Graduating SGA president reflects on time at Marymount, importance of student leadership

Graduating SGA president reflects on time at Marymount, importance of student leadership


On April 3, Marymount University’s Student Government Association (SGA) announced election results for the 2024-25 academic year. Rising senior Nickolas Blose, currently the SGA treasurer, will succeed graduating senior Nicholas Mariel as SGA president.

With his time as SGA president drawing to a close, Mariel reflects on how serving the Marymount community has shaped his personal and professional development. 

As Mariel would say, he’s ‘from everywhere.’ Born in Galveston, Texas, he spent 13 years in San Juan, Puerto Rico and now lives in Arlington, Virginia. His athletic pursuits in volleyball, for both his high school and the Puerto Rican national team, led to his recruitment by Marymount’s Men’s Volleyball team. While he had several offers from other schools, he chose to attend Marymount for its tight-knit community and personal and professional development opportunities. 

Graduating SGA president reflects on time at Marymount, importance of student leadership

“A D-I school offered me a full scholarship and everything, but at the end of the day it came down to where I was more comfortable and Marymount was the place,” Mariel said. “Marymount was a really welcoming community and the volleyball team was really family oriented. I saw all of the opportunities that Marymount could give me and I knew this was the place for me.”

As a freshman, Mariel explored different interests and changed his major several times while searching for a career path that he was truly passionate about. Outside of class, he served as the Vice President of Marymount College Republicans, founded the Marymount Cooking Club and even helped to found a company, Coki Coffee Distributors.

Mariel joined SGA in 2022 as a junior class senator driven to make a difference and re-energize the Marymount community following the COVID-19 pandemic. Through SGA, Mariel discovered a passion for leadership and involvement in student affairs.

“Student government has really helped me find what I want to do in life,” Mariel explained. “As soon as I got to SGA, I finally knew what I wanted to be a public speaker and get involved in politics. In that way, the whole SGA experience has been very impactful for me.”

Through SGA involvement, Mariel became interested in how governments function and the interconnectedness of business, politics and finance on a global scale. His interest in global affairs and data analytics led Mariel to major in Economics, complemented by an International Business minor sparked by his exposure to entrepreneurship.

“My family has run a business for more than 60 years,” Mariel said. “All of my family members are in business and I’ve always wanted to run my own business. It’s always been fascinating to learn about different cultures and interact with different people, so I wanted to bring together my business interests with my international interests.” 

After serving as a SGA senator for one year, Mariel ran for SGA president in hopes of having a greater impact on the Marymount community and better serve the University and its students. He explains how his earlier personal growth inspired him to take the next step.

“When I was in middle and elementary school, I was really introverted to the point where people didn’t think I even talked,” Mariel said. “It wasn’t until I got to my Jesuit high school that I really grew into myself. The Jesuits are all about serving others and leading by example and I really embraced that. Since then, I have never been afraid to do anything.”

After his election as SGA president, Mariel and his cabinet worked on initiatives that addressed the University’s various concerns.

“One of our initiatives was connecting with local high schools and setting up a dual enrollment program with them,” Mariel recalled. “This helped get Marymount’s name out there more and increased our number of applicants over the course of the year. We also set up a peer mentorship program which helped improve student outcomes and increase the University’s overall retention.”

Graduating SGA president reflects on time at Marymount, importance of student leadership
Mariel (left) with members of the 2023-24 executive board

But Mariel feels the most important thing they accomplished was increasing the SGA’s presence at Marymount.

“Before our administration, I don’t think many people really knew a lot about student government,” Mariel said. “But based on the most recent elections, the voter participation rate increased by 165 percent, which is a huge improvement over last year.”

His position as SGA president led to many opportunities to represent Marymount on a wider stage, with Mariel meeting President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin. He also participated in a high school recruiting trip to Puerto Rico to enhance Marymount’s global perspective.

During his presidency, Mariel also worked closely with Marymount President Irma Becerra, and named her as one of his most important mentors.

“From day one, President Becerra has been very influential to me,” Mariel said. “Since freshman year, she saw my potential and encouraged me to run for student government. She’s been instrumental in helping me get to where I am and achieve my career goals.”

After graduation, Mariel will begin his professional career at Serco Inc., assisting the U.S. Navy as a Navy Launching Systems Analyst. He attributes this accomplishment to the opportunities Marymount provided him, including an earlier internship at Serco.

“Marymount helped me align myself with what I wanted to do in life and my career goals,” Mariel reflected. “The school gave me an opportunity to grow as a person, as a student and as a leader. I definitely owe everything to Marymount.”

Graduating SGA president reflects on time at Marymount, importance of student leadership

Mariel encourages any students interested in leadership to serve in SGA.

“To be involved in SGA is bigger than just being a student at Marymount,” Mariel said. “When you take a role like that, you come to understand that your decisions are affecting others. If you want to do something, go for it. If you want a voice in the Marymount community, join SGA and make your voice heard.” 

Mariel also shared his wisdom for the rest of the student body about how to become the best versions of themselves and make the most of their time at Marymount.

“Never give up and just keep moving forward. There will always be another challenge, there will always be hardship. You just have to keep moving forward,” he said. “If you fail, celebrate that failure because you’re going to move forward and learn from that. Stay resilient and stay proud of where you come from and stay proud of being a part of the Marymount community. Go Saints!”

Class senator positions are still available for the upcoming 2024-25 academic year. Anyone interested in getting involved in SGA can contact Stephen Esposito ( or reach out to current SGA members at