2020 Engage Leadership Philosophies

At the culmination of each semester’s Engage Leadership Circle, students share their updated personal leadership philosophies. These philosophies are the culmination of a semester’s learning and reflection, and each is as unique as the participant themselves.

Lyndsey Broxton
Class of 2022

“Personal growth is defined as the ongoing process of understanding and developing oneself in order to achieve one’s fullest potential and it is a vital part of a person’s growth, maturity, success and happiness. I grew up in the house that taught me to do everything and anything that I do to my best ability and I truly believe that has had a major effect on me throughout my entire life and within this program. I learned in a credible amount about myself during this program, and I am finally becoming the person I wanted to be forming my leadership identity. Your leadership identity is as unique as your own fingerprint, meaning your style of leadership is like no other. My mission as a leader is to encourage people to be the best they can be. Everyone has potential to do something great, sometimes it takes someone to tap into their potential and make them aware. Over the past couple of weeks many of you have challenged me and helped me tap into my untapped potential and I cannot thank you enough. The program is office puts on every year has shaped me into the person I am today, and I cannot thank the staff enough for giving me a chance and believing in me. My biggest takeaway from all the programs is that your passion drives your vision and mission. All of you in this room have something that you’re passionate about, I encourage you to continue to take the risks to make your life more fulfilling, as well as tap into your untapped potential. I believe all of us in this room had the ability to make an incredible impact, and I will be here to applaud all of your past and future success.”

Michael Cardoza
Class of 2022

“As leaders, we all face unique challenges that helped us to be put in the positions we are in now. Personally, I’ve always admired those who are able to lead groups without seeming mean or angry. One of my first opportunities to be in a leadership position is when I became a an OL (orientation leader) at WSU. My first time hearing of the news I was nervous to be in such a position. “Do I have the social skills to lead?” “Would I be able to maintain the personality I thought I needed to do a good job?” As time in training went on, I began to realize that I can still be myself in these environments. This was like discovering fire for me. Playing on sports teams growing up I was never the most gifted or skilled athlete. But, like leadership, some are blessed with natural abilities and others have to use their talents and hard work to keep up with the team. Although I wasn’t gifted like my teammates, my input and ideas were acknowledged and accepted. That was my talent. My knowledge and appreciation for the game was not something I shied away from, I embraced it. I bring this up to say in life, we are all put into “unwritten” leadership roles and being the captain of the team or the best player doesn’t make you a leader. A leader is someone who understands there is no “I” in team but there is a “me” in it. About a week before my first session, a rapper radar podcast interview had been released with rapper Jim jones. When discussing his role in the diplomats, a famous rap group of the early 2000s, one statement truly stuck out to me. Jones was going from the group’s “runner” to arguably one of the best in the whole group, along with a successful and growing solo rap career.  Jones states “you are a solider with the ability to be a leader”. So, I leave you with this, some of the greatest leaders were once soldiers on the battlefield, and some of the most brilliant and powerful people still see themselves as soldiers fighting battles greater than them. Are you ready to go in as a solider and grow as a true leader?”

Sarah Deslauriers
Class of 2022

“I believe that as a leader you should respect everyone and treat the group like you want them to treat you. I believe a leader should be passionate about what they do, show empathy towards others and be kind to all. A leader should never give a task to a group member that they would not do themselves. A leader should be a good communicator and be reliable. A leader should be able to listen to others and ask for help when needed. A leader should also be a problem-solver and be easily approachable. A leader should be able to use and know their strengths while also
improving their weaknesses. I believe that a leader can learn the skills necessary but can also be born with many of these traits. Anyone can be a leader but it takes these skills in order to be an exceptional and outstanding leader.”

Julie Erickson
Class of 2022

“A leader is one who knows the way, the way, shows the way. When a leader knows the way, they are conscientious and knowledgeable. Using the past experiences and techniques they have learned helps the leader know the way. As a leader I hope to pass on what I have learned and what I value in a positive influential way. Being a leader who goes the way is a leader who demonstrates their values and morals. I want to be a leader who goes the way through doing their best to help those surrounding them by being inclusive and supportive of others. Being a leader who shows the way is what I value most about being leader. Showing the way as a leader means you are a good example and confident in yourself and your peers. One who shows the way extends their confidence and knowledge during an effort to help others succeed. Knowing the way, going the way, and showing the way are the three ways one can be an influential leader and extend their leadership qualities to others.”

Arianna Giasson
Class of 2022

“My personal leadership has always come from a place of striving for growth. While there are so many different groups to lead with different ideals, goals and structures, what they have in common is room to grow.

A lot of the time, I think we get stuck in this idea that we need to be perfect. I know that especially when I became an RA, I immediately wanted to be perfect at the job. Obviously now, I can look back and see that this was an impossible standard for myself. Once I realized I wasn’t going to be flawlessly solving disagreements and shutting down parties while still being the chill RA that everyone likes, I realized that one thing I could surely do, was grow. I learned from mistakes, like this time when I walked by a clear-cut party and me and my fellow new RA stood outside the door whispering nervously until one of the residents came to the door and we had to pull it together. As time went on, I could see myself growing, as well as my residents growing relationships, with each other, with me, and towards their goals. And that is what being a leader is to me. Accepting mistakes, as lessons to grow from, and growing yourself so that you can better help others in your groups grow. And I have Sarah to thank for helping me grow.”

Erica Hanlon
Class of 2023

“As a leader I believe strongly in individuality and community. I feel that every person should be encouraged to express themselves and to be welcomed in every environment. As a leader, I strive to be an ally to everyone including groups like the LGBTQ+ community, people of color, and people with disabilities. Over the past year of attending WSU, I have learned so much about different groups of people as well as inequity that exists in society. When I entered College, I wanted to challenge myself to embrace the uncomfortable and see New Perspectives. I wanted to step outside my own personal world and learn about bigger issues than those that directly affect only myself. I have made efforts to become involved and make a difference on campus. Whether it be through small means like being friendly and open-minded with the people I meet, or through larger means like going to Washington DC to Advocate on behalf of WSU students or supporting the WSU stand against hate rally. I know these efforts are just the beginning steps in making a true difference, but I am determined to continue these efforts in the next three years I have here. I will continue to support members of the WSU community and try to make everyone feel welcome. I want to help in the fight for equal opportunities and treatment for all people. I hope to carry these goals with me far beyond graduation; for instance, in my future career as an occupational therapist where I can Advocate on behalf of my clients and support them for who they are. Above all I want to make even the slightest different and others lives as a leader. I want to spread positivity and encouragement, and have others know they can rely on me to be there as a friend and to always stand up for what is fair.”

