that shape their reality. I endeavor to create spaces where people feel safe to be their authentic selves and that encourage creative and collaborative problem-solving as well as genuine connection.

Elsa Ingwersen (MPP’24)

Setting goals centered on belonging and community

As she steps into her new role, Ingwersen is focused on creating “authentic connections and collaborative growth.”

The new MSA leadership team aims to encourage more collaboration and expand a number of successful MSA initiatives from the last academic year, including the JEDI roundtable and alumni mentor program.

2023-2024 MSA leadership team
2023-2024 MSA leadership team

“My biggest goal for the year is to help build a sense of belonging and community within McCourt,” said Ingwersen, whose focus is on addressing results from the spring 2022 Cultural Climate Survey

Developed by the McCourt Inclusive Environments Committee in partnership with MSA, the survey gave students the opportunity to reflect on a range of issues related to their experience at McCourt, including their sense of belonging, experiences inside and outside the classroom and involving bias, and University resources and responsiveness.

According to the 2022 Cultural Climate Survey, 53% of responses indicated that they felt isolated when they first came to McCourt.

“By the end of my term, I want to drastically reduce those percentages by encouraging collaboration across all McCourt student-led organizations, facilitating vulnerable conversations around mental health and creating more opportunities for authentic connection,” said Ingwersen.

“I’m most excited to work with other student-led organizations to create a lasting impact at McCourt,” she said. “MSA is already supporting WiPPI’s efforts to increase gender equity and intersectionality at McCourt.” 

In the spring of 2024, Ingwersen hopes to host workshops for navigating mental health coverage with student insurance and lead meaningful conversations around disparities in mental health. She would also like to establish an intersectional environmentalism event in collaboration with McCourt Energy & Environment and other organizations focused on environmental policy and activism through the lenses of equity, inclusivity and restorative justice. 

“We’re in the early stages of planning,” said Ingwersen, “but I hope we can build a strong foundation for this to become an annual, cornerstone event.”

Learn more about McCourt’s student organizations and how to get involved here.