Leadership Education

(COM461L)munication in Leadership

COM461L, Communication in Leadership, was one of the final classes required for my LAS scholarship. This class featured interactive discussions, case studies, essays, group facilitation, and activities to keep us thinking throughout the entire class period.

I was really excited to take this class, and I had heard nothing but great things about it. I was ready to apply previous knowledge from other classes to this one while working with people from my cohort. There’s something about all-LAS classes that gets the energy going in the room and leaves me diving deeper into the concepts.

In COM, we were required to participate in class discussions of prompts. We were also required to facilitate a group discourse of a leadership concept we were assigned to. Though public speaking is not my forte, I was able to push through my nerves and lead the class through a discussion on the Challenge of Loyalty and the different ways leaders can stay loyal to their followers. We also dissected a number of different case studies including follower empowerment in Apollo 13 and creative climates while working with Pixar. We also had to tell different stories about ways we were effective/ineffective leaders and why the situations led to the outcomes. The book we used by Hackman and Johnson explained communication theories and perspectives thoroughly, allowing us to really grasp the meaning and concepts of each.

I really enjoyed this class, and I looked forward to going to it on Mondays and Wednesdays. Professor Carlson welcomed us into class each day with a smile on her face and an oh-so-positive attitude that radiated onto the class. She made the class worthwhile and encaptured the true meaning of a leader by being one herself.

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Leadership Education

SOC221: Social Problems

As a part of my LAS protocol, I was required to either take PSC105 (Introduction to American Government and Politics) or SOC221 (Social Problems). Because I was interested in the issues and events that occur in our society, I took SOC. Going into this class, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I had never taken a sociology class, nor did I ever have a burning desire to, so I was intrigued as to what would come.

In the beginning of the semester, I wasn’t the biggest fan of how the class was set up. It was mostly lecture-based, but I learn better with hands-on activities, group work, and class interactive discussions. As the class continued, we dug deeper into some of the issues and started doing activities and quizzes to test our knowledge.

Some of the topics we covered in SOC included:

  • Values we care about in society
  • Poverty rates
  • Political ideologies
  • Grounds, warrants, claimsmaking
  • The news/media and the effects it has on stories
  • Trends in jobs
  • Substance abuse

At the end of the semester, we had to present an infographic about an issue that impacts our society as a whole. This was my favorite assignment of the semester, because I was able to choose a topic that I am passionate about and use my creative side to design an infographic to present to the class. The topic I worked on was how plastic/plastic water bottles have negative effects on our society. I really believe in using a refillable water bottle and avoiding the use of plastic to help our environment, so it was fun to present my views on the issue to the class.

I enjoyed the class overall, and I found the powerpoints really helpful when staying up to date with issues in our society. I was able to work with my classmates on different activities and see their views on issues, and it was interesting to learn about different ways of thinking.

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Leadership Education

PHL118L: A Reflection

I’m not going to lie- having an 8am class sounded horrible, and I was not the biggest fan of philosophy. You could probably imagine my enthusiasm and I entered the class on the first day.

Despite it being an 8am, I was thankful to have a class with my LAS cohort. Not knowing what to expect, I was sort of interested in what was to come in this philosophy class. I was curious as to what sort of information we would be tested on and what we would take away from this class.

The professor, Gary Fuller, is one of the most interesting people I have ever met. And I mean that in every positive way possible. He is extremely enthusiastic about every topic he talks about, and he knows every little detail about everything- and I mean everything. Gary is an extremely intelligent man, and he has a way of explaining things that makes them interesting to learn about. You can tell that he is passionate about what he teaches, and it is clearly shown in his lectures. His little comments and jokes cracked me up throughout the semester, and he made the class interactive.

There were assigned chapters in the books that we are instructed to read, and short quizzes followed the assigned chapters. Many different topics that had to do with morality were introduced, such as assisted suicide, euthanasia, hooking up, animal rights, and abortion. Each topic was explained in detail and was followed by a few examples to help us understand the concept.

We all were placed in groups to create a presentation, and I spoke about the Terri Schiavo case that involved the discussion of involuntary vs. voluntary euthanasia. This was an interesting thing to present on, and we had to give our own opinions on what we thought was morally permissible.

Overall, I learned a lot in this class. I was able to really analyze the concepts that were taught and I could really dig deeper into what my opinions were on them. The class provided a very informative way of looking at different moral questions, and Gary made the class a fun one to go to.

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Leadership Training

Mentee to Mentor

As a member of LAS, each person receives a “mentor.” This person guides you through your first year of college, answers any questions you have, and is basically just a shoulder to lean on when you need one. I received a mentor when I got to CMU, and I was so excited to have someone to support me through my first year at college.

Now, going into sophomore year, I am ecstatic to receive a “mentee” of my own. As a tradition in LAS, it is a normal thing to keep yourself hidden until you plan a big reveal to your new mentee. I am so excited to reveal myself to my mentee and form a close relationship with her. Helping people is one of my passions, and I am so incredibly ready to do whatever it takes to make sure my mentee feels at home during the course of her freshman year!

