Alfred University News

Emma J. Robinson ’16 appointed chair of Judson Leadership Center Advisory Board

Alfred University alumna Emma J. Robinson ’16 has been appointed chair of the Beth Robinson Judson Leadership Center (JLC) Advisory Board. Robinson, whose appointment is effective Jan. 1, 2024, takes over for current chair Sherry Walton ’80, who has served in the role since 2006.

As chair, Robinson will oversee meetings of the Advisory Board and serve as a liaison between the Advisory Board and Abby Hurley ’17 (MSEd, College Student Development ’19), coordinator of the Judson Leadership Center.

The JLC at Alfred University is named for the late Beth Robinson Judson ’82, who helped found Alfred University’s Women’s Leadership Center in 2006. Robinson is the niece of Beth Robinson Judson and daughter of Judson’s brother, Alfred University alumnus Chris Robinson ’86.

The JLC provides leadership training and education, offering special programs for students who want to assume leadership roles on campus. It houses the Women’s Leadership Center, which provides leadership education and skills development for women, and the Women’s Leadership Academy, a credit-bearing leadership development experience which is one of the oldest women’s leadership academies in the country. The JLC has been integral to the launch of a leadership minor available to all Alfred University undergraduate students, regardless of their academic major.

Robinson, who earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Alfred University in 2016, participated in the Women’s Leadership Academy while an undergraduate and has been involved in the JLC Advisory Board since graduating from Alfred.

“Emma was committed to the Judson Leadership Center as a student and has always been eager to participate. She has great ideas for the JLC and always wants to move us in a forward direction,” Hurley commented. “She has a wealth of knowledge of the JLC and a great understanding of this space as a Women’s Leadership Center. We specialize in women’s programming, but that’s not all we do. Emma has a great understanding of what our students need now.”

Robinson said she has served on the JLC Advisory Board because of “the very special place” it holds in her heart.

“The JLC is named after my Aunt Beth, who helped to establish the Center on campus as a place for students to learn essential leadership skills,” she said. “Being a woman working in the primarily male-dominated field of engineering, she wanted this Center to serve as an establishment that could provide leadership education to those who may not otherwise be exposed to these kinds of opportunities. The Center is important to me because it gives me the opportunity to connect with and learn about my aunt’s legacy.  It also gives me the opportunity to help further her legacy by continuing to ensure the Center provides for the AU students and community.”

After graduating from Alfred, Robinson went on to earn a master’s degree in chemistry from Bucknell University in 2018. She is an engineer at Alkegen, a specialty materials leader serving mission-critical systems that the world is focused on for the future, including battery technologies, electric vehicles, filtration media, and specialty insulation materials that enable customers to reduce fossil fuel consumption and conserve energy.

Robinson said she draws regularly on the skills she learned in the Women’s Leadership Academy as an undergraduate at Alfred, skills that include public speaking, conflict resolution, time management, and how to be an effective leader. “I believe learning leadership skills is essential to the student experience at AU because so many of these skills help you to build and nurture the relationships you make outside of school,” she said.

Her goals as chair of the JLC Advisory Board are to support Hurley “as she continues to mold the JLC into an influential leadership institution for AU students. Additionally, it is my goal to keep my aunt’s legacy alive and to honor her vision as the JLC continues to grow and develop.”

Sherry Walton has served as Judson Leadership Center Advisory Board chair since the JLC’s inception. Hurley said Walton will continue serving on the Advisory Board after leaving her post as chair.

“I can’t say enough about how much she has meant to the JLC, and to me as a mentor,” Hurley said of Walton. “She has given so much of her time and life to this place. I am so glad she’s not leaving.”