In seventh grade, Skylar Walder stopped in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, as a pit stop on the way home to northern New Jersey. It wasn’t until high school that she rediscovered Shippensburg through a poster in her teacher’s classroom. Now, Walder is an amicable and recognizable face on campus.
The secondary education history major with a political science major originally wanted to pursue television production. Though the poster on the wall of her classroom sparked her interest in the university, it was ultimately her recruitment to the tennis team that made her decision. However, the aesthetics of SU’s website helped her in her choice.
“I’ve never seen so much farmland in my life,” Walder said regarding Shippensburg. Her hometown is actually a lake community that is frequented by many in the summer months. While Shippensburg has been a change in scenery for Walder, the small-town community is not new to her.
When she was four months old, Walder was adopted by her parents from Korea, as was her brother. “As I got older, I got more curious as to what my family life was before I got adopted,” Walder explained. “I got the sense of this is my life now, but I am really curious to see what it would have been like if I hadn’t been adopted.”
Her curious personality comes through most prominently in her academic field of study. As a history major, Walder explained that she enjoys knowing the “why” and “how” in history. She specifically enjoys learning about American and modern world history.
Walder originally came to SU on both an academic and athletic scholarship. However, as of the start of this spring semester, she has medically retired from the tennis team. Walder still is involved with a myriad of athletic organizations including OneShip and the Tau Kappa Athletic Honor Society.
“You grow not just as an athlete, but as a person through athletics,” Walder said. Fitness is continually a big part of her life, according to Walder. “I decompress through fitness,” she said.
While many dream of one day skydiving, Walder skydives once a year. This summer will be her third time diving from the sky. She also enjoys bowling with her friends. “Although I don’t get much free time, I spend time with friends whenever I do,” she said. “It is important to me to be with lots of people.”
The list of organizations and positions that Walder holds on campus seem endless. As a Ceddia Union Building student worker, orientation leader and student ambassador, Walder is constantly interacting with the many diverse faces of the Shippensburg University community.
In addition, Walder is a part of both the SU President’s Student Advisory Council and the leadership team for SU’s annual Diversity Week. In both positions, Walder can act as a voice on behalf of SU students. Walder also is the vice president of external affairs in the Student Government Association.
Over time, Walder has realized that one should not do things or join groups simply to put them on a resume. “I can’t do everything,” Walder explained. “I want to engage more in the things I already do.”
In order to find balance between academics and her organizations she gives herself “prep days” in order to write everything down, according to Walder. “You have to find your system,” Walder explained. “Figure out what works and what doesn’t work — balance.”
At the beginning of December, Walder was elected as a student representative for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education’s Board of Governors. In April 2021, Lorie Davis, SU dean of students, reached out to Walder, asking her to represent Shippensburg on the board. However, there can only be one representative per state school, so Walder had to wait until former representative Stephen Washington graduated in December.
As a Shippensburg University sophomore, Walder is currently the youngest representative on the board.
At the end of every day, Walder hopes to impact people. Every student voice should be heard, and she wants the places she is in and the groups she is a part of to be better off after she leaves them. “No matter what you are doing, you can make that small dent in people’s lives,” Walder said.