Jaylene Hurley
Class of 2022

“Growing up, I was a shy girl that just tried to flow with the crowd, but I never quite fit in. I went from school to school, constantly being an outsider, until I settle down in Hudson for most of my life, but I still had this lingering feeling of not fitting in. I never really felt like my voice mattered I let this feeling consume me and bring me down for too much of my life.

When I got accepted to Worcester State, Mark Wagner was calling me over and over trying to get me to join his civic engagement program before I even chose to attend the school. It greatly impacted my decision and my current outlook on the school; people believed in me and made me feel like I had a place before I even made the choice to go here. It opened up a door for me to learn more about myself and my uniqueness. I decided I was going to push myself out of my comfort zone. I was going to take advantage of opportunities that came my way that started with accepting Mark’s offer. Upon getting to college, I kept doing things out of my comfort zone. Like joining emerge leadership, or talking to all kinds of new people, or checking out clubs that came my way. I realize I had a lot more potential than I previously believed.

Because I know what it feels like to get overlooked, I noticed when other people are getting overshadowed so I reach out to them to hear their ideas. I listen to people. I make them feel heard. I told you what I believe in them because I really do. Everyone has the potential to accomplish ambitions and do great things – all it takes is one to cheer them on. Lastly, I tried to embrace people for who they are. Everyone has great things to offer… And maybe some things that will get under our skin too, but everyone deserves to be heard, accepted, and supported, just like I did. Because of my experiences, I’ve become a leader that works to make people feel like their voices are heard and included. That’s the lead I needed growing up and that’s the leader I am today.”

Jacob Labonte
Class of 2022

“A leader may not always be the obvious person. Many people have this vision that a leader is someone who has no flaws and are incapable of making any mistakes. However, this is not the case. To be a leader does not require being Flawless in fact the best leaders are those who are perfectly imperfect. They are not only confident in their strengths but also acknowledge and secure and their weaknesses. These weaknesses are what makes us human and what makes us relatable. A leader being conscious their weaknesses allows them to work well with others who compliment their strengths and weaknesses. This provides opportunity for others to step up and emerge as leaders themselves. A leader is capable of taking a step back in allowing others to take lead when there is someone else better suited for the position. Leaders don’t suppress others from growing and becoming leaders themselves, instead they discover the untapped potential in people and encourage and assist others in their develop in growth as a leader.”

Marissa Luchini
Class of 2022

“I want to be a leader who grows outside of her comfort zone (and inspires others to do the same) in order to grow both as a person and as a leader.

I believe that a leader should be:

Reliable – be someone people can trust and rely on to get the job done.

Open-minded – willing to accept a diverse range of both people and ideas.

Approachable – make people feel comfortable coming to them.

Confident – in themselves and their capabilities.

Creative – think outside of the box to create a new and inventive solutions to problems.

Team-oriented – take initiative and do whatever is best for the group as a whole.

Positive – bring a positive energy to the group.

Lighthearted – always try to bring a smile to people’s faces.

Kind – be compassionate, caring and willing to lend a helping hand.

Passionate – show interest, excitement, motivation and motivate others as well.”

Cayce Pappas
Class of 2021

“What defines a leader? It is a question that has been floating around in my head for the past two semesters. Is it the individual who stands in front of a crowd to deliver a powerful message? Is it a person who is committed to their beliefs, and represents them with full integrity? Can everybody be a leader? Who am I as a leader?

I stand behind two beliefs; that anybody can be a leader and that everybody was put on the world for a reason, no matter the fact that they may be more reserved or outspoken. A leader can come in all shapes and sizes, you just might be confident in your purpose. I doesn’t matter if other people don’t believe in you, the most important thing is that you believe in yourself. That makes you a powerful leader, because sometimes the hardest person to convince to believe in you is in fact yourself.

Being in Engage and Emerge has taught me a very important lesson, that I’m privileged to have a voice, and not using it would be a disservice to those who may not realize their views matter. It’s important to remember that a leader is not a stand alone individual; they encompass the ideas and voices of so many others. This is why a significant characteristic of a leader is, not only being able to look back on who guided them down their path, but also looking ahead to people they hope to reach out to. A leader doesn’t have to stand behind something large, but if you’re going to stand for something stand tall and proud.

It is essential to remember that not everything will go as planned, it doesn’t have to. It’s okay if your thoughts don’t line up with the person who is next to you. How a person reacts to the situation, is how their leadership skills are defined. I want to make as many positive impacts on this Earth while I have the chance. Hopefully my actions will have an influence on others to take a stand for what they believe. Finally, if you were to take away anything, recognize that a leader doesn’t necessarily look for someone to stand behind them but next to them in order to guide one another.”

Leadership Symposium 2020

Registration for the 2020 Leadership Symposium is now open!

The Office of Student Involvement and Leadership Development is excited to share this year’s Leadership Symposium. Designed as a one-day leadership event, the Symposium is an opportunity for students to learn about the different facets of leadership from staff, faculty, and alumni. A keynote speaker will kick off the event, and students can select from 15 different workshops to build their idea event schedule. The Leadership Symposium will conclude with a chance for attendees to network with one another and invited alumni.

Details on workshops and speakers will be made available in the coming weeks.

Take a look at our Leadership Symposium page to learn more about this year’s event.

Student Leader Honor Roll

Each semester, the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership Development recognizes those students who were able to maintain a 3.5 cumulative GPA while being involved in a student organization. This is a significant accomplishment, as it is not always easy to balance academic requirements and the role of a student leader. Below are the students who received this honor for the fall 2019 semester.

Welcome Back Lancers!

We are excited to welcome back all of our students for the spring semester! We have many exciting things planned for this semester, and are looking forward to continuing and expanding our leadership programs in order to provide even more opportunities for students to get involved with campus life!

