Winter Games Part 2

I have done a lot of volunteering this year, but this specific opportunity always stands out as one of the most influential events. I was once again given the opportunity to volunteer at the Winter Special Olympics in Traverse City. This was my second year in a row participating. I was once again able to volunteer on the slopes at Schuss Mountain. I will never get tired of watching the athletes perform so well in all of their events. This is emphasized when I go down the hill on my skis and cannot come close to being as skilled and smooth as all of the athletes.

Although I believe the ski hills are the best event, nothing beats the Opening and Closing Ceremony. It is great having all the volunteers form a walk way that all of the athletes run through with pure joy as they are cheered on and given copious amounts of high fives. The Closing Ceremony is then followed by a huge dance party with the athletes, which despite the sweat, will never tire me out. The Winter Special Olympics is the most gratifying volunteer experience I have been able to participate in. I am already looking forward to next year and maybe even switching up my event.


Great friends and even better volunteering.


Launching into Leadership

This year I was lucky enough to have participated in Leadership Launch as my LEAD Team. I am very involved with Special Olympics on campus, so I was blessed to be given another opportunity to get more involved with the community. This was a big year for Leadership Launch and Special Olympics. We really put an emphasis on having our own ideas implemented and to take a big step in development of the event. The event was a huge success as it was recognized by the higher ups in the Special Olympics Organization.

I was lucky enough to be able to hangout with an awesome group of students throughout the day. Participants included students and partners from high schools all around Michigan. We went around to different rooms participating in various leadership and critical thinking activities. I really feel that the students took a lot from the day and enjoyed their time. Personally, I was able to learn a lot from the students. They always had very thoughtful things to say in the activities and personal experiences. It was also great to run small group activities and reflection. You can never have too much practice in those skills. I am very excited to see the direction Leadership Launch takes in the future and I hope to be apart of it next year.Leadership Launch

I’m Not Lucky I’m Blessed

Deciding to attend Central Michigan University has been the best decision in my life to this point. I am blessed to be able to call this place my second home. I have already changed and grown so much in just one short year of college. I came into college not knowing my future and just about anyone here. That soon changed with my LAS family! 47 amazing people that I am lucky enough to call my friends. They have taught me so much and made me want to be a better person.


I came to Central as an uninformed kid that loved people, but was clueless about the issues around the world. There is so much change that needs to happen around the world and I know my fellow LASers and I are gonna make a difference in the world. Saving the world, whether it be the environment (no more disposable plastic water bottles), going Vegan (meat is too good for me to stop), or just being more knowledgeable and aware. I do not tell everyone in my cohort enough just how amazing they are.

I realize this transition could have not been easy on my parents. I came close to commuting to a university near my hometown which would have saved me & my parents a lot of money  and student loans. After meeting Dan Gaken and other Leadership staff, my wise older sisters and parents encouraged me to go to CMU because they knew how much I would gain from the Leadership Program. Going from 4 kids living at home, to now an empty house. They have been nothing but supportive. They are always pushing me to do better and improve. My first semester was defenitely a challenge academically which I never faced previously in my schooling. I was surrounded by the support of Dan, my mentor, & many positive LAS’ers  who had high standards & similar interests which made the transition easy. I have learned so much and made the necessary changes to be successful. I can take everything I have learned into the future with me so that I can be and do anything that I put my heart into.
     I have been lucky enough to receive a wonderful mentor; Bellal, and brother; Nate,  volunteer and give back in Detroit, attend leadership conferences where I was inspired, go on weekend retreats where we bonded, listen to amazing speakers, meet the president, and make life long friends. This is only the start of what LAS has offered me. 

Living on campus, I have become a part of Program Board, volunteered around Mt. Pleasant, became an intramural champion in co-ed dodge-ball (with only a team of 6 against all teams of 7),  and lost the championship game of bubble soccer (we should have won if 26 year old nurses didn’t beat us :), fundraising and participating in Relay for Life, which is near to my heart, and all the future opportunities I will have to be involved in.
I was lucky enough to live in a Dorm where we are truly a community. Barnes has given me lifelong friends I will treasure forever, an important support system and many lifelong memories. Warm weather finally hits and everyone goes outside to hangout, do homework, and get a little competitive in volleyball. We stay up late writing blog posts, making cookies for competition day, going on long boarding trips (even though I am not the best), supporting each other, or just simply hanging out.

