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On April 1, Makayla Reynolds was elected the first black female class president in Penn's history. | Courtesy of Makayla Reynolds

After the votes were tallied on Friday night, small town Floridian and College sophomore Makayla Reynolds was elected as the first black female class president in Penn’s history.

“I tried to sell myself as the outsider,” Reynolds said. “My background and where I come from and what I stand for is very underrepresented at Penn.”

Reynolds will be replacing the previous class president College sophomore Vadim Ordovsky-Tanaevsky.

After having the experience of being a class president in high school, Reynolds decided to pursue the same position in college.

“I don’t think that Vadim has done bad at all,” Reynolds said. “I think he’s done great. People just wanted a change.”

Many students have expressed concern that the class board has little impact on student lives. Reynolds speaks to this concern.

“If you aren’t involved, it’s hard to see what the class board is doing,” she said. She hopes that she will be able to make a tangible difference.

Reynolds said that “the hardest part is getting people to be interested in voting.” Only about 800 of the over 2400 students in the sophomore class voted in the election.

Over the past weeks, Reynolds worked tirelessly to get her name out to other sophomores. She wanted to make an impression online as well as face-to-face with voters. Her Facebook and website served as a platform to inform the Class of 2018 about why she was a good candidate.

Reynolds said that a lot of her campaigning was talking one-on-one with friends and acquaintances she knows from activities she’s involved with on campus.

Outside of class board, Reynolds is part of MedLife Penn, a group that promotes health equity both locally and globally, and a public speaking advisor for communication within the curriculum.

Reynold’s favorite extracurricular is being a Big Sister for Big Brothers Big Sisters. This gives her a chance to make a difference in the community.

In her time as president, she hopes to inspire other students and have an impact. Reynolds wants to maintain Penn traditions, but also start new programs and initiatives within the student body.

One of the challenges of being president is the expectation to bring together a group of students with diverse backgrounds and experiences. Reynolds hopes to work with some of the many cultural groups at Penn to create events that appeal to students who identify with different cultural backgrounds.

Another goal is to bring greater awareness to mental health. Reynolds is passionate about making an impact. She hopes to make Penn a less stressful environment, but realizes that most mental health problems are deeper than that.

Reynolds wants students to be able to get the care that they need, whether that is on campus at Counseling and Psychological Services or outside treatment.

As a health and societies major, healthcare is extremely important to Reynolds. If she works in politics, she hopes to be the secretary of health and human services for the White House.

Reynolds hopes to inspire other students who face obstacles and feels that she can relate to most students in Penn’s population who are from a marginalized group. She hopes to inspire those who might feel as though they can’t do something based on race, gender or socioeconomic status.

“I hope that people know that they can come up to me with any concerns,” Reynolds said, “We’re all equals, [and] this isn’t a hierarchy.”

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