Leadership Programs

This semester we will be welcoming another class to the Emerge Leadership Program, the first level in our three-tier formal workshop series. Emerge had it’s largest class ever last fall, and many of those students will be continuing their leadership journey in the spring Engage program. If at any time in the semester you would like to nominate a deserving student for the Emerge program, you may do so here.

The OSILD staff has been hard at work during the winter break to prepare for the first ever Leadership Symposium, a one-day leadership experience that provides students the opportunity to enhance their leadership skills and knowledge while learning from staff, faculty, alum, and Worcester community leaders. The Leadership Symposium is scheduled for Friday, March 1, from 1-6pm Registration for the Symposium opens on January 21 and is open to any Worcester State student. More information can be found on the Symposium page.

At the end of February, 35 student leaders will join the OSILD staff at the Leadership Summit, a weekend retreat in Cape Cod. Using the StrengthsFinder assessment, students will take a deep dive into their top five strengths and learn how to best use their natural talents. The Summit is a highlight for our students each year, and we cannot wait for this year’s event!

Campus Events

There is an entire calendar of events for this semester, brought to you by student organizations, the OSILD, Residence Life, and other campus offices and departments.

Club Promo Tables are scheduled for January 27-30, from 11am-1pm in the Student Center Exhibit Area. Each day, different student organisations will host a table to provide information about their group and how students can get involved.

In March, Hawkins, IN will be coming to Worcester, MA. A night featuring all the fun and mystery of Stranger Things is scheduled for Friday, March 27 from 7-10pm in the May Street Building. Keep your eyes peeled for more information as the event gets closer.

A full event listing can be found in OSILD, on the second floor of the Student Center, and on the Worcester State Event Calendar.

Make sure you also check out the schedule of Wellness Center classes and intramural sports offerings. If you want to get a taste of which Wellness Center classes are best for you, check out their Fitness Jam on Thursday, January 16.

Career Services, the Counseling Center, and Residence Life also provide programming throughout the semester. Make sure to visit their pages to learn more!

From all of us in the OSILD, we wish you the best of luck for this semester!

2019 Emerge Leadership Philosophies

At the culmination of each semester’s Emerge Leadership Circle, students share their personal leadership philosophies. These philosophies are the culmination of a semester’s learning and reflection, and each is as unique as the participant themselves.

Christine Babbitt
Class of 2022

“One of my core values is growth. I have reflected on this value for the past few weeks and realized it is my goal to find growth in the experiences and opportunities I encounter throughout life. Another aspect of my leadership philosophy is that perfection is not the goal. There is an underlying pressure for leaders to be perfect, infallible. But in order for leaders to be effective we must be approachable and relatable. Otherwise, we risk not making those connections with others that help them to achieve their goals.

As an RA, at times the ways you help your residents are clear, such as when you help design someone’s schedule or make a door tag with their preferred name. And it feels great when your residents say “Hi” in the hallways. But there are lows too, like when just last week one of your residents asked, “Wait! You’re my RA?” Or when you find yourself counseling a friend about a pregnancy scare.

Over the summer I worked as a camp counselor with 12 young girls. There were many challenges working with this age group. Sometimes they listened to what I said. Often I had to repeatedly ask for quiet and good listening ears in order for them to follow instructions, yet somehow someone always walked into the lake.

As an RA, leadership challenges can be hard when you are responsible to a group. You must balance coursework, friends, family and relationships. You need to do your best to stay healthy and rested so you can do your best work when you are on schedule. And sometimes things don’t go as well as you would have planned. But finding the growth opportunities, the ability to learn from things that didn’t go well, is what sets you apart from the crowd as a leader. I have enjoyed making connections with people who I wouldn’t have otherwise met. I have learned to work as a team in stressful situations, as well as how to create community connections based on a foundation of the values of fun, well-being and growth.

I realized early on in the semester that this wasn’t going to be as easy as when I worked as a camp counselor with 12 little girls who kinda listened to what I said. But that ties to the other part of my leadership philosophy- that growth is the goal, not perfection. Mistakes are a reality of life, they happen everyday on big and small scales. There is an underlying pressure for a leader to be perfect- but also to be relatable and approachable. And if we were perfect then we wouldn’t be relatable since who is? Growth is what makes a leader stand out above the crowd- they’re moving towards that vision of perfection while falling down but knowing how to shake the dust off and keep going.

Gabrielle Decosta
Class of 2023

“Now, I know this may come as a surprise to you all considering that I spoke up a lot during this program, but I am actually quite quiet and introverted. I’m a listener and observer, and I do my best to examine each facet of a particular situation before expressing my opinion. So for me, being a leader is stepping out of the safe space that is my inner thoughts and actually putting them to action by guiding others. I encourage my peers to share their thoughts and ideas, regardless of if I agree with them, because one of my defining beliefs is that diversity is critical aspect of a successful team, and being willing to consider new perspectives is a critical aspect of a successful leader. Holding everyone’s relevant perspectives equal to one another is necessary too, as this ensures everyone is contributing equally to the task at hand. With these beliefs comes my personal values of leading in such a way that is open minded and accepting. I embrace other’s unique perspectives and can accept constructive criticism which will benefit my peers’ productivity and my own leadership journey. Besides just accepting my team members, I also as a leader accept myself in order to reach my fullest potential. Though I try my hardest, I am not perfect, but accepting my flaws is an important step for me to be a good leader. I hope to lead by example and demonstrate to others that they can accept themselves too. It’s about guiding, not dictating, and creating a space where everyone feels that their voice is being heard. By embracing my core values as a leader, I hope to set an example for others to be more open minded and accepting too, and make the world a better place for all of us to live in.”

Andrew Farrington
Class of 2022

“After being selected for this program, I had to think hard about why. I never really defined myself as a leader, so understanding why I was selected to participate has been on my mind for quite a few weeks. Each leader is different, and each leader follows a different guideline, and this guideline is called the Leadership Philosophy. A self-examination of my habits in groups and in different roles has shown that leadership is more than standing up in front of people and giving a speech. Being a leader is bringing passion into everything one does, and setting an example through actions, as cliche as that seems.

Having a passion to continue to be better is so important as a leader. Stagnant effort only leads to regression. Progress comes from an individual or group making an effort to move forward. This is an important energy for a leader to provide.

