Leadership program at UAS aims to hold its students

Posted: Tuesday, March 05, 2002

A group of University of Alaska Southeast students are making breakfast for some local schoolchildren before the kids take state tests Wednesday.

As part of a new leadership course offered this spring to selected students, freshmen Kecia Medina, Sahar Ghorbanpour, Justin Whittington and Micah Nelson are preparing breakfasts for students at Auke Bay Elementary School and Mendenhall River Community School.

Medina said the UAS students want to help the children get ready to do their best on the tests, and they also want to establish UAS as a positive presence in the lives of potential students.

"It's remarkable how people will connect to something that happened a long time ago," she said.

Public school students in grades three through 10 are taking mandated state tests in reading, writing and math today, Wednesday and Thursday.

The leadership course was organized by Vicki Orazem, vice provost for student success, to create a stronger bond between student leaders and the UAS campus, and create ambassadors to reach out to the rest of the student body and the community. The goals are aimed at improving student recruitment and retention.

"We're going to have them go out into the community (to tell) students in the schools that UAS is a great place to be," Orazem said.

Orazem said all students who complete the course will be offered leadership positions next fall, such as student orientation leaders or teaching assistants for a freshman seminar. She also is looking at creating opportunities beyond UAS.

"We want to find internships for them, to see how leadership can fit in with their whole career and tie it closely to their academics," she said.

The organizers of the breakfast program said they would like to stay four years and graduate from UAS, showing that it can be done.

"I think that's what it's going to take - students who have proved it," Ghorbanpour said. "It takes those pioneers, showing the community it can be done."

Andrew Krueger can be reached at akrueger@juneauempire.com.

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