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Program Class of 2019

Kara Barber

kara-barber-iconI was initially attracted to the Macy Undergraduate Leadership Fellows program because I wanted to learn how to work with individuals—from various backgrounds, in various majors and health disciplines—towards the common goal of a socially just and equitable healthcare system for the future.

I believe the biggest strength of the Macy program is gaining a mentor to guide us through our leadership journey. Initially I was wary that my mentor and I are in different disciplines, however her experiences and advice have enriched my personal knowledge of healthcare and made me realize that some of the leadership challenges I have gone through are not specific to my field of study; my mentor has experienced similar challenges in nursing as well. My mentor has helped me address the most pivotal struggle of my academic career—how to professionally handle difficult conversations with those with whom I disagree. For example, I have a hard time conversing with individuals who have different or opposite, conservative viewpoints than mine and need to find a way to express my thoughts in a professional manner. My mentor has offered personal examples of her experience with these struggles in the workplace, as well as pointed me to resources such as NPR podcasts that teach people how to deal with opposing viewpoints professionally in the midst of a divisive country and political climate.

The Macy program courses are discussion-based, which lead to thought-provoking conversations that help open up my perspective and promote the growth of all of the students. I even had a few students tell me that they learned a lot about the queer community and appreciated hearing my perspective on many of the issues discussed in class. Through this program, I formed new friendships with individuals in other majors and strengthened existing friendships in my own major—behavioral health counseling. I hope to achieve the goal I set during my first term as a Macy fellow—to learn how to better interact in a professional manner with individuals who may hold opposite or conservative viewpoints. I realize I will have to address similar issues in my career, from graduate school to clinical work and beyond. I hope to effectively utilize the leadership skills taught in the Macy course, as well as the advice given to me from my mentor in order to achieve this goal, to disagree with individuals in a professional manner, and to learn how to properly enact conflict resolution skills for the future.


Keyanna Bynum

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During a nursing class freshman year, I recall a representative speaking to us about the Macy Undergraduate Leadership Fellows Program. She spoke about the program in depth discussing the benefits and how it can shape the leaders of tomorrow. It was not until months later that I discovered a close and well-respected friend was enrolled in the program. The more I learned the more I could see myself a part of it.The Macy program is very strong in helping future healthcare professionals define leadership and what it looks like to each individual. It has also allowed me to dig deep within myself and determine my own strengths and weaknesses. My association with the program has allowed me to build connections with alumni of the program as well as faculty. Since joining I was able to visit the Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Services and meet the people responsible for community development. While there I examined various forms of leadership and determined what each leader’s brand of leadership was. Having direct interaction with such influential women and men allowed me to decipher what I want my leadership brand to look like.

As a nursing major my typical learning experience is very lecture based with clinical application. The Macy program is a breath of fresh air with its untraditional approach to learning incorporating class collaboration, critical thinking, reflection of actions and team building exercises. Over the course of the two terms, I have gained new friends within my Macy cohort. Having students from various backgrounds take part in the class has allowed for the exposure to diversity that is necessary for all fields. Macy allows the exploration of our own personal biases. Mentorship has been beneficial providing me with the opportunity to join the National Black Nurses Association and meet women and men in my future profession who represent the same minority population as me. This has been essential to my confidence as a leader because representation is very important. I believe the long-term benefits will be exposure to a variety of healthcare professions and leaders. This will open doors for employment amongst other things. All in all, the Macy Undergraduate Leadership Fellows Program has been an unexpected blessing in my life.


Jeremiah A. Ham

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From the highest to the lowest level the art of leadership has continually served as a tool that shapes futuristic visions, binging groups of people together to share a common goal. It is a word that provides a sense of meaning and serves as the foundation in which we as people enable growth, not only in our communities but also in our workplaces and daily lives.

I was fascinated with understanding perspectives and the manner in which people thought. Being the first in my extended family to ever move out of the country, I was always told that one day I would amount to something great— that I would be a leader whom my peers would follow. But from a personal standpoint, I failed to see that in myself.

Eleven years later taking my first steps on a college campus, upon graduating from a military high school, I had finally developed that sense of confidence and embraced the leadership role that I had frequently hidden from.