Having a voice for those who do not believe what they have to say matters is important. It is important for everyone to have concerns and ideas shared. Each voice and each opinion matters equally, so being expressive for those around you when you are in a leadership role is a big part of my leadership philosophy.

Being able to roll and adapt to changing situations is an important quality for a leader to have. Events do not always go as expected. However, it is important to stay even keeled and search for a solution. This means preparation is incredibly important, as is planning for the unexpected.

The most important role of a leader is to lead by example. Not every leadership role expects a speech, or shaking hands or being incredibly diplomatic. In many situations, for me, the best leader is one exhibits behaviors that should be repeated, not just discussing them. A leader that can lead by actions, not words, speaks volumes as to what is expected, not only by everyone else, but by him/herself. This leadership quality holds everyone, including the leader, to the same standards. It shows respect and equal treatment.”

Julia Fitzpatrick
Class of 2021

“Leadership comes in many styles and forms and reflect upon the personalities and values of each individual. I value honesty, creativity, fairness, and use these values when making decisions. Important strengths I possess are listening, analyzing skills, and problem solving. As a leader, it is a priority that I take the time to listen to what each group member has to offer, and analyse both the responses and the task at hand before reaching any important decisions. It is important that I not only utilize my strengths to best benefit the group, but that I also encourage others to identify and utilize their strengths as well.

Furthermore, it is important to recognize that not everyone is going to have the confidence to offer their ideas, especially in a larger group setting. Because of that, as a leader I want to create an environment that encourages the active participation of everyone and helps people to step out of their comfort zones and share their valuable ideas and insights. Truly when everyone comes together and shares their ideas each unique, formulated from their own perspective great things can come of it. The quote “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” by John Quincy Adams encapsulates a significant part of my leadership philosophy.

An important goal of leadership is to help to inspire people to become the best that they can be, and encourage people to take the steps to become the great leaders that they can be.”

Erica Hanlon
Class of 2023

“Canadian-American public speaker and author, Brian Tracy, once said “The best leaders have a high Consideration Factor. They really care about their people.” I feel this quote exemplifies my style of leadership. I am a highly compassionate person; I care a lot about other people, their feelings, their wellbeing, and how I can help and support them. Compassion has been a major factor of my leadership for as long as I can remember. Starting a young age, caring for the wellbeing of others drove my ability to advocate for myself and others. In sixth grade, my best friend, who was in special education classes, was being taunted by another student. It made her hate coming to school, but she was very shy and afraid that if she spoke up the bullying would get worse. I felt horrible that she was being treated so unfairly just because of her learning disability, so one day I decided to tell the bully to stop. Even though it was scary, I knew it was the right thing to do and I broke through the barrier of fear to advocate and push for fairness. Even at a young age, I strongly believed that everyone should be treated equally and from that point forward, I was never scared to use my voice to fight for equality. In high school, it was my genuine care for individuals on my cross country team that helped me become captain of the team. It was my desire to help represent the needs of other students that helped me be elected to student government. I believe compassion is an essential characteristic of a leader because they truly care about their followers and the people they are helping. A compassionate leader will not take over in a group, or dismiss a subordinate part of a group or society. They will always accept everyone for their personal identities, and they will hear and value their voices. In college, I will continue to use my voice and stay true to myself as a leader. I will use my abilities to better the lives of others around me and work to further develop and grow as a leader in the future.”

Kyle Lindberg
Class of 2023

“A leader is someone who is able to convey their ideas and work with others in order to solve a problem. Yet a leader is also able to listen and sift through other ideas presented within a group to determine what is the best option to take or direction to go in. A leader is someone who is able to disrupt chaos and create order amongst peers while also being sure that everyone’s concerns are properly addressed and discussed. A leader is able to be adaptable and ever changing. In some situations a leader has to be more stern and others a more soft spoken and easy going leader is required to get the most production out of a specific group of people. A leader can work with these different groups of people and change their strategy to best work with said group. Lastly, a leader is someone that others can look up to. Someone that people can go to for advice. A leader must have a strong and more importantly a good moral compass and set of values. A leader will set an example for others and that example should be a good one.”

Marissa Luchini
Class of 2022

My leadership philosophy is all about growth and blossoming into the leader that I hope to be. I want to be a leader who goes outside of her comfort zone in order to grow both as a person and as a leader, and I want to inspire others to do the same.

Overall, I want to be a leader who is:

Confident: I believe that a leader should be confident in his or her abilities and trust that they have what it takes to be a successful leader.

Reliable: I believe that a leader should be someone that people can trust to get the job done on time and go above and beyond what is asked of them.

Passionate: I believe that a leader should show interest, excitement, and motivation to complete a project and should motivate their group members as well.

Open-Minded: I believe that a leader should be willing to accept a diverse range of both people and ideas in order to make the best decision possible for the group.

Approachable: I believe that a leader should make people feel comfortable coming to them to express a concern or bring up a new idea.

Lighthearted: I believe that a leader should always try to bring a smile to people’s faces and use humor to brighten people’s day.

Team-Oriented: I believe that a leader should take initiative and always do what is best for the group as a whole.

Creative: I believe that a leader should be able to create new and inventive solutions to problems, combining and encompassing the ideas presented by the whole group.

Kind: I believe that a leader should always be compassionate, caring, and willing to lend a helping hand.

Alvin Marchena
Class of 2022

“Every chance you have in life to make an impact on others is an opportunity to help yourself. I believe that we grow as humans when we work towards something greater than what we are. While many people say that we should be proud of ourselves and what we do, I think we should try to be humble, and this directly influences my leadership style. Regardless of what position I have in a given group, I treat everyone with the same amount of respect. This allows others to respect me, but at the same time trust me as a leader. I usually do not tend to take the spotlight; I am more comfortable with praising others for their work and letting them feel accomplished. A person who feels appreciated by his superiors is more likely to contribute productive ideas for his team. In other words, I would rather be the type of leader who guides others towards new destinations while letting them build the road. Finding a great team and empowering them to make decisions is a crucial part of my leadership philosophy because a leader cannot expect to surpass expectations if nobody else is confronting his ideas.

One of my long-term career goals is to make it into the political field. However, I do not want to be a congressperson or another elected officer. I would much rather contribute my ideas to other candidates as an advisor, budget manager, or an economic policymaker. This connects back to the fact that I feel much better when I am helping others make it into influential positions while keeping myself away from the spotlight. As a leader, I empower others to make their own decisions and ultimately enjoy the benefits. This makes them feel productive and appreciated which is the greater goal of our team. No man is an island.”