Everything I have done in college has improved me as a person and allowed me to grow as a leader. I can’t even imagine my life without having such a strong leader & mentor in Dan and the LI. I now have a passion to make everyone feel special, because you do not know what someone is going through and even just a few kind words could have a positive effect on them. I have improved my facilitation skills which I hope to always keep improving on. My eyes have been opened and I have a new overall compassion as a person. Although Engineering is usually not common as a leadership fulfilling major, I am excited and will strive to become a leader in the field and use my knowledge for the benefit of others.

A true leader understands cultural differences and that every individual they encounter is different and can lead in their own way. If you know what is going on around you, you can be more effectuve in how you lead. I hope I have expressed the positive and life altering affect college has had on me so far. It is hard to put in words how special this place is to me. I am blessed to call it my second home. Most people say they love their college and the opportunities it brings, but I truly mean it. The campus is so inviting, there is a common passion to make a difference, and the focus on the importance of Leadership makes CMU so amazing. I could never write about all of the positive impact CMU & most importantly the LI,  has had on me but I hope you get the scope of it.  I can not wait to see what the future holds.

The Future Roomies. I am ready for the crazy ride we are about to have next year in Emmons with everyone else that is also joining us!




That’s a No From Me

The question at hand is “does leadership come from a ‘yes’ or ‘no?'” In my opinion, leadership comes from no. Yes goes hand in hand with the easy answer. A no can cause you to think. No is taking the road least traveled. The road that you will find yourself among fellow Leaders.

When most people think of the word “no” they assume you are turning something down. This is most definitely not the case. The most monumental moments in history came from a firm no. Just look at some examples like Rosa Parks and Jackie Robinson. They fought for something greater then themselves. They did not like what was going on in society and they stood up for what they believed. All this came from a simple no. The word no shows character. It shows that you have unique thoughts and opinion and that you are no afraid to show them.

“No” is more than just a word. It represents standing up for what you believe. It is making your own choices, not what other people want or expect from you. The answer yes requires no explanation. You say no it requires and response and to think deep. It takes guts to say no and challenge ideas. If you aren’t challenging yourself and the people around you, growth will not come. Being a Leader comes from making a change and following what you believe. People don’t follow someone who complies to everyone else’s needs and the status quo. They go against the tide. Do not say yes to please others. Stand at the top of the tallest building in the biggest city and yell at the top of your lungs, “No!”

“The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes.” -Tony Blair


Impactful Leaders of Today

I am here to talk about someone that I believe is current leader in our society. I am going to talk about the¬†Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the General Motor Company, Mary Barra. Mary has been in this position since January of 2014 and is the first female CEO of a major global automaker. Anytime a female takes a large leadership position, especially one that has not been done before, is a monumental moment in our nation’s history.

Mary  Barra is a tremendous leader. Not only does she inspire people with her accomplishments, but she also beats adversity. Her first year at the helm of GM proved to be very challenging. The company had many setbacks, but Mary just kept at it. She was able to lay out her plan for the future of the company that shows a bright future. A true leader can handle tough situations, figure out ways to solve problems, and look to the future with confidence.

People will automatically look up to someone in that position of power. It takes guts and hard work to break the mold in our society and for that people should look up to her. Any female can look at her and be confident that they can do whatever they chose in life through perseverance. No stage is too big. As a Mechanical Engineering major, Mary Barra most definitely inspires me. She was able to overcome numerous obstacles to get in the position she now holds. This gives me hope that with hard work and integrity, I myself can get a high stature job at a large company such as General Motors. Mary Barra has many great leadership qualities, added with her high stature, that many idolize.



The face and CEO of General Motors, Mary Barra

Fred Factor

A very cool group project we got to do in our LDR 100 class is the Fred Factor. The Fred Factor is a book by Mark Sanborn, telling a story of a mailman who went out of his way to make a difference everyday in peoples lives. Being a Fred consists of 4 key factors:

  1. Everyone Makes a Difference
  2. Everything is Built on Relationships
  3. You Must Continuously Create Value for Others
  4. You can Reinvent Yourself Regularly

Our group consisted of 8 LAS members. This project had a really good meaning behind so I was excited to do it.

Our group decided on an idea based off a video we watched in Psych where peopled were brought in and wrote something about a person they appreciated and after writing were surprisingly told to call that person. It was an awesome video and perfect for Fred. We went to the University Center and found people to do this same thing with. We took all the information and produced an awesome video you can find here.

I loved everything about this project. I had a lot of fun getting the video clips and seeing peoples reactions. It is awesome to see the scared look you get when telling someone to call their loved one and reading what they wrote, then to have such a huge smile when telling a person close to them why they appreciate them. Even though we could not see it, recieving that phone call unexpectedly made the persons day and they probably had a huge smile on their face. I believe we do not tell our loved ones that we appreciate them enough, so this project helps spread this appreciation.