In addition to my military training, I was in need of something that would enhance my leadership skills from an administrative health standpoint. The Macy program provides a dynamic and unique opportunity that, not only strives to create leaders but focuses on multidisciplinary skills such as intercultural competence, ethical growth and interpersonal development. Unlike traditional classroom settings, the Macy program creates a forum of conversation, tackling controversial issues such as race, gender biases, workplace dysfunctions and so much more. From networking events with Drexel administrative faculty to listening to guest speakers who provide insight in neighboring fields, to partaking in stimulating conversations that push the envelope of what leadership in healthcare entails, Macy provides a creative outlook for how to achieve in the workplace.

As a member of the Drexel ROTC program and a future second lieutenant, I have been very fortunate to develop a relationship with my mentor Professor Merritt Brockman, a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force. I have been able to not only relate to her as I pursue a career in healthcare but also how my commitment to the Army can push me to achieve my career goals.


Sydney Juska

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In the Macy Undergraduate Leadership Fellows Program, the advancement of your leadership knowledge, vision and skills take precedent. Each week, our cohort meets and dives into conversations about leadership, the interprofessional nature of healthcare and social and cultural awareness. With the help of Macy faculty and mentors, Macy scholars are given the foundation to grow into strong leaders.

As a Macy fellow, I am part of a community of people who are open to discussion and eager to learn and understand. The faculty and mentors are eager to teach us and lead us in our discovery of our leadership style. Most importantly, my fellow classmates come together to create a safe space for discussion and growth. Fellows work together to solve leadership scenarios and evaluate current events in the world and in our fields of interest. They provide a range of perspectives and experiences to broaden my knowledge and scope. This aids in my ability to understand others, and therefore communicate better with the people around me. All of this is made possible through our discussion-based coursework both online and in class. Unlike other college courses, we are encouraged to explore a topic ahead of time, and arrive to class ready to discuss and learn from each other. In the Macy program there is no jotting down notes from a slide; we learn from each other.

The leadership and interpersonal skills that I have developed in the Macy Undergraduate Leadership seminar will aid me for the rest of my life. The skills and ideas that have been presented to me in the program are a foundation for my future leadership development. Throughout the rest of my education and career, I will build on this foundation. This means always developing and improving my leadership and teamwork skills. The program has opened my eyes and my heart to learning, understanding, and respecting the difference between all of us. This diversity is necessary for progress, and it is necessary for every leader to understand this.  Macy offered me the opportunity to learn what it means to be a leader, and the skills to know how to become one.


Sabrina Kagan

sabrina-kagan-iconI originally learned about the Macy program last spring while taking the Applied Healthcare Leadership course with Dr. DiCostanzo. As a sophomore who recently transferred into HSAD, I was eager to gain more opportunity for development. Little did I know Macy was just what I was looking for.

While completing the assignments, I feel constantly challenged. Macy is not a traditional textbook type of course, and this took some getting used to in the beginning. There are no tests or studying, but instead we use critical thinking along with other essential learning tools. I feel as though the biggest benefits gained were personal and professional growth, independence and overall confidence. These benefits continue even into our winter term class with greater emphasis on team dynamics and team leadership. Macy has helped me take a deep look into what kind of healthcare leader I would like to become in the near future. Macy is shaping me not only into the student that I have always imagined being, but also a healthcare leader in the making. Years from now when I’m established in my career, I will have Macy and the great faculty to thank for helping me achieve my dreams.


Kaitlin Kelly

kait-kelly-iconWith emphasis on interdisciplinary learning, cultural awareness and leadership, the Macy Undergraduate Leadership Fellowship Program (MULFP) was a perfect fit for me. I possess a strong drive and desire to accomplish my goals, and this sequence of leadership courses has helped to clarify my vision through various leadership development activities, opportunities and professional connections. With a clear vision, a leader can profoundly influence those around them. Even in the face of adversity and defeat, a team with a strong vision can survive and even thrive through anything. In good and bad times, I want to be able to express to my team of physicians, nurses and patients what I see for the future in an empowering way.

