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Students Share Advice On ‘Leading Forward’ Nationally

Feb. 24, 2014
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt

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Eight students and one staff member recently presented their ideas on leadership in various areas at the National Collegiate Leadership Conference, hosted by the University of Arizona.

conference presenters
The eight students who represented SHSU by presenting at the National Collegiate Leadership Conference Feb. 14-16 discussed topics of personal interest in relation to leadership. They include (from the left) Samantha McKinley, Nayeli Lopez, Michael Rivera, Paige Klinge, Chris Bertaut, Alicia Hammonds, Troy Ross, and Arlissia Knight. —Submitted photo

NCLC is a student-led conference that brings together more than 650 students from around North America to provide training and education on leadership and service.

This year’s conference, held Feb. 14-16, was themed “Lead Forward,” and participants were able to choose from 84 workshops and service projects.

SHSU’s participants were selected through the Center for Leadership and Service, which offers students the opportunity to receive leadership development by attending the conference and submitting a proposal to present on a topic related to the theme.

“The delegation tends to be incredibly diverse in classification, major, etc.,” said Meredith Conrey, associate director for leadership initiatives at SHSU.

Students who applied to participate through SHSU’s CLS were required to propose a presentation topic during the application and interviewing processes.

“Usually students present on a topic that they are interested in or passionate about; occasionally the presentation may be related to coursework or research, but not often,” Conrey said. “After SHSU delegation selections are made, all delegates submit a formal program proposal to the NCLC committee for the opportunity to present at the conference. The NCLC committee reviews the formal program proposals and makes official selections for the conference, just like at a professional conference.”

This year, all of the students’ proposals were accepted.

“I think it’s quite an accomplishment,” Conrey said. “I was available for coaching along the way, but I don’t coach too heavily, as I want the students to take great ownership over their presentation.”

SHSU student-led presentations included “Leading Forward to a Bright Financial Future” by Samantha McKinley and Michael Rivera; “Lead Forward in the Professional Workplace” by Chris Bertaut and Arlissia Knight; “Leading Forward in Understanding Racism” by Troy Ross; “I STAND: Leading Forward in Social Justice through Social Networking” by Alicia Hammonds; and “Keep Calm and Lead Forward” by Nayeli Lopez and Paige Klinge.

Conrey also conducted two presentations, on “Reflection: A Critical Step to Lead Forward” and “Lead Forward into a Career in Higher Education & Student Affairs.”

Presentations by the SHSU delegation received positive feedback from workshop attendees, according to Conrey.

“By engaging and presenting at the conference, our students are creating a positive reputation for SHSU,” Conrey said. “Many conference attendees approached me during NCLC with compliments about the quality presentations they had attended that were presented by SHSU students, some saying they were the best they had attended.”

As a first-time participant, Knight said she was impressed by the event, what she calls a "melting pot of great leadership approaches and ideas."

“I loved the conference because we all were unified by our desire to lead on our respective campuses; the desire to help our organizations and initiatives created a sense of thirst to learn how to better execute our visions and goals,” Knight said. “We were all receptive to one another's approaches and, furthermore, want to keep in contact so that we may continue to lead forward.

“NCLC was by far the best training that I have had in my entire undergrad experience, and I am thankful to Sam Houston State for sending me,” she said. “I intend to implement everything I learned right here on our amazing campus.”



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