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Program Participant Testimonials

Fellows

Olivia Giordano

2017-2018 Macy Fellow Olivia GiordanoThe Macy Undergraduate Leadership Fellows Program emphasis on interdisciplinary team learning is extremely appealing to me. It breaks down the siloes students learn in and will expose me to peers with like-minded goals from various cultural and academic backgrounds, who are committed to improving today’s complex healthcare system for a better tomorrow. I hope to act as a sponge and absorb the scholarly discourse and offerings of my peers while simultaneously exuding energy and excitement. I transferred from an Associates program to Drexel because of the self-enrichment opportunities, like MULFP program, that were never available to me before. Participation in the program is ideal for a student like me, whose main goal is to be best prepared for the rapidly changing healthcare industry and become integrated into campus life as a transfer student. I am drawn to joining an atmosphere where everyone is respected and feels valued as they discuss challenging topics in healthcare. MULFP peers and mentors will shape my introspection and cultural perspectives, thereby improving my ability to identify challenges affecting all Americans and to develop innovative solutions for today’s healthcare. Joining MULFP would be a rare opportunity at a large institution to build lasting bonds with peers, learn from other’s experiences in healthcare and academia, while being able to safely and openly share my own perspectives. The opportunity to enroll in Drexel's MULFP will position me to be a critical thinker, and the unique experience will help me in my journey of personal growth and independence.

What form of diversity do you bring to the Program? I transferred to Drexel last term from a small professional college with limited opportunities to study across disciplines. Nobel Prize winning scientist, Marie Curie, once posited, "Life is not easy for any of us…We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves.” Her mantra has guided me as I navigate life's challenges and barriers in both my academic and extramural activities. If granted acceptance to the MULFP program I will share my experiences as a first generation college student with a non-traditional bachelor’s degree path and discuss with my peers the many unique tribulations I faced along the way. These past two years have been a roller coaster as I sought out a purposeful education and a future career while managing my symptoms of attention deficit disorder (ADD). MULFP’s exciting and dynamic peer-learning environment has the potential to provide an open forum for me to discuss my diverse journey and learn from others. I hope my perspectives from working in large urban health centers during my Associate’s clinical degree in Dental Hygiene will ground the larger policy and academic discourse in real clinical practice. Further, I want to share my experiences and challenges with others who may have doubts or insecurities about their capabilities in a hyper-competitive academic program. Inspired by Curie’s words, I apply to MULFP more prepared and focused than ever before so that I can pursue an education that will allow me to improve the lives of others.

Mollye Barsh

2017-2018 Macy Fellow Mollye BarshI joined the Macy Undergraduate Leadership Fellows Program because I believe that I have the work ethic and leadership skills to help make a difference in this world. I believe that through the program, I’ll develop new skills while improving the ones I already have helping me reach my goals. Through being a part of the Macy Undergraduate Leadership Fellows Program, I will learn how to take the skillset I have and integrate it in an interdisciplinary setting—a reflection of real-life workplace. As a nutrition major, I am often surrounded by other students of my major which I love. Contrary to loving being in a small class setting with people as passionate about nutrition as I am, I believe it is vital to work with people of other health professions to learn a different point of views and ways of thinking and application. Integration is key to becoming a strong leader.

What form of diversity do you bring to the program? Diversity is a very vague yet significant term. Bringing people of diversity together creates an ideal atmosphere of learning and provides pathways of developing strengths, which could not be developed otherwise. I am a nutrition major and psychology minor for a reason; my junior year of high school, I lost 40 pounds through healthy eating and exercise. I eventually want to receive my PsyD in health psychology after becoming a registered dietitian and help pay it forward to adolescents who are in need of a change of lifestyle. Being someone who experienced the ups and downs of weight loss, I know I can use my story to help relate to others.

Ahtish Arputhan

2017-2018 Macy Fellow Ahtish ArputhanStrengths should be honed while weaknesses should be overcome. That’s what I try to strive for as I develop personally and professionally. I want to join this program because it simultaneously gives me the opportunity to do both.

Leadership is an important area that has always been a weakness for me. For most of my schooling years, I’ve attended a series of small, chiefly homogeneous, schools that minimized my opportunity to learn and practice leadership skills. Hence, I’ve always felt slightly inadequate and inexperienced in this crucial area. This program could remedy my inexperience by teaching me valuable skills pertaining to leadership that will be useful throughout my professional life.

In addition to helping me improve my weakness, this program pairs well with my strength of being a social person. The enjoyment I get from talking to people and getting to know their uniqueness has greatly influenced my choice of career. Simply listening to different individuals about their lives and experiences always gives me fresh perspective on my own life; thus, I have come to see each new interaction as a valuable learning experience. I believe I can learn a great deal from the diverse set of individuals who will join this program. This possibility of creating enjoyable and lasting connections while learning invaluable skills is the reason I joined the Macy Undergraduate Leadership Fellows Program.