One of my favorite aspects of the MULFP is knowing that class on Monday is going to be active and exciting and that I will leave with more tools under my belt to be the best leader I can be. Our classroom experience is unlike any other class I’ve experienced at Drexel. We very rarely have a lecture-centered class and are mostly actively involved in role playing, group activities, or with guest speakers. Also, the MULFP classroom is a safe environment to share individual perspectives on topics such as political news, healthcare ethics and other controversy. These discussions allow me to think critically and align my core values with my actions and words.

Another positive feature of the MULFP is the expansion of my professional network. I have connections with peers and faculty in Health Administration, Behavioral Health Counseling, and more. If I had stayed in the bubble of my core science classes, I know I would not have the same kind of awareness of these other fields of healthcare and have the opportunity to hear their points of view. 

In addition, the mentor-mentee program within MULFP has been such an asset to my life. My mentor, Wing, is a registered dietician in the local Philadelphia Area. She also works in an Oriental Medicine practice. Having a professional and personal relationship with her has given me access to her expertise in the field of nutrition. I love her perspective as a registered dietician, practitioner of Oriental medicine, and international student. In our recent meetings, we visited an Asian market in Chinatown. I was all for it! We went aisle by aisle as I picked up every vegetable and fruit I didn’t recognize. Having done shopping trips with her clients previously, she explained what the nutritional benefits of each food was and what foods it was cooked or eaten with. Afterwards, we went to a small Chinese tea shop and shared a teakettle of Rose hip tea. In looking for a mentor, I was hoping to have someone who could expand my horizons and incorporate my interests in nutrition and wellness and I have MULFP to thank for these invaluable opportunities!


Kayla Matthews

kayla-matthews-iconThe Macy Undergraduate Leadership Program focuses on developing students' leadership skills. It’s not your typical college course. This program has allowed me to grow in ways I didn’t realize were possible. The Macy program has provided a unique experience.

The strengths of the program include: individuality, respect, flexibility and motivation. My personal benefit from the Macy program is that it has motivated me to learn more about myself and others. Many of my classmates have different opinions, but it was eye opening to hear the other point of view. Although we may not see eye-to-eye on things, we all respect other’s opinions. You may not agree with others all of the time, but you need to listen to their opinions, hear their point of view and be respectful.  I think this is an important skill to have as a leader. Long term benefits I am expecting to derive from the Macy program include: leadership, respect, accountability and open communication.

These are just a few of the skills we have worked on developing so far. It is truly a wonderful experience that I would recommend to everyone; there are so many benefits, it would be a shame to pass up this opportunity. I am excited to see what else the Macy program has to offer!


Thomas Morris

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Often times in managerial positions, individuals are hired with the expectation of serving in a cut-and-dry supervisory role, one with clearly defined duties and procedures by which to operate under and direct subordinates. While that may be the case in some capacities, healthcare management is more than a situation of command-and-control. In order to achieve high levels of patient satisfaction, healthcare managers must often go above and beyond their written job descriptions. They must use their positions to serve as leaders, and in doing so, influence the talents and abilities of their co-workers. Whether studying in programs such as Nursing, Health Sciences, or Health Services Administration, most students within the College of Nursing and Health Professions will graduate with the ability to satisfy the duties of their future job descriptions. However, effective future healthcare leaders need to be able to use the concept of framing in order to clearly define a situation, tapping into the power of language to persuade and communicate. The ability of healthcare leaders to model, inspire, challenge, enable, and encourage, often does not come naturally. Development, training and mentorship through the Macy Undergraduate Leadership Fellows Program has helped to lay the foundation for my leadership growth.

Opportunities for individual and team-oriented growth are two of the most substantial strengths of the Macy Program. I have been very lucky to be paired with a fantastic mentor, and have heard that many other Macy Fellows feel the same. My mentor, Dr. Kevin Mitchell, has been very active in working with me to develop short- and long-term goals through the individual personal development plan. As I prepare to embark on my co-op experience next year, Dr. Mitchell has been assisting me in developing my skills and knowledge, so that I can effectively sell myself to potential employers, and earn a rewarding co-op position. The most important lesson, which I have derived from the team-oriented collaboration opportunities, has been the need to assign a designated leader. Often times, team members may feel that formally assigning a leader can make things awkward, or give an individual the opportunity to monopolize the direction of the project. While such a situation is possible, I have learned that naming a designated leader brings forth improved efficiency in task completion, as well as better clarity in direction with regards to the vision and mission for the project.

