Member of the Week - Michelle LaCosse

September 21, 2015

Tamara Prabhakar

Meet this year’s first Member of the Week: President Michelle LaCosse!

How did you first get involved with IAA?


I first got involved with IAA probably the through the most normal way-the Activities Fair. I was swarmed by everyone per usual, and the free trip to China drew me in. I am also part of the Huntman program and even in the spring before I came to Penn and during Huntsman Day, upperclassmen told me to join the IAA and were very excited about it, so I got roped in through that network as well.

What are some of your goals as president?

Retention is a big goal for me. This year, we had a record number of applications, and unfortunately we were not able to take everyone for assistant level positions. A big motivation is to keep people actively engaged in the club. Also, I want to reach out to freshman a lot, like have coffee chats and just get to know them on a personal level. I know when I was a freshman and a sophomore, Exec was very intimidating, and this year I want to be very accessible.

Why do you think IAA is a thriving club, and why does it appeal to you?

I think IAA is appealing to everyone on campus because during recruitment we always say that there is something for everyone. Any interest you may have can be relayed somewhere in the club, and I think that were the only club on campus that actually validates this. With seven branches and all the initiatives, whether you like coding, bringing in speakers, organizing big events, or anything like that, we can directly relate it. If we don’t have something in the club, we can create something within one of our branches for you.

What’s been your most memorable experience with IAA?

During the summer after my freshman year, I had the opportunity to go to UNESCO, which is one of our international trips held in Beijing, China. It’s like a co-op between all the different schools like Harvard, Yale, Oxford, and UChicago. They all send like five kids, and it’s a lot of fun. I remember that going into the trip I was only good friends with one of the Penn kids and didn’t know the other four others very well. Then over the course of three days, we became best friends, and it was really amazing. Two of them graduated last year, but it was so cool that the IAA could bring us together in an international environment.

What do you think you are going to take away from the IAA experience?

I think skills wise, I’ve learned how to manage people, because the IAA brings in such diverse people internationally from all different grades and schools, so it’s definitely an interesting dynamic. Additionally, what I’m ultimately going to take away from the IAA experience are the friendships that I’ve made. I’m a senior now, so I had friends from three already graduated classes who were in the IAA. We still keep in touch, so I definitely have faith in maintain them.