Eleven Students Find Confidence Through Elmira College Soaring Higher Student Leadership Program

Mihret Haile '26, a Nursing major and International student from Ethiopia, describes herself as introverted. But after self-reflection and courage, she decided to join the Soaring Higher Student Leadership program and is grateful she did.

“I am proud of myself,” she said. “I feel more confident in my abilities as a leader. The program helped me gain a better understanding of myself and it allowed me to overcome some of my introversion.”

Haile said that breaking out of her shell is important because she will need to be “courageous and advocate for patients” as part of her future career.

Haile and ten other students made up the third cohort to complete the leadership program since it launched in the fall of 2022. To participate, students must apply and are then selected to attend the program facilitated by Dr. Elizabeth Lambert, Vice President of Campus Life and Dean of Students; Larry Parker, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; and Ytzel Flores Cristiansen, Assistant Dean of Students. The content for the program is based on the book, "The Student Leadership Challenge: Five Practices For Becoming an Exemplary Leader" by James Kouzes and Barry Posner.

Throughout the 10-week program, students participated in individual and group activities that uncovered insights into their strengths and weaknesses. They learned to use their self-knowledge, such as identifying their values, to make better choices. Every other week, they listened to a new guest speaker about what they’ve learned as leaders.

Eleven Students Find Confidence Through Elmira College Soaring Higher Student Leadership Program

Eric Detar, Director of the Office of Inclusion & Belonging at Keuka College, was among the speakers who shared advice with the Soaring Higher students.

Like Haile, Candice Terpollili ’24 felt the program helped her build confidence in her leadership abilities.

“I learned many things in the leadership program,” shared Terpolilli. “My biggest takeaway was to recognize the importance of teamwork and how to implement it in various leadership styles.”

"Our third cohort of students who completed the Soaring Higher Student Leadership Program show great promise for their leadership journey at Elmira College and beyond,” said Lambert. “We had a truly diverse group of students not only in family and cultural backgrounds, but in terms of class years, academic pursuits, and career and leadership goals. They all actively participated in program activities and assignments, and I'm so proud of the progress they made in recognizing their own leadership potential."

Fall 2023 Soaring Leader Cohort

  • Will Mu Htoo ’24
  • Mihret Haile ’26
  • Johanna Knickerbocker ’26
  • Candice Terpolilli ’24
  • Justin Hyde ’25
  • Lindsey Smith ’24
  • Jocelyn Plaisted ’24
  • Justin Valle Cisneros ’27
  • Leiram Mendez Mojica ’27
  • Jx Graham ’26
  • Catherine Doyle ’24

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