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As a youngster, Daniel Klodarska ’13 knew lacrosse was the sport for him because, as he explained it, “Baseball was too stagnant. I like lacrosse because I’m always in motion.”
Klodarska may have been referring to the game, but “always in motion” applies equally to his life off the field. Fueled by enormous energy and drive, shaped by discipline and fearless in the face of hard work, Klodarska is a scholar-athlete who has made the dean’s list every semester and maintains a 3.89 GPA. In 2011, he was among 12 student-athletes honored as a member of The Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area Men’s Lacrosse Team, a recognition he jokingly downplays, insisting the other players on that roster are so skilled, “They make me look better than I am.”
A lacrosse player since third grade, Klodarska also played football and wrestled in high school, where he described himself as being more focused on sports than academics. That focus, however, made him a standout, which is how he ended up at Immaculata, the place where he would come into his own academically. “It was lacrosse that brought me to Immaculata,” he said. “The coaches reached out to me. That really made the decision for me. At the time, I didn’t know anything about the Business and Accounting Department, but once I got here, I knew business was what I wanted to study.
“I hit my academic stride at Immaculata,” he continued. “I learned from the beginning that it’s what you put into it. To get the most out of every course, you have to do things on your own, read The Wall Street Journal, keep up with what’s happening currently. When you go into a job interview, they’re not asking you what your textbook says. I really appreciate how my teachers emphasized that. For you to really excel, it’s all about what you do beyond the classroom.”
Klodarska is such an aggressive student he could have graduated early, but decided to complete another major and play lacrosse. “I took so many courses when I got here that I was going to be finished early with my degree in finance. So I added business administration after my junior year so I would still be a full-time student, which is a requirement to play.” A dual major, with a minor in entrepreneurship, an internship at Scottrade, plus a full sports schedule would have been enough to keep anyone busy, but a glance at Klodarska’s activities and accomplishments reveals that he is far from “anyone.”
Klodarska has held the position of RA (resident assistant) as a sophomore and junior, becoming head RA for his senior year. “The main responsibility of an RA is to provide a safe, healthy environment, and make it fun and interactive at the same time. You hold events, build camaraderie and deal with issues or problems. The end goal is to build a community on your hallway.”
He is president of the Business Club and vice president of Enactus, a community of student, academic and business leaders committed to using the power of entrepreneurship to enable human progress. He has represented the lacrosse team on the Student Athletic Advisory Committee since his sophomore year and, most recently, he helped the Athletics Department to create a student cheering section called The Dog Pound. “We had a little pep rally, and it’s really nice to have a set student section at the basketball games.”
Klodarska also was asked by the Business and Accounting Department to help develop a project to create brand recognition through a course designed to teach high school students about personal finance. “We conducted a marketing analysis to see if we could do this, and my group and I came up with a basic outline of what it would look like and what schools would want out of it.” Working with fellow student Dan Burns ’14, Klodarska launched the College Cash Course, www.immaculata.edu/college-cash-course. “Dan helped me create the website for it and high school kids are drawn to it. They can learn about personal finance and get introduced to the University.”
One of the biggest projects he undertook, one with global reach and impact, was working with HumanKind Water, a non-profit that sells water bottles with all net proceeds going to fund water filtration systems and wells in third-world countries for populations without access to clean drinking water. When the founder and director of the organization, TJ Foltz, came on campus to speak, Klodarska was intrigued and inspired. “When he talked about the work they were doing, I was pretty moved and I saw an opportunity to help. I wasn’t a member of Enactus until this project came about, but I wanted to lend whatever assistance I could.”
Klodarska and fellow Enactus members worked with HumanKind Water to develop a low-budget marketing plan and initiate a social media blast that helped move the product off the shelves of Walmart. “It was very exciting. We had lots of student involvement and we helped HumanKind sell more than 74,000 bottles, which meant they were able to produce nine systems serving thousands of people.”
The project was one of three developed by IU’s Enactus team that won a regional championship in Baltimore, where schools such as University of Pennsylvania and Carnegie Mellon each won in a different league. “It’s nice to be able to say we’re winning competitions along with schools like that.”
During Christmas break, Klodarska traveled to New Orleans with Campus Ministry to work on the service project that has been ongoing since Hurricane Katrina. “It was an unbelievable experience,” he said. “We were able to meet the woman whose house we worked on and hear her story. It still makes me upset. She got her insurance check, paid someone to rebuild her home, and he just disappeared. Then her husband passed away two months into the renovations, but she was finally able to move back in right before Easter. We heard so many of these stories. We were just so happy we could be there. Helping people is important in my life.”
Along with all of his academic and extracurricular commitments, one of the toughest challenges Klodarska faced came last year when he sustained a major sports injury. “I tore a ligament in my knee and I was out all year. It wasn’t as physically painful as I thought it would be, but it was tough mentally. I’d never been out for more than two weeks. I had to have surgery and it was a long recovery, but our trainers did a really good job with me. I’m back and I feel great.”
The future looks bright for Klodarska and his plans include working for an investment firm, though he is also investigating potential opportunities in international sales. “I’d like to work for a few years before entering a master’s program,” he said, mentioning the Wharton School as an eventual possibility.
“I don’t have any regrets,” said Klodarska. “I did everything I set out to accomplish. There are a lot of opportunities at Immaculata. When I showed that I was capable of taking on more responsibility, doors opened up. Great opportunities come to you here. At bigger schools, you can get lost. But at IU, you have all these wonderful things right in front you.”