What will my contribution to diversity be? I used to hate every single aspect that set me apart from my peers and siblings. I remember constantly trying to emulate the preferences of others to fit in but it was never enough, or more accurately, it never worked. I eventually “grew out” of the naïve desire of fitting in but I never truly learned to appreciate diversity until I left my hometown.

Moving to America was one of the hardest, yet the most rewarding, things I’ve ever done in my life. As an international student, I had the opportunity of experiencing a new world from an insider’s perspective. Initially, I was understandably nervous because I was constantly aware of the fact that I would be a minority in more than one way. This apprehension vanished soon after first being exposed to Drexel, Philadelphian and American cultures all at once. I learned that diversity transcends physical appearances and origins and it searches for the values and beliefs of oneself. Here, I’m not just a gay, immigrant from the other side of the planet who oddly enough speaks English as a first language. I’m seen as the sum and interplay of my experiences and the values that arose from these experiences. For the first time, I could see with clarity the value of the very things I despised growing up.

It’s a gratifying feeling, the kind of feeling you get when you fit a puzzle piece into a jigsaw puzzle. That’s what I hope to be: a unique puzzle piece of this program’s diversity.

Jasmine Jones

2017-2018 Macy Fellow Jasmine JonesI first learned of the Macy Undergraduate Leadership Fellows Program (MULFP) during my freshman year. I was having lunch with my friend Wanjiku, an alumna of the program and I remember her saying, “Jas, make sure you apply for Macy next year. It’s the only reason I’m still at Drexel today, and I know it will help you too.” Her words were powerful, and her explanation of the program peaked my interest. I wanted to take classes designed with a purpose of goal-setting, building professional networks and collaborating with mentors in my chosen field.

During my first co-op at 11th Street Family Health Services of Drexel University, I met a nutrition major, Molly. She was a Macy’s Fellow, and my supervisor was her mentor! Seeing their relationship and how much Molly learned from my supervisor, served as a visual representation of the MULFP model. I also had the honor of meeting and working with Dr. Waite, who served as a fountain of knowledge. Her wisdom and actions throughout the center made me certain that MULFP was the leadership program I wanted to pursue. I joined the Macy Undergraduate Leadership Fellows Program to learn new ways of approaching collaboration with people of diverse backgrounds, exercise risk taking and challenge myself to reach new heights of opportunity.

What form of diversity can I bring to Macy? I take my diverse background with me everywhere I go. I am an African-American woman, born into a single-parent home. Community service and writing are my two favorite passions. Thirteen years of Girl Scout involvement exposed me to a host of adventures and leadership opportunities. I’ve indulged in fine dining and travel outside the United States. However, I am no stranger to racial profiling or police brutality. While walking home from school during my freshman year of high school, I was forcefully handcuffed and detained for jaywalking. When I think about diversity, I not only think of the personal stories we carry, but what we do with them to make a difference in the world.

Elaine Chen

2017-2018 Macy Fellow Elaine Chen I want to join this program to enhance my quiet leadership skills that I can properly use, without much hesitation. For as long as I can remember, I was a timid girl who rarely spoke. My neighbors, whom I now call my American grandparents, were the catalysts who shaped the me of today. This kind couple often invited me to their house as my parents were almost never home. There, they constantly brought me out of my comfort zone and engaged me in daily conversations. Thanks to them, I became more vocal. Most importantly, I could share my thoughts and ideas with others. In the past if I was placed in a group assignment, I would just go with the group’s pace and do what I was told to. Now I communicate better with my teammates and openly suggest ideas, that many times, others like. Others would come to me for guidance. However, there were times where I still had to be urged to speak. As a future nurse, teamwork is crucial and there will be times where I will have to speak up without help. This program will be the place where I can improve and develop leadership skills that I can use in my future workplace.

I would bring a cultural diversity of my Asian heritage into the program. My mother grew up in China, my father grew up in Malaysia, and I grew up in America. My grandmother from my mother’s side is Buddhist while my dad’s parents are atheists. My mother, although not a huge devotee, took my sister and I to church. My American grandmother is Jewish and the husband is German. I am appreciative of this background where I can learn a little from each person. Overall, I am an open-minded person who has lived and worked with many people of different races, religions, socioeconomic standings and political backgrounds. Just as how these people shared their viewpoints, I can share my diverse viewpoints to this program.

