Congratulations to the five students who completed the Excel program this fall: Arianna Giasson, Erica Hanlon, Jaylene Hurley, Lea Markham, and Keara Vangel! Read below to learn more about these amazing student leaders!

This past fall, the OSILD was able to host their inaugural Excel Leadership program. The third tier in the three-tier Circles of Leadership program, Excel provides a culminating leadership experience for those students who have completed both Emerge and Engage. Throughout the fall semester, five students met weekly with Sarah Potrikus and Linzy Martinez to broaden their understanding of their personal strengths and those of others, think critically about current social justice issues across the nation, and reflect on their own journeys through leaders. The program culminated in each student sharing a PechaKucha style presentation centered on their leadership story.

Excel workshops followed a hybrid model through the fall semester.
Arianna Giasson

Arianna Giasson
Somerset, MA
Occupational Therapy, Class of 2022
Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) president, LGBTQ+ Alliance secretary

What is one thing you have learned about yourself through these programs?
Through the Emerge, Engage, and Excel programs, I learned that I’m a really good communicator and a strong strategist when it comes to teamwork.

What is one piece of advice you would give to your first semester self?
I would tell my first-year self to stop being afraid to be myself! It really held me back from some great opportunities.

Read Ari’s Engage philosophy

Erica Hanlon

Erica Hanlon
Shrewsbury. MA
Psychology, Class of 2023
Cross Country, Indoor Track, and Outdoor Track teams, Student Senate, Resident Assistant, Orientation Leader, Active Minds

What is one thing you have leaned about yourself through these programs?
Through participating in these programs, I have learned about my leadership strengths and how to apply them in my everyday life.

What is one piece of advice you would give to your first semester self?
One piece of advice I would give to my first semester self is to be bolder in asking questions to people who inspire me and jump out of my comfort zone to make connections with them.

Read Erica’s Emerge philosophy
Read Erica’s Engage philosophy

Lea Markham

Lea Markham
Lancaster, MA
Communications, Class of 2021
Student Center Employee, Student Photographer, Orientation Leader

What is one thing you have learned about yourself through these programs?
These fantastic workshops taught me how to look at myself from an introspective lens that opened up a brand new sense of self-identity. Understanding my leadership style and how to utilize my strengths in various leadership positions as well as my everyday life has brought me loads of confidence!

What is one piece of advice you would give to your first semester self?
Everything happens for a reason and sometimes things don’t always work out as expected, but stay positive, flexible and find the blessings in disguise!

Read Lea’s Emerge philosophy

Keara Vangel

Keara Vangel
Dudley, MA
Communications, Class of 2021
Emerge, Engage, and Excel Programs

What is one thing you have learned about yourself through these programs?
I’ve learned that even though I am a fairly quiet person, I can still be a leader. I thought that I had to be this loud, outspoken, outgoing person in order to fit in with my peers in this program. I have learned that everyone has their own leadership style, and just because you feel like it was a little different, that’s okay!

What is one piece of advice you would give to your first semester self?
If I had to go back and give my first semester self advice, it would be to make sure I pass/failed that stats class…. Just kidding. I would tell myself to remember that it’s okay if it takes a while to feel comfortable in this new college environment, and that I had such wonderful things ahead. Reminding my freshman self to branch out and enjoy myself in everything I do would’ve helped a lot.

Read Keara’s Emerge philosophy

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