You’ve got a friend in me: Mentoring a LAS Freshman

14212028_1414352508578173_1436817524207432811_nOne of the most unique parts of the Leader Advancement Scholarship is coming into your freshman year of college having someone you know you can reach out to for a helping hand, questions, and support. Each LAS freshman is given a mentor, a sophomore LAS student, to help guide them through their freshman year of college.

At the end of my freshman year, I was so lucky to have received Madison Mariles as my LAS mentee. I met Madison through MASC/MAHS Leadership camp the summer going into my freshman year. I never really knew her personally, but I was always inspired by her natural leadership capabilities and her outgoing, bubbly personality. I hoped that she would apply for LAS because I thought the program would be a great fit for her, especially as someone who lived and breathed leadership as a lifestyle.

I was so happy to not only find out that she received the scholarship last January, but later on in April, I had the opportunity to be her LAS mentor.

14316833_1458384477511263_5181495623173524781_nEven though I am supposed to be her mentor and help guide her through her freshman year, I am grateful that she has been just as much of a mentor to me. She has inspired me to challenge myself to strive to be more and do more in my community, as well as form intentional relationships with those around me. I am a better person and leader because of her.

It has been a blessing watching her grow and blossom in her first year of college here at CMU and I’m so proud of her for following her passions. I couldn’t ask for a better mentee and I am so excited to see where her time at CMU takes her.

LAS in The D: Post-Service Reflection

12439428_10153662261279075_6020222316778167839_n.jpgThis past Friday and Saturday (April 1st and 2nd) I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Detroit, Michigan with 47 of my closest LAS friends to learn more about the city and give back to people in need. Little did I know these two days of service, adventures, and learning would open my eyes to a new sense of appreciation for this city.

Bright and early at 9 am on Friday Morning, we packed our bags and boarded the bus to Detroit. With a 3-hour bus ride ahead of us, I was tired and excited; I couldn’t wait to see what was in store for the wee12932994_10153662256084075_9142314577018864473_nkend.

Our first stop on our service trip was the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, a charter high
school located in Detroit. As a future high school teacher, I was really excited for the opportunity to facilitate service projects with high school students. During our time at JRLA, we were split up into small groups consisting  of 4-5 LAS students and 4-5 Jalen Rose students. Throughout the day, we did different service projects with these students; we made signs for Special Olympics Athletes, wrote cards to veterans, and so much more. Interacting with Jalen Rose students one-on-one and learning more about them and their various backgrounds throughout the day was one of my favorite parts of the entire trip.

12936660_10153662258959075_8687728559541065439_nAfter facilitating at Jalen Rose, we headed to Pizza Papalis, an authentic pizza restaurant located in the heart of Greektown, for some dinner. During our time at Pizza Papalis we had the opportunity to connect with LAS alumni over pizza. It was really neat to talk to LAS alumni about both their experiences at CMU and how LAS propelled them to do great things in theDIA.jpgir future endeavors.

Our next stop on the trip was the Detroit Institute of Arts. Although I have been to the DIA several times before, I was really excited to walk around and explore the exhibits again. The last time I visited the DIA I was in 7th grade and I feel that visiting again as a college student has given me a new appreciation for the art there. Instead of rushing through all the exhibits, I found myself looking through each exhibit to gain an understanding of what was going on in that specific area at a particular time. Visiting the DIA helped me gain a new sense of appreciation for art.

A few hours later, we were back on the bus on our way to the Outdoor adventure center.jpgOutdoor Adventure Center where we would be spending the rest of our night. Before this trip, I hadn’t heard of the Outdoor Adventure Center, but it is such a cool place. It was basically a hands-on museum about the Outdoors and the environment. Staying the night at this place made me feel like I was experiencing night at the museum. There was even time set aside to explore the place as we wished, which was awesome.

CASSBright and early on Saturday morning, we headed off to CASS Community Social Services to spend the last few hours of our trip volunteering. CASS is an incredible organization  that provides food, health care, housing, and job opportunities to the people of Detroit. For our two hours of service at CASS, we were split up into three groups which each had their own specific task to accomplish. One of the job opportunities CASS offers people of Detroit is to shred papers. Many businesses, churches, and other organizations send their confidential papers to CASS to be shredded. Once these papers arrive, CASS is able to hire people to help sort the papers and shred them. For our two hours of service, my group was selected to aid in the process of shredding papers. While at12472655_10153662261904075_3750832391916377496_n first I was like “How hard can shredding papers be?”, it was actually quite a bit of work. Someone would be in charge of putting the papers on the conveyer belt and then the rest of us had the task of seperating colored papers from white papers; if it was white it stayed on the belt, but if it was colored, it had to be removed and placed in a separate crate. While this seems relatively simple, it got progressively harder when hundreds of papers were on the belt at once and the conveyor belt was moving extremely fast. Overall, I enjoyed my experience volunteering at CASS and I’m grateful that through our few hours of service, we were able to help an organization that does so much for the people of Detroit.