Eric Jiwanmall

2017-2018 Macy Fellow Eric JiwanmallI want to join the Macy Undergraduate Leadership Fellows Program to procure the capabilities, attributes and behavior of a leader. I am majoring in Health Services Administration, and I believe one cannot manage without leading and one cannot lead without managing. In addition, as a future Health Services Manager, our scope of responsibilities rely heavily on our biggest asset: employees, therefore, in order to help fulfill the objectives of an organization, a true leader functions not by telling his/her employees how to complete a task, but to help the employees find the best way to do it themselves with the acknowledgement that I am readily available when needed. I believe a leader is a coordinator, an eliminator of barriers and an individual who helps the entire group move forward in the proper direction; I know this program will help me obtain the skills and values that I can implement in my future career. As mentioned in the application, “leadership begins with self-knowledge” and “self-knowledge includes understanding your abilities and qualities.” I believe everyone is a leader who possesses those specific abilities and qualities; they just need to become committed in learning and having full conception of those traits. A true leader is flexible and fits the needs of the moment. They are determined in learning about leadership and applying what has been learned, and I know Macy Undergraduate Leadership Fellows Program will help me develop many tools, skills and values to become a successful leader. 

Briana Walsh

2017-2018 Macy Fellow Briana WalshThere are many reasons why I want to join the Macy Undergraduate Leadership Fellows Program, and they all revolve around my desire to learn. I want to learn more about diversity and how to understand different culture’s perspectives. Being a Drexel student has already exposed me to greater cultural awareness and broadened my interest in further understanding and communicating with everyone. MULFP seems to be a safe environment for everyone wanting to connect, and I enjoy that everyone is there to support and grow with each other in a multicultural environment. I also want to learn how to enhance my leadership capability. Being on the shyer side of the personality spectrum, the thought of being a leader has scared me. However, I have always aspired lead someday, and want to step out of my comfort zone to inspire and challenge myself and others. I believe MULFP will help me gain self-awareness and self-knowledge in order to transition into a professional and comfortable leader. Lastly, I want to join MULFP because working with a mentor and peers from other majors will broaden my professional knowledge in the work-field and help me understand other majors’ perspectives. After switching into a health major, I have heard one statement repeated: All health majors work and collaborate together to solve a problem and each major is a vital step into reaching that goal. Therefore, it is important to understand all the steps within the fields to realize the importance of everybody’s contribution.

Hannah Terrazzino

Macy Fellow 2016-2017 Graduate Hannah TerrazzinoMy favorite memory about Macy is the times we spent getting to know our fellow classmates by hearing about all their experiences and points of view in a space that allowed us to be open, honest and vulnerable. 

 

 

 

Mentors

Megan Leahy
"Dr. Waite has implemented a program that grows and expands each year, challenging students academically, professionally, emotionally, and socially. Having been involved with the program since its inception, I have seen the lasting impact it has on the lives of not only the students, but the mentors as well.
As a guest lecturer on emotional intelligence and leadership, I have also had the opportunity to work with all of the students inside the classroom and witness their level of commitment and active involvement in the learning process. Overall the experience provides both joy and motivation for my own work. I look forward to seeing what the future will bring for the program at Drexel!"

Fred DiCostanzo
"I believe that leadership craft is learned through observing and interacting with role models. The Macy Program provides an important opportunity for me to connect on a personal level with an emerging leader, and to pass on some of what I have learned about the “art” of leadership from my own mentors, and to (hopefully) be a positive influence in the life, practice, and career of a future leader. I think the program is successful because it provides students with the opportunity to develop a personal relationship with someone who is invested in their success, and who is willing to take the time to address issues that are significant to the student.

Any undergraduate student who will be a sophomore, pre-junior, junior, or senior September 2017 within the College of Nursing and Health Professions or enrolled as an undergraduate major in Public Health are encouraged to apply to the program.

Fatima Thompson
“Participating in the Macy Mentor program has been an honor. I am happy to have the opportunity to share my knowledge and experiences, both professional and personal and am proud to be able to give back to nursing students. I understand the importance of having a role model and someone to be able to talk to about professional/educational/personal matters and is culturally competent. Understanding the background of the mentee assists in development of strategies to maximize any and all potential.

Since I was new to the mentor program, I decided to ask my mentee about her background, her academic progress and where she most felt she needed guidance or advice. It seemed like work-life balance and good communication skills are very important particularly for working mothers. I usually meet with my mentee, face to face, every 2 weeks, whenever possible, but at least once a month. During each meeting I have my mentee perform a quick self-assessment, asking her what the current status is and what she needs to improve or meet any stated objectives.

The Macy program most likely has been successful in its ability to recruit a diverse pool of mentors.  Recognizing the knowledge and skills of those from varied professional backgrounds and matching them with students who can benefit from this knowledge without a doubt contributes to the success of the program.”