The atmosphere of the Macy classroom provides opportunities for the contribution of instructors and students alike. This allows for our differing experiences in healthcare, leadership and volunteerism to be shared and analyzed. Our classroom experience provides a safe space where feedback can be shared, and personal growth can be achieved based on the discussions between peers and seasoned professionals.

I have grown in aspects that will benefit my leadership abilities in my fraternity, other student organizations and my future career. As the ability to provide person-centered services has come to the forefront of healthcare, plainly following a set of procedural steps is no longer sufficient. When leaders are able to inspire others to best use their talents and abilities towards project and organizational improvement, patient satisfaction becomes much more likely.


Alexandra Mumma

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The many different guest speakers that our class has hosted have given us a look into what life after college. College teaches us so much, but to be able to learn from others on the “outside” is so important. I have learned more about healthcare beyond my own field over the course of the program than I ever dreamed I would. Not only have I learned about it, but I have learned how valuable this knowledge is and how helpful it will be in my career to keep learning.

As a group, we have been able to have extensive and meaningful discussions during every class session. Topics of discussion range from experiences with prejudice and microaggressions, to the latest medical technology, to things like problem solving and teamwork. I have been able to hear so many diverse perspectives and change my own opinions about things. Most importantly, this discussion is always valued as part of the learning process and is never cut short. Everyone has the opportunity to speak, and their contributions are valued and respected.

MULFP takes on a non-traditional approach to learning compared to other courses I have enrolled in at Drexel University. I feel more comfortable speaking with my classmates and professors, and overall it seems as though we have a much closer relationship. Because the program requires application and selection, there is a feeling of oneness among us. We have all been chosen for this opportunity and are working together to glean everything we can from the program. The course experience is more than just showing up to class and participating when necessary; it is much more enjoyable than that. In previous courses, I felt uncomfortable participating at times or became nervous before presenting or sharing my opinion. The sense of closeness eliminates all of that fear and discomfort for me personally, and because of that I have been able to contribute to many meaningful discussions. I feel confident saying that MULFP has changed me for the better as a student and allowed me to come out of my shell.

I am sure I will carry my experience with me throughout the rest of my life. I hope to never stop learning, whether it is about my field or others, and I aspire to be a positive influence as a leader no matter what environment that leadership takes place in. The Macy Undergraduate Leadership Fellows Program has pushed me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to grow as a student and future professional. Knowing that I am only halfway through the program excites me because I cannot wait to see what other growth and knowledge is in store for me in the future.


Alyssa Rygalski

alyssa-rygalski-iconI thought this program would be an incredible opportunity for me. It was appealing to me because I was able to receive college credit for my time spent enhancing my leadership. I was intrigued by the program requiring every member to receive a mentor. My co-op process was coming up and really could see myself needing some guidance as well as positive support during that stressful time.

The program is split into three terms and essentially three different classes. The first class we discovered our own personal leadership styles. It allowed us to analyze our strengths and weaknesses and learn to take the initiative to actively work on them. Our second class, which is the one I am currently in, has really challenged me in the best ways thus far. After giving us the knowledge of our personal leadership style, we were integrated into groups. Group dynamics will be something we come across so frequently once we start our careers as healthcare professionals. We analyze how we perform in groups which is incredibly beneficial. I’m excited to see what the final class of this program has in store.

I can already notice the plethora of skills I have gained. I analyze situations I’m in, in and out of the classroom, and assess ways to improve. The program challenges you to take your thought process a step deeper than usual, which I find myself doing quite often now. From the beginning of the program to now, I notice how my confidence in the classroom has improved. I am confident and willing to voice my opinions because MULFP has given me a safe space to do so. I cannot thank the program enough for the opportunity for personal growth. It is nothing but a positive experience and the perfect setting to build a professional network, which is crucial in healthcare. I know the leadership skills I have gained while being a member of the Macy Undergraduate Leadership program will stay with way beyond my time here at Drexel. I am equipped with more knowledge not only about myself as a leader, but how to be a leader specifically in the healthcare field.


