Every fall, third-year students elect their fellow classmates to represent them and their ICE blocks at Commerce Council. The eight student reps serve as integral figures at the School, promoting camaraderie within their blocks and helping to reinforce the positive attributes of maintaining a tight-knit block culture that helps foster important connections and peer support—no small detail, considering the demanding academic schedule of McIntire students.
We caught up with the new student reps to ask them about their involvement and what they’re looking forward to accomplishing with the ICE blocks that they serve:
Block 1: Caroline Burda
A Northern Virginia native studying Finance and Information Technology, Burda spent her second year working in a research lab, studying aggressive cancer treatment, and was a volunteer EMT with the Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad. She also explored her interest in finance by volunteering as an income tax preparer with Creating Assets, Savings, & Hope (CASH) and is hoping to combine her passions for the bioscience industry with business.
Block 2: Tyler Windsor
With student politics experience, Windsor comes to his new position well prepared. The Virginia Beach, VA, product served as president of the First Year Council and as a member of the Second Year Council. In addition, he held roles on the Lighting of the Lawn committee, was a member of the 2021 cohort of the Meriwether Lewis Institute, and is on the Alderman Library renovation committee. Windsor is also an employee for University Communications, where he helps film, and occasionally acts in, the office’s videos.
Block 3: Alex Naupari
Originally from Fairfax, VA, Naupari joined the Marine Corps after graduating from high school, spending four years stationed in California. After his military experience, he enrolled at Northern Virginia Community College, where he studied Business Administration, worked at the Office of Military and Veterans Services at NOVA, and served as vice president of the Student Veterans Association.
Block 4: JD Kim
Born in South Korea and raised in Centreville, VA, since he was five, Kim, a Finance and Accounting concentrator is double-majoring in Economics. He served as Association Council treasurer for his dorm as a first-year and planned events for his association. As a member of Alpha Phi Omega, he serves the Charlottesville community, and is also part of the Outdoors Club, Business Ethics Society, and Astronomy Club.
Block 5: Maggie Wittpenn
Hailing from Tewksbury, NJ, Wittpenn devoted part of her time during her first two years at UVA to working with the Women’s Rowing team and the University Programs Council and volunteering with Madison House.
Block 6: Zion Harris
Having started his University journey in the Summer Transition Program, Harris found the required involvement so necessary and helpful that he returned in the summers of 2018 and 2019 to be an intern for the program. Previous to his McIntire career, the Lynchburg, VA, native was part of Survivor at UVA, First Year Players, Black Student Alliance, and Cavs in the Classroom through Madison House. He is also serving his second year as a resident adviser for UVA Housing & Residence Life. In addition to representing Block 6, Harris is also a pre-Commerce liaison for the Black Commerce Student Network.
Block 7: Jenna Taylor
Jenna Taylor, from Greenville, SC, says she comes from an entrepreneurial family and has been intrigued by the world of business from a young age. Pursuing concentrations in Finance and Management, as well as a track in Global Commerce, she plans to minor in Spanish and study abroad in Spain in the spring. She is in her third semester as a project analyst for the Virginia Consulting Group, the treasurer of her sorority, and an indoor cycling instructor at Purvelo Charlottesville.
Block 8: Joe Siciliano
A Finance concentrator from Arlington, VA, Siciliano plays on UVA’s Men’s Ice Hockey Club team and is currently involved in CASH and ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) tutoring through Madison House.
With the semester just underway, what are your first impressions of McIntire thus far?
Burda: There is a very strong sense of support in the McIntire community, especially since everyone is going through the same trials and tribulations of managing ICE with recruiting and other extracurricular involvements. I also have really enjoyed the small, interactive classes. Everyone is really engaged in class discussions, and I have learned so much already.
Naupari: McIntire is a completely different environment than anything I’ve been a part of before. The students all care about each other, and the faculty are always willing to help us when we need it. The mentorship in the community is especially helpful to getting acclimated to the different life that we live as new McIntire students.
Harris: As expected, McIntire is a fast-paced environment, where it is essential that you stay up to date with what is going on in your classes and in your community. That being said, I have yet to leave a class without feeling prepared to handle a business situation more than when I came in. Being able to go to class each day and learn something new from not only my professors, but also my classmates, is a blessing that makes the McIntire experience very valuable.
How would you describe the characteristics of your block’s members?
Windsor: I would say my block is extremely hard working, engaged, and diverse. When we first introduced ourselves in class, I was shocked by the amount of diversity in my class. There are several people who were born in different countries, speak different languages, and have truly amazing background sand experiences.
Taylor: I have found that my block is very collaborative and that its members are very supportive of one another. Being accepted into both UVA and McIntire, it’s not surprising that many students have competitive tendencies. I think this was a big stressor for many students upon entering ICE, but our block has definitely disproved this stereotype.
Burda: My classmates are some of the coolest, most accomplished individuals I have ever met, and it has been an awesome experience so far. We learned quickly that we aren’t the best at kickball, but we still have an incredible bond.
How do you plan to strengthen block culture and camaraderie as a rep?
Kim: I plan on strengthening block culture by emphasizing the point to those in my block to be themselves and that there is no pressure to be someone else they’re not, no matter what point they are at in their life. Since we are all so diverse, there is a lot to be learned from each other. Since participating in McIntire is so important, I want to create an environment where we can support each other and try to see a subject from multiple lenses.
Wittpenn: I plan on hosting block-bonding activities throughout the semester to help us all relax and have fun—and most importantly—to get to know each other better. I am very excited to get my peers’ suggestions for things they would like to do in addition to Bodo’s breakfasts. To me, strengthening block culture means making sure that everyone feels welcome and comfortable, that everyone knows each other, and that we all have fun together despite the stressful and tough times we know are coming throughout the semester.
Naupari: I plan on getting our block together outside of class after big assignments to de-stress. I think that through adversity comes comradery, so the bond will happen through the ICE curriculum. My role is just to facilitate situations for everyone to get to know one another better, and I plan on doing that through mixers both inside and outside of McIntire.
What are you most looking forward to achieving with your involvement in Commerce Council as a representative of your block?
Siciliano: I am excited to get hands-on experience with budgeting and scheduling for a large group of people, while also learning how to reach compromises between different suggestions.
Harris: I look forward to giving back to a community that I already know is going to have a meaningful impact on the rest of my life. I plan to provide a meaningful experience for my block as well as the entire McIntire community, while also actively promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. I also plan to use being a block representative as a stepping stone for further involvement in Commerce Council.
Taylor: I hope to do whatever I can on my part to make ICE a little bit easier for my classmates. For example, I have started sending out a weekly newsletter every Sunday night to the block containing big deliverables, homework assignments, and events for the week in an effort to keep everyone organized. Although it sounds cheesy, I really do hope to serve as an effective liaison between the members of Block 7, our professors, and the rest of McIntire.