Lindsey Sikorski: Striving for excellence
Published: March 19, 2013
“We’ll be celebrating our first birthday,” said Lindsey Sikorski, referring to the establishment of the Marcellus Institute at Mansfield University.
Sikorski, who has just recently been promoted from interim director to director of the Marcellus Institute, has been the driving force behind the success of the institute; so much so that she has been selected to be one of the top 100 people in the coverage area of Pennsylvania Business Central and Marcellus Business Central. This is quite an honor as Sikorski is young and still fairly new in the business world. She has only been working in the Marcellus Shale field less than five years.
Sikorski was nominated anonymously to the Top 100 people, as one from many areas of business including hospitals, financial institutions, real estate, and education, covering over 20 counties of Pennsylvania.
It isn’t surprising that this young woman from Tioga County, Pa., would be nominated.
“I’ve always been a talker. I’ve always been a people person,” Sikorski said. “I think the thing that has made me so successful is my ability to interact with the community and promote Mansfield University.”
As far back as Sikorski can remember she has always strived to be the best that she could be. But she never thought after college she would be back in her hometown of Mansfield working at the university.
Growing up in Mansfield, Sikorski’s parents, Dave and Judy Sikorski were always supportive of her. As educational professionals themselves, they have instilled in their children the life-long learning that has made them successful. Sikorski’s two brothers and one sister are also in the education and business fields. Their parents offered their guidance and support for all of their activities.
Sikorski, who has always been a hard worker, was involved in many activities, in both high school and in college. At Penn State she was a criminal justice major with a minor in sociology and psychology, with a research emphasis. She wasn’t satisfied with a focus in only one area, trying to make herself as well-rounded as possible. Of course she had to include at least two research projects a year, which were then presented at various symposiums through Penn State.
Sikorski chose criminal justice as her major because at the time that she was heading to college she was interested in criminal profiling.
“I found it fascinating to try to understand the psychology of the criminal mind,” Sikorski said.
When she graduated from Penn State in 2003 she came back home to Tioga County to work with youth offenders in a residential treatment center. She enjoyed the work, but felt a need for more interaction with people and the community. When the position of Work Force Development and Noncredit Program Director opened at Mansfield University, she applied and got the job.
From 2004 until 2012 Sikorski handled community outreach for the university in a variety of capacities.
“I took care of everything from room rental and conference and camp planning to organizing training programs and noncredit programs,” Sikorski said. “And a few other work force development grant programs that worked with business or industry.”
In March 2012, when Interim President Dr. Allan Golden established the Marcellus Institute, they were considering an off-campus hire, but realized that Sikorski’s past knowledge and self-education of the natural gas industry was a perfect fit. She was appointed interim director of the Marcellus Institute. In the first nine months she proved herself successful, then being promoted to director in December.
There were very high expectations, but that was nothing new for Sikorski. It was right up her alley and she shined in that position.
“A lot of our success has been attributed to the relationships with industry, but also with the state agencies and engineering and consulting firms,” Sikorski explained. “Those relationships weren’t really there prior to the establishment of the Marcellus Institute.”
Within the year that the Marcellus Institute has had Sikorski at the helm, Mansfield University had two academic programs approved: a two-year degree program and a four-year degree program. Sikorski led a successful Marcellus Camp for high school students, a camp that is becoming a yearly event. She held the Marcellus Family Career Night to learn about educational and employment opportunities in the field of natural gas. She has also been doing a lot of high school outreach and is serving as a resource to the natural gas industry and companies, providing room rentals and promoting internship experiences. She has also offered some career training programs including Basic First Responders. She is currently putting together Geologic Information Systems (GIS) programming.
Her newest endeavor is a monthly speaker series called “The Shale Speaker Series.” The next speaker will be Paula Ballaron from the Susquehanna River Basin Commission speaking from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on April 18 in room#104 in Allen Hall. For more information on this new series, visit http://mansfield.edu/marcellus-institute/.
Sikorski collaborates and works closely with the career center at Mansfield University.
“My office has become a reference for MU students,” Sikorski said. “They can look at reference material, look at career opportunities and discuss academic programs in natural gas.”
Sikorski works closely with Nichole Lefelhoc in the career center. They work mostly on internships together. Sometimes Sikorski will find out about one and shares it with Lefelhoc; sometimes visa versa. They work together with different companies to meet the needs of the students and the company. It works the same for employment opportunities for students. These two women work together to help students find just the right employment opportunities.
“She’s been a great connection between the university and the natural gas industry,” said Lefelhoc of Sikorski. “I love working with her. It’s a very easy working relationship.”
Outside of the Marcellus Institute, Sikorski is a busy woman. She is first vice-president of the Mansfield Chamber of Commerce; she’s on the economic development advisory committee for the Northern Tier Regional Planning and Development Commission; and she’s on the board of “Partners and Progress,” which is a non-profit organization servicing people with disabilities.
And in her free time she trains and runs half-marathons, which are 13.1 miles.
So, what does it take to make it to the Top 100 People in Business Central Pennsylvania? According to John Fulmer, editor of Pennsylvania Business Central, it takes “hard work and an interest in education … an entrepreneurial spirit, a willingness to take risks and a striving for excellence.”
That describes Sikorski to a T. Even in her free time, she is striving to the top for excellence.