Emma Savitsky

Emma Savitsky-iconWhen working in a field that requires almost constant interpersonal communication, it is vital that you are prepared to work with a variety of individuals from all different backgrounds. Additionally, most health professions involve collaborating with others; this is why leadership skills are so important for those going into the healthcare fields.

The main point of the program that I was attracted to was that it promised me a chance to improve my confidence and leadership skills. I know that self-assurance is something I have to work on, so the prospect of being able to do so in a classroom setting was very appealing to me.

During the first term, the class spent a great amount of time focusing on how to improve one’s own leadership skills and how they apply to one’s individual career. During the second term, we have focused more on group dynamics and how those apply to leadership skills. By doing a group project, my classmates and I are learning how working in a group is related to leadership, and how good and bad leadership can greatly affect both the teamwork and/or the final product.

As a Macy fellow, I believe that I am currently getting an opportunity for learning that my other Drexel peers may not have. The Macy Undergraduate Leadership Fellows Program enables students of the College of Nursing and Health Professions to improve both their leadership skills and their understanding of diversity. As far as I know, there are no leadership classes in any of the other colleges, and most likely not any that combine those skills with diversity in the workplace.

One aspect of the Macy program that I think is very unique is how close we are with our peers. In other classes, there is not so much of a focus on working together; in Macy, this is one of the most important aspects of the program. Since the course is split up over three different terms, it gives my peers and I more of an opportunity to get to know each other. I think this adds a great deal to our ability to work together, as we have a sense of what everyone’s leaderships styles are. Again, I do not believe that this would be as prominent if we had simply been in one standard class for a single term.

Looking towards the future, I believe that Macy will provide me with the leadership skills that I will need to be successful in the field of health professions. As someone who struggles with confidence, one of the most helpful aspects of the Macy program is the way that it teaches someone how to develop their own leadership style and apply it to their life, be it individual or group work. I definitely think that the program is a great way for students to both learn and grow in their group dynamics, and I would recommend it to anyone who plans on entering the field of healthcare.


Anna Zachwieja

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I switched my major from nursing to health services administration and picked up a minor in public health. Since switching, a majority of my classes have been related to leadership, so I thought Macy would be a great outlet for me to not only learn more about leadership in healthcare, but to begin practicing those skills in a safe space, like the classroom. The main thing that attracted me to this program was hearing the current Macy students talk about going to different job fairs and job interviews and how impressed employers were by Macy. Since I was going to be applying for co-ops within the next six months, I was always in search for new opportunities that could potentially set me apart from other students and Macy seemed like a perfect opportunity to do that.

It really is the type of program you have to experience firsthand in order to understand why it’s so great and different from other classes. From an outsider’s point of view, Macy is just another leadership course but it truly is so much more than that.

I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect walking in on my first day. Truth be told I was a little nervous when I learned our first task was to stand up at the front of the room and rehearse our elevator speeches, but as I got to know my fellow classmates and professor that day those nerves quickly went away. One of the things that makes Macy special is the small class size—you are able to get to know one another and build genuine connections. The same goes for our professors and although the professor changes each term, the entire class period is spent interacting with them, which allows us to build connections. Another relationship we build throughout the program is with our mentor. I always thought having a mentor would be extremely beneficial in college but never knew how to get one. Macy gave me the perfect opportunity. Building a relationship with my mentor has been great! She has become a person I can go to with any questions whether they are healthcare related or not. The experience and knowledge she has about the healthcare field is invaluable and has been extremely helpful as I get ready for co-op. Macy gives you the time and space to create these personal and unique relationships with all different kinds of people that you might not have might otherwise.

I am expecting to use most of what I learn in Macy in my career as a healthcare professional. I have no doubt that lessons I am currently learning in Macy, if applied correctly, will help me to advance in my future career and become a leader in the healthcare field.