In our LDR200L class, the TA’s prepared a workshop demonstrating how to be the best possible mentor we can be to the incoming LAS cohort. We were put into groups and received sheets of paper in which we were instructed to write down ten things we wish we would have known coming into college. After writing them, we discussed our answers and reflected back on the year. Some of the things I wish I knew before coming to Central were:

  • Not everyone will be your best friend, so don’t force relationships
  • Skipping class is never a good idea
  • Bring lots of storage containers to keep things organized in your dorm
  • Your planner will become your best friend
  • Only do things that benefit you- if they bring you down, don’t continue doing them

After reflecting back on the mentor workshop, I have many things that I want to accomplish as mentor. I want to be there for my mentee whenever she needs me, even if I am busy doing something. I also want to make sure that I keep in contact with her and make sure that I am not distant- especially when she is starting a complete new chapter of her life! Lastly, I want to make sure that I can be the best mentor I can be to my new pal, and I want to make sure she knows that she can come to me whenever she needs anything.

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Mentor/Mentee retreat
Leadership Education

LDR200L Reflection

As a requirement for the LAS scholarship, everyone in the cohort is required to take LDR200L. This course met on Wednesday afternoons from 4-7. This course taught us about different leadership theories, how to create a useful powerpoint presentation, and how to facilitate a workshop.

Some of the assignments required for the class included writing a paper about our own personal leadership philosophy. I loved this assignment because I was able to explain my own philosophy and tell why I do the things I do. Another assignment was leading a Leadership Initiative. We were put into groups of three and had to lead a learning activity that taught a concept of leadership to one half of the class. The Leadership Workshop was my favorite task. While working in a group, a few members of my cohort and I were required to facilitate a workshop that explained a leadership theory. The workshop had to include an activity and a powerpoint and it lasted around a half hour long. This was my favorite task because I learn best with hands-on-activities, and it made it easier to memorize the different leadership theories.

My favorite part of this class was gaining experience and knowledge on how to facilitate activities and workshops. I was able to interact with my fellow LAS members while getting help from the awesome TA’s. Now that I have participated in LDR200L, I am ready to sign my minor in Leadership and experience new courses in the future. I learned how to give a presentation that got straight to the point while being organized and clean. Because of this class, I feel more confident in public speaking and talking in front of a large group of people. I became a better listener and learned how to properly communicate with someone else and give feedback that helps them. I can’t wait to pursue my minor of Leadership and I am ready for the next LDR class!

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Leadership Education

HST 110LWI: American Experience

9780547149073 As a part of the LAS protocol, I was required to take HST 110LWI, otherwise known as the “American Experience”. Our class was held on Monday afternoons from 3:30-6:20. This class explained early American history and told about immigration in America. We learned about the major problems in history by watching movies, reading the essays in the book, and having class discussions.

Because this class was a writing intensive course, our assignments were focused mainly on writing papers and essays, rather than taking exams and weekly tests. History isn’t my best subject, so I preferred the essays rather than the standardized tests. Some of the assignments included a midterm paper of a subject you chose, a paper on the history of immigration, and a powerpoint presentation at the end of the year. My favorite assignment was the powerpoint because it was interactive and I was able to work with my roommates on the project.

NOW WHAT? Taking this course challenged me to dig deeper into my thoughts on American history. Though it isn’t my favorite subject, it was interesting learning about things that impacted how our country lives today. I also loved hearing everyone’s views on certain topics during the class discussions and watching movies that caught everyone’s attention. Being in this class made me want to learn more about my ancestors and the events that shaped America today.

Leadership Development

Yes or No?

Does leadership come from a “yes” or a “no”? 

When I first read this question, I had to take a step back and reflect on what I was really being asked. After analyzing the question, I came up with what it meant to me: “Do leaders say “yes” or “no”? My first thought: it’s “no”. Why would you say yes to everything? Wouldn’t that just get you in trouble? What if something bad happens? What if the task is too hard or too much to handle? My second thought: it’s “yes”. It’s 100%, absolutely, most definitely “yes”. 

Saying “yes” opens doors, creates new opportunities, and encourages growth. Being a leader means trying new things, growing, and helping others. It also means listening, learning, overcoming barriers, and being the bigger person.

“Do you want to go volunteer?” “Yes.”

“Do you want to join a new club?” “Yep.”

“Do you want to go skydiving?” “Definitely.”

Saying “no” means you’re turning down new experiences, new friends, new lessons, and new stories. I believing in living life to its maximum potential, and making every day better than the one before it. Living life to its fullest means striving to be the best version of you, making every day count, being completely open to trying new things, and pushing yourself to get better at what you do.

Now What? Start saying yes- I promise you won’t regret it. Ordinary people do extraordinary things, and saying yes is just the beginning. New opportunities and experiences come from saying yes, and learning comes from stepping outside of your comfort zone- another thing to say yes to.

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