Nine Soaring Higher Leaders Share Vision for Success

Just prior to earning his completion certificate at the Soaring Higher Leadership Award Ceremony, Nathan Romano '25, a Biology major, presented his plan to achieve his short-term goal of being a better club leader and his longer-term goal of attending graduate school. With his plan in hand and the information he learned in the Soaring Higher Leadership Program, Romano expressed his readiness to meet his goals.

“I gained a lot of insight into how I conduct myself as a leader and how I conduct myself with other people,” Romano said. “That gave me a lot to think about with my future direction.”

Romano and eight other students made up the second cohort to complete the leadership program since it launched in the fall of 2022. Students apply and are 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.

“My biggest takeaway was hearing first-hand experiences and personal stories,” said Lillian Sensinger ’26, a Childhood Education major.

The multi-year plans Romano and the other Soaring Leaders presented just prior to the Award Ceremony were the culminating piece. The presentations provided the students an opportunity to practice their newly learned skills and take their first steps as leaders, even if that meant admitting they aren’t quite ready to see where they want to go.

“My presentation was how I don’t have a plan yet,” said Sensinger. “Despite not having a plan, I shared how I’m supported, and the program taught me how to leverage resources. For example, completing the Soaring Higher Leadership program showed me how to focus inward and leverage the resources I will need to chart my course when I am ready.”

Soaring Higher Leadership Awardees:
  • Linda Avery ’25

  • Sophia Compeau ’25

  • Megan Fuchs ’26

  • Madison Morton ’24

  • Olivia Nittinger ’26

  • Nathan Romano ’25

  • Lillian Sensinger '26

  • Gabriella Swift ’26

  • Miranda Waterman ’25

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