Cayce Pappas
Class of 2021

“What defines a leader? Is it the individual who stands in front of a crowd to deliver a powerful message? Is it the person who is committed to their beliefs, and represents them with full integrity? I stand behind two beliefs; that anybody can be a leader and that everybody was put on the world for a reason, no matter the fact that they may be more reserved or outspoken. A leader can come in all shapes and sizes, you just must be confident in your purpose.

As a leader, I am privileged to have a voice, and not using it would be a disservice to those who may not realize that their views matter. It’s important to remember that a leader isn’t a standalone individual; they encompass the ideas and voices of so many others. This is why a significant characteristic of a leader is, not only being able to look back on who guided them down their path, but also looking ahead to the people they hope to reach out to. A leader doesn;t have to stand behind something large, but if you’re going to stand for something then stand tall and proud.

It’s essential to remember that not everything will go as planned, it doesn’t have to. How a person reacts to the situation, is how their leadership skills are defined. I want to make as many positive impacts on this Earth while I have the chance. Hopefully my actions will have an influence on others to take a stand for what they believe. Finally, if you were to take away anything, recognize that a leader doesn’t necessarily look for someone to stand behind them, but next to them, in order to guide one another.”

Camiron Reyes
Class of 2021

“My reasons for being a leader stemmed from wanting to be more outgoing and confident. I have always loved being part of a team but I have always wanted to try leading a group and taking on more leadership positions. To start on this goal of mine, I applied to be an orientation leader and it was a huge growing experience for me. After taking on that responsibility, I really enjoyed learning how to lead and how to be a good leader. This made me want to learn more about leadership, and when I got nominated for emerge I was very grateful and excited to give it a try. These days I feel a lot more confident leading presentations, groups, etc. I don’t think I would be as confident in my skills and leadership if it wasn’t for emerge and the workshops like the problem solving workshop. Although activities where you have to problem solve can be bothersome, it helps us remember that in life sometimes we have to solve problems without clear cut answers. Overall, I think that being a leader means to be the best you that you can be, always putting your best foot forward, and giving your goal everything that you can. For me, this was tough because I was often afraid of failure, so I wouldn’t give my all to anything I did due to fear. After my growth so far throughout my college experience, I learned that I shouldn’t be afraid of failing, but I should be afraid of not giving something my best effort. That’s what made me the leader I am today.”

Michelle Rivas
Class of 2020

“Es la habilidad que tenemos las personas de influenciar a otras. Esta influencia puede ocurrir por medio de nuestras palabras o por medio de nuestras acciones.

Esa influencia que se ejerce sobre otras personas puede ser para provocar un cambio en ellas o simplemente para ganar la simpatía de esas personas.

Liderazgo es lo que ejerció Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar con todos sus compañeros de batalla.

Liderazgo era aquella pasión y deseo de Simón Bolívar por libertar todos los países a los cuales él libertó. 

Liderazgo es lo que ha hecho que Greta Thunberg decida cambiar el curso del planeta.

Liderazgo es lo que ejerce en mí, día tras día, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, a través de todas sus obras.

Liderazgo es lo que ha hecho que las canciones de René Pérez, mejor conocido como Residente Calle 13, se hayan convertido en una crítica social.

Liderazgo es lo que motivó a Juan Pablo Duarte a pelear por la libertad del pueblo dominicano.

Liderazgo fue lo que Frida Kahlo ejerció en mí, a través de su fuerza de voluntad, su pasión y su amor por lo que ella hacía. 

Liderazgo es lo que mis profesores ejercen diariamente en mí, mediante la dedicación que cada uno tiene a su trabajo y la inspiración que cad uno me provoca.

Liderazgo es el fervor que me motiva a ser como soy, a ayudar a todo aquel que necesite de mi ayuda, a ser una voz para las personas de habla hispana en mi comunidad, a ser diferente.

Liderazgo es es sentimiento que nace dentro de nosotros y que nos motiva a pelear contra las injusticias.

Liderazgo es aquello que nos ayuda a tomar la iniciativa cuando nadie se atreve a hacerlo.

Liderazgo es lo que ustedes (Sarah and Linzy) han ejercido en mí, para que yo, hoy en día, escriba esta disertación.”

Edwin Rodriguez-Rivera
Class of 2022

Everyone has their own ideas as to what a leader should be. Most of them correlate and some aren’t even near. Personally I’ve never looked into what I do myself that makes me a leader until now. I’ve noticed that I myself tend to do things on a daily basis that a leader would do. For example when they say “A good leader is a good listener.” since I’m a good listener and like to hear people out, and understand everyone’s point of view it is my way of explaing to myself what a leader is. It is the first step to being a leader. I believe a leader is someone who is humble, knowledgeable, has determination, has mutual respect, gives credit, coaches, says we not me, makes tough decisions, takes responsibility, and motivates a team regardless of the situation.

I feel that as a leader it is important to lead by example and to know that sometimes actions do speak louder than words. A leader is mindful to everyone’s capabilities and skills, and knows that they will all work together hand in hand later on.

As a leader you have to be very decisive, and you have to understand that communication is key. Communication is key to a leader because the people you are working with will have a clear understanding as to why you made a certain decisión. 

I believe that having leader traits is a privilege and an opportunity to inspire others and direct others in a positive way and lead them to the right way of doing certain things.

Owen Slattery
Class of 2023

“Being a leader is not for everyone.  It takes a special kind of person to display leadership qualities.  To be a great leader, you must be able to rally the troops when times are tough and find success.  When these times arise, deal with the cards you’re dealt and make the most of it. To be a prominent leader, you must not only tell people what to do, but show people the correct way of getting through obstacles.  It’s all about being able to not only talk the talk but having the ability to walk the walk. Don’t dwell on how the challenge is difficult, but get it done and more importantly get it done in a timely manner. A capable leader will deal with extreme conditions and achieve success regardless of the task.  To be a respected leader, no discrimination will be taking place. To have an effective leadership style, a strong ethical code and good morals are not only a want, but they are required.”