LAS in the D was by far one of my favorite weekends of my freshman year. I am so grateful I had the opportunity to give back to the city of Detroit and immerse myself in the culture. Detroit is so much more than the stereotypes it has been given and I hope that I can continue to learn more about the city.

 

LAS in The D: Pre-Service Reflection

il_570xN.858021379_72xcI am so excited because tomorrow at 8:30 am I will be boarding a bus with 48 other Leader Advancement Scholars to spend just over 24 hours giving back to the city of Detroit. Countless people have told me that the LAS in the D trip was one of their favorite memories of their freshman year and that the bonding and personal growth that happens on this trip is unlike any other LAS event.

I have been to Detroit numerous times and I’d like to think that I’m fairly aware of the social issues that surround the city such as poverty, crime, and homelessness. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to volunteer with my church in Detroit working at a soup kitchen and helping at a neighborhood garden. After that experience, I feel that seeing poverty with my own eyes made me realize how real these issues are and how they impact the people of Detroit every day. Also, at home my family watches the Detroit news so a lot of my knowledge about Detroit’s social issues comes from the news.

As we head to Detroit tomorrow, there are many ways that this service learning experience relates to the purpose and mission of the leadership inDetroit Carestitute. The purpose of the Leadership Institute is to prepare Michigan’s students and citizens for leadership roles in an increasingly complex and challenging society. I feel that the LAS in the D trip relates to the  LI’s purpose because on this trip, we will become more aware of the complex issues that surround the city and how as leaders, we can adapt to lead in these circumstances. The vision of the Leadership Institute is to prepare the next generation of individuals who will act responsibly to improve the quality of life, state of the economy, and communities in which they live and work. As we embark on this service trip, we truly are living out the vision of the LI; our service in Detroit will help to improve the quality of life to the students we work with and the community we will work with on Saturday morning.

I am so excited to see the personal growth I gain from going on this trip. I hope that being in the heart of Detroit will allow me to be exposed to more social issues that surround the city and seeing how I can make a difference against them. Additionally, I hope that I will even create closer bonds with people in my cohort and that we will come together as one big LAS family.

LDR 200L: Introduction to Leadership

70fd428d669eb1c63d37b3ca5157c1b6When I found out part of LAS Protocol was to take a three credit leadership course with my fellow LAS-ers, I couldn’t have been more excited. Although I had taken Student Leadership classes throughout high school and have been to countless camps, trainings, and workshops, I was excited to gain new college-level perspectives on leadership.

One of my favorite parts of this course, besides bonding over weekly snacks and Wednesday night dinners at the Robinson cafeteria after class, was learning more in depth about what researchers say leadership is.

Though learning about theories for three hours straight may sound boring, the way the material was presented in this course was a breath of fresh air; we were put into groups and were assigned to create an interactive workshop about the theory and how it is relevant to our lives as college students. By learning through this format, it was easy to understand complex theories and apply them to our everyday lives.

Also, there are some pretty neat aspects of this course that are unlike any other college class I’ve ever taken that I will apply to my future classroom one day:

  • A warm, welcoming classroom environment
  • Powerpoint presentations that don’t have 8,233,936 words on one slide
  • Funny, but relevant, videos
  • A genuine care for the success of all students
  • Lively, engaging lectures and activities
  • Self-reflection
  • and so much more

I still have about a month left in LDR 200L, thankfully. In this last month I’m excited to:

  • Receive my own mentee ❤
  • Present my workshop on The Social Change Model
  • Travel to Detroit, Michigan and volunteer with my cohort
  • Continue to develop as a leader and learn more about how others perceive leadership

 

Lead Team: Competition Day

CY29n7bWwAAdf7gThis school year I had the opportunity to serve on the Lead Team for Competition Day. Every year, this Lead Team is is made up of Leader Advancement Scholars who have completely plan every aspect of Competition Day for incoming freshmen from the moment the finalists arrive on campus to the moment they leave.

When I first found out I was chosen to be part of this Lead Team, I was ecstatic, after all, this was my first choice. I really felt that some of my strengths such as being organized and good at planning would be well utilized. Also, I thought it would be cool to plan Competition Day, a day that helped me fall in love with CMU and the Leadership Institute just one short year ago. CY35mdAWsAAQl0V.jpg

I enjoyed being part of this lead team, I really did. However, I didn’t feel like I was able to contribute as much as I would’ve liked to. We only had one meeting and at that meeting every detail of Competition Day had already been planned by the chairs. The only contribution I felt I made was just a small task of letting potential LAS-ers see my room.

Even though I wasn’t able to contribute a whole lot to my lead team, I was very grateful for the opportunity to serve on a Lead Team and I can’t wait to serve on another lead team in the future.

 

 

Spark Leadership Series

 

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Team Involvement after our first Challenge

For the past 4 weeks, I’m very grateful I had the opportunity to participate in the Spark Leadership Series. The Spark Leadership Series, also known as Spark, is a program put on by CMU’s Leadership Institute to further students’ understanding of their definition of leadership, their leadership style, and how they can further their capacity to lead on campus.

