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Student Nydia Sanchez on the Macy Leadership Program

September 25, 2014

Nydia Sanchez is an accelerated BS/MHS Pre-PA student in the College of Nursing and Health Professions who recently graduated from the Macy Undergraduate Leadership Fellows Program. The Macy Program consists of three, three-credit courses that run consecutively during the fall, winter, and spring quarters, which work to foster and grow leadership skills among selected students. The program was established in 2011 by Roberta Waite, PhD, associate professor and Assistant Dean of Academic Integration and Evaluation of Community Programs, who developed the concept following her receipt of the Macy Faculty Scholar Award from the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation. Here, Sanchez discusses her time in the program, especially for the benefit of those students interested in applying.

Nydia SnachezChartings: What kinds of things have you gotten involved in since you started as a student at Drexel?

Nydia Sanchez: I am a Peer Advocate Leader at the Office of Center City Student Affairs, as well as a member of the Pre-PA Club and the Drexel Women’s Lacrosse team. I am also on the committee for the Annual Self-Care for Healers retreat hosted by the College of Nursing and Health Professions’ Alumni Network.

Chartings: What made you apply to the Macy Undergraduate Leadership Fellows Program?

Sanchez: During my freshman year I was more focused on figuring out where all of my classes were on Main Campus and the Center City Campus, getting to know the people in my classes, and joining a couple of clubs I found interesting, but I felt like I was missing out on something. In high school, I was the captain of this, president of that, and always busy with extracurricular activities 24/7. After I got the hang of things, I desperately needed to feel connected and get involved. I heard about Macy’s through my academic advisor and after reading up on the program, decided that I could benefit from a leadership course since I was naturally drawn to those positions. I was curious to learn what type of leader I was and if there was something I could learn from Macy’s to apply to my own leadership roles.

Chartings: Tell us about what you got out of the Macy’s Program. What did you learn?

Sanchez: During my time in the program I was able to learn about the type of leader I am, but more importantly the type of person I am. I learned how to identify my strengths and weaknesses and come up with a plan for how to assess those qualities. I was given perspective on how different people identify with leaders and leadership, as well as how their strengths and weaknesses differ.

The next part of the program took those differences we learned about ourselves and merged them together into groups. We were assigned groups to work with and learned to plan in a timely manner, document a group contract, and divide work based on our strengths and weaknesses. If there were conflicts, we were to devise a plan and reflect on ourselves first.

During the third part of the program, I was able to learn how to take what I had learned and put it into action. We were given a community health assignment based on our choosing and were asked to visit the site, learn about their core mission and why someone thought it was important to have. What I took away most from the assignment was actually visiting the locations and seeing real people work for a real cause. Everyone in our class gave their presentation on their assignment and it made me realize how much help is really needed out in communities surrounding us and all around. Since then, I have been able to branch out to some of these community health sites and offer my time and assistance. Since Macy’s, I have been able to get a more realistic sense of what it means to work as a health care provider in a population of diverse, consistent change.

Chartings: What was the most interesting thing that happened during the program, in your opinion?

Sanchez: The most interesting thing that happened during the program would have to be when we were able to hear from guest speakers about their experiences with diversity and inclusion, especially as a health care professional. I found great interest in interdisciplinary work in health care, especially at the Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services Center of Drexel University, which we were able to visit during class. Since then, I have been more interested in public health and community outreach.

Chartings: What was challenging about the Macy’s Program?

Sanchez: The most challenging aspect of the program was devising a plan to assess our strengths and weaknesses. We had to find aspects of ourselves that we wished to work on to not only become a better leader, but also a better health care provider.

Chartings: How has the Macy’s Program helped you advance?

Sanchez: I have been able to use what the program has taught me about myself, about group work, and about communities to discover the type of health care provider I would like to become. Since the program, I am more interested in community health involvement in the Philadelphia area as well as abroad. I have gained a lot from the mentorship that the program offers, like shadowing experiences and guidance on my career path. Not only have I developed as a leader, but as a person and in how I address certain situations. I can happily say that I have learned more about myself, what I like and what I don’t like in my anticipated career as a health care professional, and the type of health care provider I want to become.

Chartings: What advice do you have for other students who are interested in the Macy’s Program and in getting more involved on campus?

Sanchez: For students looking to get more involved, I say do it! There is no other course I am familiar with that offers an inside look at diversity and interdisciplinary work in health care, as well as allows one to learn about oneself and the community around you, as the Macy Program.

There are many opportunities to network in the program, and to this day I stay in contact with many people I encountered through Macy’s along the way. If you are looking to get to know yourself, the type of leader you are or want to become, and how to address real life work issues, Macy’s is a great place to start!