Catalina Ulloa-Hiltz
Class of 2023

“My mission as a leader is to ensure all feel welcomed and are heard. One’s opinion or voice does not hold any more importance over the next person’s. Making connections and discovering commonalities among peers allows for basic conversation in which is the anchor for human interaction and cultivating friendships.

Although my leadership style is not one that is very outspoken, I firmly believe in the notion of “leading by example.” Actions speak louder than words and holding yourself to a higher standard will be easily seen and respected by others. Past experiences, as well as the present, have shaped me as an individual and as the leader I am today. My leadership style continues to form as I further discover myself and my abilities. Recognizing that there is always room for improvement allows me to strive and be the best version for not only myself but for others as well.

A leader is someone that has gained the trust and respect of their peers, they are someone that takes everyone’s opinions into consideration and puts others before themselves. All while having the best interest in mind for the group and for the collective end goal. This is the type of leadership I value and strive to embody on a daily basis.

Obtaining a personal leadership philosophy creates clarity in one’s decision making and actions, it makes your mission as a leader clear and concise to everyone and allows for self-reflection. Being a leader is not all about making sure you are receiving the credit for a job well done, but rather knowing within yourself what you have accomplished and moving forward. Leading in a subtle, meaningful manner is just as important as those leaders that are naturally outspoken. Being a positive leader, I hope to both inspire and aid in the success of my own peers by staying true to my philosophy and executing all that I value as a leader.”

Jessica Wicks
Class of 2022

The Leader in Me

I could just say I’m a leader and leave it at that
But many of you wonder, what makes this a fact
So let’s take a quick journey so you can see
What makes me know, there’s a leader in me

The leader in me believes in being honest
How can I lead, if it’s me they cannot trust
The leader in me understands the importance of being kind
Even the smallest acts, can bring peace to others mind
The leader in me knows that at times, others will be the ones ahead
True leadership comes from the ability to be humbly led
The leader in me believes in displaying leadership in my walk, day to day
How can I expect others to follow, if my actions don’t match what I say
The leader in me knows that in some things I fail
Being a leader requires determination, so even in setbacks, I’ll learn and prevail
The leader in me believes in having a strong spiritual foundation
Because with God, there are no limits, on how I can help build this and future generations.
Most importantly, The leader in me operates in love
For it is love, I know, is at the root of the leader in me

Thank you for allowing me to share with you the leader in me
It is my prayer that in my words and actions, a leader, you will always see

Jaymi-Lyn Souza | Student Senate Chairperson

Jaymi-Lyn Souza seems to have appeared out of thin air. Coming to Worcester State from nearby Leicester, she spent her first year on campus quietly excelling in her classes and participating in the spring field hockey season. Last September, Jaymi was walking around the Club Kickoff with a friend when a member from the SGA table stopped her to ask if she was interested in joining.

“Right off the bat in Senate meetings I was active and involved, and when the Chairperson ended up stepping down… they nominated me for chair. I had no idea what I was doing, so I rolled with the punches.”

A few short months later, she was sitting in the Senate meetings as Chairperson. And her second year as Chairperson is just beginning.

It’s Not Make-Believe

Jaymi speaks proudly of the work she has done as a member of the Student Senate, with projects ranging from advocating for issues in higher education to helping develop the meal swipe donation program. The time she has spent in her role as Chairperson has only helped her better develop her personal leadership style.

“The thing with being the Chair that I’ve had to be really conscious of is, yes, I have my own really strong opinions about everything all the time but it’s really important to me that I don’t just impose those opinions over the Senate. I want it to be a deliberative body, I want it to be the Senate’s decision, not just Jaymi having an iron fist and deciding everything that the Senate does. I’ve had to be conscious of myself and keep myself in check.”

Jaymi in Washington D.C. as part of the President’s Student Leadership Spring Break Trip

During last spring semester, Jaymi was selected to travel to Washington D.C. on the annual Student Leadership Trip, sponsored by the President’s Office. She was able to spend time with other students meeting with members of Congress and their staffers, as well as explore everything that D.C. has to offer.

Jaymi’s passion for activism and government was evident while she reflected on her experience.

“I loved it. That activism work that I talk about, it’s very real, it’s not make-believe anymore. It’s not talking about it in a classroom, it’s actually going and doing it. We went and talked to Ed Marky, and a couple weeks later he was here talking about the things we [had discussed]. It’s really rewarding to see your work pay off like that.”

Call Me Bossy

One thread through many of Jaymi’s experiences and future goals relate to her experience as a women in a leadership role. She referenced current Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the challenges that face her and other women in leadership positions.

“I hear all the time the conversation about strong empowered women being bitches or being aggressive or assertive. It’s really frustrating,” Jaymi shares. “But I’m a very determined person, it doesn’t make me back down. When I’m mad about stuff like that, like the system and the injustices I don’t like, this is part of it. Some people are like ‘I guess I’m too bossy?’ And I’m like no, cool, thank you for calling me bossy, it means I’m good at what I’m doing.”

Jaymi also took this moment to use a Taylor Swift song titled “The Man” to share some of her experiences.

“It [“The Man”] is exactly how I feel. I think coming into myself and just being able to say and point out, you wouldn’t be saying that to me if I was a man, has just kind of helped me take steps and realize there’s nothing inherently wrong with my leadership style. I’m not wondering if I’d be getting anywhere quicker, I know I’d be taken more seriously. I feel like I constantly have to prove myself first and then people will take me seriously, it’s not the default.”

People Who Don’t Like Peaches

Despite being just over halfway through her undergraduate career, Jaymi is already able to reflect on how her various collegiate experiences have changed her as a leader.

Jaymi at last spring’s Midnight Madness basketball game.

“I think one thing that I’m learning is that not everybody’s is going to like you all the time. It’s impossible to please everybody. You can be as peachy as possible, and there’s still going to be that person who doesn’t like peaches. I’m still learning this every day, and I just think doing the best I can has to be enough”

“I’m also a work in progress, and I think that’s really important. I think that people oftentimes look at me like I have [everything] together, but spoiler alert, I do not. I have no idea what I’m doing, I’m figuring it out as I go along. And so is everyone else. I make mistakes, I say things that I shouldn’t, I sometimes do things and I’m like, I should have seen that coming. Just because you make mistakes doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or a bad leader, it just means that you’re human.