Going into my first session of Spark, I was a little skeptical. I’ve been exposed to a wide variety of leadership activities and simulations and I was really hoping that Spark wouldn’t be just a repetition of the same activities I completed throughout high school.

Thankfully, Spark was so much more than I imagined it would be.spark2

I think that one of the most valuable parts of Spark was being broken apart into groups that we stayed with for four weeks. My group, Team Involvement, went from being a group of strangers (minus a few of us in LAS who already knew each other) to a close-knit family. We overcame obstacles such as leading each other blindfolded through a room of mouse traps, discovered our personal leadership style, and expanded our perception of leadership.

Participating in Spark has furthered my understanding of my leadership style, considerate leadership, helped me develop new friendships within LAS, and has inspired me to continue to strive to BE better everyday.

EDU 107 Reflection

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 1.16.13 PMMelinda Pellerin-Duck once said that “I couldn’t see myself doing anything else but teaching; it is my vocation. It is part of my life, my soul, and my heart.” Going into my first semester as an undergraduate student, I was beyond ecstatic to be taking my first education class. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to become a teacher. Once I stepped into EDU 107, I felt like my dream of becoming an educator was actually becoming a reality. Introduction to Teaching has furthered my perception of teachers’ roles both inside and outside of the classroom, helped me view myself and others with a more open mindset, demonstrated how to create a welcoming classroom environment, and reinstilled my love and passion for teaching.

While I have had previous experience working in a middle school classroom as a teacher aide, I’m grateful that EDU 107 has continued to further my perceptions about teaching. One of the most beneficial aspects of this course was that it made me start to think from an educator’s point of view. The more we listened to speakers, talked about different aspects of being a teacher, and actually did field observations, the more I could really see myself having my own classroom. I found this to be especially when I was back at my high school doing my observation hours with one of my favorite teachers. Everything about being in a classroom helping students, grading papers, and facilitating discussion felt so right. It was through these experiences during Introduction to Teaching that helped me start to really think like a teacher.

Additionally, EDU 107 has allowed me to view myself and others with a more open mindset. We spent a significant amount of time in this course discussing student diversity and inclusion. I am an advocate for promoting diversity and I feel that this course has furthered my understanding of diversity really means. Contrary to popular belief, diversity isn’t just about skin color. Diversity is about every person we come in contact with having a different background, different beliefs, and different perspectives. During class, we did an activity that really helped me redefine diversity; we had to answer a few questions about ourselves, our background and then share our answers with others. Although our class is not very racially diverse, we all differed within the answers to our questions. EDU 107 has truly helped me broaden what diversity means.

Walking into Introduction to Teaching every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday was a breath of fresh air. I absolutely loved coming to this class because teaching is something that I’m very passionate about, but I also really loved the classroom environment. Unlike most college classes, the atmosphere in this room was always warm, welcoming, and friendly. I think that part of what created this warm environment was the interactive component of the course. If this course was set up in lecture format, the environment would’ve been more formal and professional. However, since the content was very hands-on and interactive, I felt that it created an environment where students felt comfortable to share their experiences and collaborate with other students. In my future classroom, I will definitely arrange the furniture so students can sit in groups because I feel that groups allow for discussion and collaboration that traditional rows do not.

Even though EDU 107 has come to a close, my heart is still set on becoming a teacher. I know in my heart that being in front of a classroom of students and helping them succeed, both academically and personally, is my purpose. My teachers have been some of the most inspirational and influential people in my life; they have challenged me, changed me, and empowered me to be the best me I can possibly be. I want to be that person for my students. Education is one of the most powerful tools in the world and I want to make learning fun. I want to help my students to enjoy learning and help them understand the immense value and purpose that education serves in our society.

After much pondering and doing field experience in both middle and high school level classrooms, I have decided to pursue a Secondary Level Certification from the state of Michigan. I believe that being a high school teacher is really the place for me to be. As a high school student, my teachers did an exemplary job developing meaningful relationships with me and showing me that there is more to learning than simply taking a test. My characteristics of being empathetic, kind, compassionate, and dedicated would allow me to fulfill the role of being an excellent high school level educator. Becoming a high school teacher would allow me to develop my own relationships with students and help them find value in learning as well. One area that I plan to further develop myself to becoming a phenomenal high school educator is finding how to motivate students who simply don’t value their education. I plan to develop myself in this area by gaining experience working directly with these types of students during my field experiences and find out what motivates them.

EDU 107 has been a very rewarding, eye-opening, and intriguing course. Throughout this class, I was able to gain new perspectives about teaching, broaden my definition of diversity, and gain insight on my future teaching style and objectives. Through this course, I have reconfirmed that teaching my passion, love, and purpose. The meaningful discussions, readings, and experiences have truly impacted me as a future educator and I know that I will carry the content learned in this course throughout my journey to becoming an educator.