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Biological Sciences

Learning to Lead

A group of five students holding their certificates for the Leadership Development Program in front of Talley Student Union

By Natalie Gore, DASA Marketing Intern

NC State Student Leadership and Engagement (SLE) provides a Leadership Development Program (LDP) for any and all students at no cost. Ten uniquely designed workshops employ students to learn more about honing in on their individual skills and about what leadership looks like in different settings. Additionally, students have the option to engage in a mentor relationship while applying their learnings to a specific leadership position. If students attend the workshops, engage with a mentor and submit a reflection paper about their experience, they are rewarded with a Leadership Certificate. 

Many students who have completed the program and received their Leadership Certificate feel that the time spent was completely worth it. Emma Grace Barnes (biology ‘22), for example, said “LDP taught me more about myself than I could have ever expected…it gave me the confidence to pursue leadership roles in areas I previously would not have.”

Students participate in a program workshop in April 2021

The program works to open students’ eyes to how they can further contribute their strengths and skills to any situation that might require a form of leadership. Although the program requires commitment and dedication to understanding oneself and applying their knowledge, students feel that they are getting a great return on their investment. 

“The LDP has taken my leadership skills to the next level. I was able to explore my unique leadership strengths and learn how to maximize them in my current and future leadership roles to become a more effective leader,” said Sami Atassi (biology ‘22).

Students’ enthusiasm for the program is clearly evident in the numbers as well. In the first year (2017-18) that the program was offered, SLE only had 35 graduates complete the certification. Since then, however, the program has seen considerable growth and had 132 students graduate in the 2020-21 school year. 

The program this spring begins January 18, and SLE will offer two different “paths” for the certificate beginning on different dates at different times. Holding multiple sessions for the semester provides students with more of an option to commit time, despite a busy schedule during the rest of their day. 

A student writes on a marker board while one of her peers watches
Students in the program collaborate during a workshop

For those looking for a bit less of a time commitment, SLE also offers one-time workshops that provide a simpler overview of a single topic related to leadership. An anonymous student’s response to a feedback survey said that workshops were incredibly interactive, and “the activities we did were very engaging and kept the group’s energy fresh.” 

The Leadership Development Program has something for everyone. Whether it be a full certification in leadership or a one-time commitment to a workshop, SLE is fully committed to developing students’ leadership skills and preparing them for their futures beyond NC State.

Another anonymous survey submitted by a student reads, “My favorite part of the program was that I was able to actually apply what I was learning in the workshops to my actual leadership experience. The workshop topics were valid and influential to real experiences that I dealt with in my leadership position.”

Sarah Fayard (left), assistant director of Student Leadership and Engagement, oversees the Leadership Development Program

Sign Up for the Program this Spring

Registration is now open for the Leadership Development Program and workshops this spring. 

Here are the One-Time Workshops being offered this spring:

  • DiSC Behavior Styles, Feb. 3
  • The Enneagram: Building Self-Awareness and Understanding, Feb. 24
  • Engaging in Discourse and Making Difficult Decisions, March 7
  • The Enneagram: Building Self-Awareness and Understanding Part II, March 24
  • Building Connection and Community, April 7

Students can learn more about the program and one-time workshops on the SLE website.

This post was originally published in DASA.

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