Asking for Help

When asked about a piece of advice she would share with students just beginning their leadership journey, she spoke at length about hers struggles with asking for help.

“I was like that for a long time. I had to do everything by myself. I think for a long time I was like, I can’t ask for help, I have to do everything by myself, always, and it’s exhausting, and it’s lonely, and it’s draining. And there were so many people that were willing to help me. I was just like no, I have to do everything myself.”

“Just because you have to ask for help doesn’t mean you’re a bad leader. Just because you’re not sure of where to go or you’re not the most outspoken person, doesn’t say anything about you as a leader. It’s better that you do ask for help.”

Life after Worcester State

Jaymi shared that she has wanted to be a lawyer since she was 10 years old. “I’ve always wanted to make a difference,” she stated. “I see a lot of things in the world that I don’t like. Instead of just being the person to sit there and complain about it, I’ve always wanted to be the doer and fix these things.”

With a double major in history and political science and a minor in computer science, Jaymi has immersed herself in her pre-law program. The plan after Worcester State is to go to law school and focus on either constitutional law or technology policy.

“Lately I’ve been leaning more towards doing private sector law or patent law, that stuff that sounds boring to everybody else but is really cool to me,” says Jaymi. She also hopes to do pro-bono work and different advocacy work on the side. “People always need lawyers, and a lot of people can’t afford a good lawyer when they really need one,” she explains. “The idea that I could be that person is really appealing.” 

Jaymi is also on the Planning Board in Leicester, where she works with board members to review applications for zoning, special permits, and develop a plan for long-range land use. “I don’t think that I’ll ever stop holding some form of smaller public office,” Jaymi shares. “Politics and activism have always been an integral part of who I am.”

As for her political aspirations? “I know it sounds kind of ridiculous to take on an entire political system by myself…but if no one else is going to do it, I guess it will be me.”

Says Jaymi, “Through opportunities that the campus has given me, I’ve met people who will be my friends for a long time.”

*All photos provided by Jaymi-Lyn Souza.

OSILD Welcomes New Assistant Director, Linzy Martinez

Linzy Martinez, the newest Assistant Director in the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership Development, began at Worcester State in June following her graduation from Central Connecticut State University. A native of New Haven, CT, Linzy spent both her undergraduate and graduate careers at CCSU, where she studied sociology and history before graduating with an M.S. in Counselor Education for Higher Education and Student Development.

Linzy at her graduate commencement

As a student at Central, Linzy spent time working as a Student Center Building Manager, AV Tech, Orientation Leader, and Yale Housing intern. Her experience has carried over into her professional work at Worcester State, where she oversees student employees at both the Student Center Information Desk and Living Room, advises the Commuter Activities Board, and supports Commuter Services.

Before classes began for the fall, Linzy took some time to discuss her thoughts on leadership.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned when it comes to leadership?

“My biggest lesson in leadership was learning how to take what I learned about my role and leadership and trust my judgement. As a student leader I went through a time where I had the tools I needed to lead and succeed but I questioned every choice I made. A mentor of mine really motivated me to trust my judgment and use what I learned with confidence, and that helped me become a more successful leader.

My leadership style is crafted partly with who I am and partly with the values, personalities, and goals of the people I am leading. I find that with a combination of styles, I craft unique methods that work for myself, the group, and the common goal we are looking to achieve. “

Can you share how your identity has shaped your leadership style throughout the years?

“My identity as a Latina has contributed to how I value relationship building and hard work. I believe my background and family have instilled [in me] a warm and caring personality that allows me to be successful in connecting with [the] students and people I work with and find a lot of joy in working with a team. I also believe the community I grew up with really valued hard work and being grateful for every opportunity presented. Even if an opportunity doesn’t work out or it’s not something you necessarily enjoy, if there is a pay off or a chance for growth you should still work hard and use your strengths to remain open to new opportunity. I have learned in more recent years that taking the extra step to advocate for yourself, your needs, and what you believe in in a society that isn’t always equal can go a long way.”

What advice would you give to students who are just beginning to explore the type of leader, or the type of person, they hope to become?

“Learn your strengths and embrace them. Everyone has them so learn about what makes you a strong leader and be proud of it. Too many times I’ve seen great student leaders sell themselves short.

Apply a growth mindset to everything you do. Be conscious of how you have grown and what new opportunities you can take on to see professional or personal growth in yourself.

Embrace the identities that are most salient to you and don’t be afraid to apply them to who you are as a leader. Advocate for yourself and your needs! Use your support and always speak up when you feel it matters to do so.”

What are you most looking forward to in your first year at WSU?

“Getting to know the students and the Worcester State community!”

The staff of the Office of Student Involvement & Leadership Development (left to right): Colleen, Linzy, Kristie, Sarah, and Christine

Make sure to stop by the second floor of the Student Center to welcome Linzy to Worcester State!

Welcome Back Lancers!

We would like to take this opportunity to welcome all of our Lancers back to campus for the Fall 2019 semester! We are all looking forward to working with you all through your involvement in student organizations, leadership programs, and campus events.

The staff of the Office of Student Involvement & Leadership Development (OSILD) have been working all summer on finalizing a comprehensive calendar of leadership programs and events, details of which can be found here on our leadership site. Some highlights include:

  1. The inaugural year of the Excel Leadership Circle, the third tier of our formal leadership program, is set to begin in late September. Excel is open to all students who have completed the Engage program. Invitations will be sent the second week of September.
  2. A Student Leader Alumni Panel is planned for Monday, November 4, and will feature former student leaders sharing their stories and experiences. This is a wonderful networking opportunity for all of our students, and we hope to see you there!
  3. This spring, the OSILD will host Worcester State’s first Student Leader Symposium. This Symposium will feature a half-day full of workshops and speakers who will cover a variety of leadership-related topics. More information will follow later in the semester.

Following last year, we will continue to send our Leadership Snapshot email every two weeks, which highlights all upcoming campus leadership opportunities. You can sign up to receive that email newsletter here.

