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Reflections on Courageous Action

Understanding your role as a leader in the Macy Undergraduate Leadership Fellows Program

December 8, 2015

Students in the Macy Undergraduate Leadership Fellows Program (MULFP) get so much more than a leadership certificate. They get to create a leadership portfolio and toolbox that will benefit them throughout their career and develop a personal brand – not to mention they’re introduced to a mentor to lend a listening ear and a helping hand at the ready!

With the newest cohort of MULFP students nearing the end of the first course in the three-course sequence, called “Courageous Action: Leading Authentically,” students are well on their way to discovering who they are as leaders.

“In Courageous Action, students are gaining a much deeper understanding of themselves, their leadership beliefs and their competencies,” said Roberta Waite, EdD, professor and assistant dean of academic integration and evaluation of community programs in the Doctoral Nursing Department. “They’re also learning what aspects of their lives might interfere with the way they lead or relate to others. There is a lot of power in someone’s life story, and this course is about understanding that.” 

According to Waite, self-awareness is one of the biggest takeaways in this first phase of leadership development.

Katerina Raiser, a nursing student graduating in 2016, echoes that sentiment. Waite describers Raiser as someone who “positions herself so that she’ll have to utilize her leadership skills, even if by trial and error. MULFP for Kat, is giving her additional insight and bolstering what she already knows.”

“The first course is teaching me who I am as a leader. I’m identifying my weaknesses, but also my strengths to learn how I can bring them into class and group discussions,” said Raiser. “My greatest strength is definitely having an understanding of who I am and where I’m coming from as a leader, and recognizing how things make me feel. But my weakness is in helping support others to work toward their goals, even if it’s just a simple ‘congratulations’ or ‘good job’. I need to work on being more supportive toward my peers by being congratulatory.”

Raiser, not surprisingly, is involved in a lot of student organizations, where she’s been applying her new found awareness to be a more encouraging, supportive leader. One example is in her work with the Student Nurses’ Association. “We plan an annual banquet, and last year I served as the organization’s president. This year, I’m helping the events chair with planning, and I’m working to meet with her and give her an opportunity to ask question about what she needs from me rather than just telling her what needs to be done.”

Raiser was most motivated to apply to the Program because she looked forward to finding a mentor to foster her growth. “Having this support to reflect on what I’ve learned and channel it into my future career really motivated me.” She also watched peers in cohorts before her grow from this discussion-based course and take away valuable lessons that they’ve used even after graduation.

Roughly 20 applicants make up a cohort each year, and the group moves through all three courses in the series together. “The content actually builds. You have to apply what you’ve learned in the previous courses to each subsequent course,” said Waite.
Raiser advises, “This program is for anyone who wants to find out who they are as a leader, or if they don’t see themselves as a leader, it’s a great way to become one.” She also enjoys the alternative to lecture-based courses, as MULFP is primarily an open discussion forum with guest speakers on occasion.

For more information about the Macy Undergraduate Leadership Fellows Program visit our website or contact Roberta Waite, EdD with any questions.