Alumni Spotlight: Julie Kolakowski Corn
Name: Julie Kolakowski Corn Class of 1998
College Education (and degree): University of Mary Washington, 2002, B.A. Geography
Advanced degree(s): National Intelligence University, 2007, M.S. Strategic Intelligence
Current Occupation: Commissioner of Emergency Communications, Onondaga County
Servant Leadership Award, Defense Intelligence Agency
Promotion to Federal Government’s 2nd highest civilian level (grade 15), National Security Agency
First female Commissioner of Emergency Communications, Onondaga County
Multiple defense and intelligence awards/commendations
What is the best advice you could give current Ludden students?
Opportunities are all around you and it’s up to you to seize them to reach your goals – take the offer to move up to Varsity even if you feel you’re not ready; put your name on the ballot to be an officer even if you think you won’t win; take that job opportunity that’s totally different than what you’ve done in the past. If you don’t take leaps, you’ll never know how far you can go
What is your favorite Ludden memory?
I was a sophomore when Mr. Kelly, our gym teacher, lined up a special badminton match during gym class between me and the best senior male athlete in the school. It was almost David v. Goliath in terms of our height and size difference but Mr. Kelly was so confident I could take him, I felt I could too. It was back and forth, point-to-point for two sets and in the end I lost 13-15 both times. But that didn’t matter. I stood a little taller after that knowing I had taken on a challenge I didn’t think possible. And that’s helped me a lot in life – thank you Mr. Kelly for teaching me that courage instills confidence.
Why are you proud of your Bishop Ludden heritage?
When I worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency, I won an award for Servant Leadership. At the time I didn’t know what that was or appreciate how effective that style of leadership can be. To be recognized for putting others before myself and leading through examples of service and selflessness, I have to say, it was one of the most humbling and gratifying awards I’ve ever received. I attribute much of that to my Bishop Ludden heritage and the Catholic values I learned there.