Specifically for Staff and Faculty, we have a few different opportunities for you to engage with our leadership programming. First, we have a Faculty/Staff Database that allows us to collect information on presentation areas of interest. Consider filling out this form if you are interested in presenting a workshop for any of our leadership programs or this spring’s Student Leader Symposium. We also have a form to collect information on existing leadership programs specific to your work area, as well as a form asking for leadership skills that you feel are necessary for success within your major-career field. Please consider filling out both of these as well; the information collected will help us promote more leadership programs to our students throughout the year.

We wish everyone the best of luck with the start of the semester!

The staff of the OSILD
(Clockwise from left to right: Linzy, Colleen, Kristie, Christine, and Sarah)

Public Speaking 101 with WSU Student Zoe Bates!

This past February, a delegation of Worcester State student leaders had the opportunity to attend the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts 24th annual Student Leadership Conference in North Adams, Mass.  One of those students, Zoe Bates, presented at the conference on how to become a great public speaker. She took some time to share her experience with us. 

By Sarah Farnham, WSU Student || Photos provided by S. Farnham

In February 2019, I had the privilege, as well as a few other RA’s on campus, to represent Worcester State University at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ 24th annual Student Leadership Conference.

At this conference, WSU’s own Zoe Bates presented on public speaking and how to perfect a presentation. I was thoroughly impressed with her confidence and poise through the presentation. After speaking with Zoe, she disclosed some details she enjoyed most about the conference and presenting.

Zoe Bates Presenting at Conference
WSU Student Zoe Bates presented at the conference on Public Speaking.

Sarah: Why did you choose to present on public speaking?

Zoe: “I decided to present on public speaking for two reasons. The first is that it is a topic I am fairly well-versed on. The second reason I decided to present on public speaking is because it is an activity that many people are not comfortable with, but will encounter throughout their academic and professional careers.”

Sarah: How did you get involved with public speaking?

Zoe: “My freshman year of college, I joined Enactus, a student club at Worcester State. Enactus works on eight projects throughout the Worcester area, all aimed at improving lives through entrepreneurial action. In the spring semester, Enactus has auditions for the Presentation Team.”

“The team competes at Regional and National competitions, going up against over 400 teams across the U.S.,” Zoe said. “While I have always been comfortable speaking in front of people, it was not until I joined the Presentation Team during my sophomore year that I truly understood the technicalities that can create a strong public speaker.”

How do you think your presentation went?

Zoe: “I think it went well. I designed my presentation so that what the audience learned would be applicable to most public speaking scenarios – from a class assigned presentation, to the boardroom in front of the CEO. The audience appeared to be engaged and interested in the presentation, which always makes things easier!”

What do you think are the big takeaways from your talk?

  1. Make sure you are prepared! Knowing your material and practicing your speech are critical components of a smooth presentation.
  2. Convey Confidence. This can be achieved through body language, dressing the part, and avoiding words that imply uncertainty including like, so, and um.
  3. Remember that if you look like you know what you are doing, and you act like you know what you are doing, people will think you know what you are doing!

What did you like most about the conference?

This was a wonderful opportunity to try presenting at a conference for the first time. It was low pressure, well organized, and the attendees were supportive and interactive.

My peers and I learned a great deal about ourselves, our impact, and our potential impact we have on our community at Worcester State University.



Thank you Zoe for representing us well at the Conference!

To learn more about how you can grow as a person and a leader, visit the Office of Student Involvement on the 2nd floor of the Student Center.


The Office of Student Involvement & Leadership Development

Professor Tanya Mears Discusses Identity, Diversity & Service

Worcester State Profesor Tanya Mears has been a dedicated member of the WSU community both inside and outside the classroom. She works closely with students to develop both their academic and their leadership skills. Dr. Mears took some time to sit down with us her involvement here on campus.

Written By Jess Evora || Photo by WSU 

Ethnic Studies Professor Tanya Mears has dedicated nine years of service to Worcester State, both in and outside of the classroom.  However, her dedication to serving her community began long before she arrived here on campus.

Professor Mears attended Northwest Catholic High School in West Hartford, CT.  Her high school put a strong emphasis on community service.  This is where Professor Mears’s commitment to service was first developed.  While in high school, she dedicated many hours of service to Mount Sinai Hospital in Hartford, CT.

Dr. Mears continued her community efforts once she arrived here at Worcester State. Not only does Dr. Mears teach a full-load of classes while pursuing her research interests, but she continues to stay involved as an advisor for the Third World Alliance. She also serves as a mentor for various initiatives within the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

“I don’t think of myself as a leader.  I think of myself as providing a service to the school,” Professor Mears said.  “I believe it’s my job to meet their needs as students.  I try to make sure I have a student-first perspective.”


Dr. Mears also feels it is important to take the time to engage in diversity-related discussion with students.  This is one of the reasons she truly enjoys working within the field of Ethnic Studies.

In 2017, Professor Mears was awarded the Worcester State Diversity and Inclusion Award, a  university-wide honor given to one faculty member each year. Many of Professor Mears’s classes focus on various topics related to diversity.  Her class titled “Politics of Black Hair” is just one example.

On a personal level, Professor Mears identifies as a woman of African descent.  “I understand the importance of representation,” She said.  “Seeing people of color in faculty positions is important, and so I do understand the significance of serving as a role model.”


auditorium-benches-board-207691.jpgProfessor Mears’s responsibility as a professor is to help students learn, but she also appreciates how much she has learned from the students.

“I’ve learned that students have so many great ideas,” Dr. Mears said.  “Society always wants to brush our students off as millennials who are spoiled and who don’t have much to offer, but that is completely false.”

She has also been impressed with the students that she advises within the Office of Multicultural Affairs.  “When I talk to students about what they are doing outside of the classroom, I’ve come to realize that they have so many additional commitments and responsibilities,” She said.  “It’s really impressive how much they are handling at one time.”

Professor Mears is juggling quite a few commitments as well.  Before parting ways, I asked Professor Mears to share me a few life lessons that she’s learned through her work on campus.  She shared three sentiments that she carries with her everyday as she works with the community here at Worcester State.

  1. “Be true to your interests and to the people to which you are trying to be of service.”
  2. “Encourage people rather than put them down.”
  3. “When working in a team, always remember that everyone can contribute.”

Thank you Professor Mears for sharing your love for service and your passion for supporting the students here at Worcester State.  We are proud that you are member of the Worcester State Community.

Best of luck with the rest of the semester.


The Office of Student Involvement and Leadership Development