January 27, 2017

A New Cohort of Students Enters the Leadership Institute

Graduate students and undergraduate alumni Lori Mould '14 and Jacki Hannon '14 participate in the student leadership institute.
Graduate students and undergraduate alumni Lori Mould '14 and Jacki Hannon '14 participate in the student leadership institute. Photo/Empire State College

A new cohort of SUNY Empire State College students from across the state have entered the college’s Student Leadership Institute.

The college’s leadership institute provides students with a yearlong experience, which develops and enhances their skills in working with others to achieve common goals and, equally as important, positively impact the communities where they, live, work and learn.

The 10 student leaders, six undergraduate and four graduate students, gathered Friday-Sunday, Jan. 20-22, for a retreat at the college’s 2 Union Ave. location in Saratoga Springs.

The retreat began with an informal mixer Friday evening.

Weekend workshops included:

  • communications
  • group dynamics
  • public speaking
  • writing a proposal
  • decision making.

Students also received training in Title IX, a federal civil rights law, which prohibits forms of discrimination based on sex, including gender identity and gender expression, such as harassment, sexual assault or sexual violence.

In addition to the workshops and Title IX training, students participated in a discussion about their individual volunteer experiences and other activities.

Brianna Phillips

Brianna Phillips, at 22 years old, is somewhat atypical. The average age of a SUNY Empire State College undergraduate student is 34.

“I am still developing as a young adult into my adult roles,” said Phillips. "Being surrounded by people who have already done that and getting to ask questions, learn from them, and bring in a different perspective to the retreat has been fun for me.”

She said that she decided to participate in the college’s leadership institute because, “I have developed just this sense of wanting to identify myself as a leader.”

Phillips said that public speaking is a particular challenge.

“It took a lot (of courage) to be able to stand up in front of these individuals and say something, and then be able to sit down and be able to receive feedback and take it in a positive way,” said Phillips.

Phillips, like so many other undergraduate students, transferred credit and earned credit for her work and life experience through the college’s process of individualized prior learning assessment.

A resident of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., She is in her last semester and is studying to complete a Bachelor of Science in Community and Human Services, with a concentration in holistic health and wellness.

Jacki Hannon ‘15

Graduate student and alumna Jacki Hannon ’15, who completed a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and Economics, explained why she was motivated to participate in the leadership institute, “For me, although I’ve done previous leadership things, this one was about learning to be a leader as well as a student and getting to work more with faculty.”

The Central New York resident and single mother of two works as the high-end beer and wine manager for a local distributor and owns her own small business.

“I think we can all always learn more about leadership, and I don’t think there’s been any experience that I’ve done with SUNY Empire State College that hasn’t been an incredibly positive one,” said Hannon.

She earned 45 credits of her undergraduate credits for the college-level knowledge she acquired through work and life experience, and was selected to be one of the college’s commencement speakers for the 2015 event at Syracuse.

Hannon is studying to complete an MBA in Global Leadership, one of the college’s graduate programs offered entirely online, with an advanced graduate certificate in project management.

Lori Mould ’14

Lori Mould ’14 was the first student in the history of the college to be elected president of the State University of New York Student Assembly and, by virtue of holding that office, became the first SUNY Empire student to serve on the SUNY Board of Trustees as the student trustee.

Mould also was a 2014 recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, SUNY’s most prestigious student honor, served on several college committees and is a past SUNY ACT Excellence and Student Initiative Scholarship recipient.

As a graduate student, her research project, “Ecological/Environmental Effects from Hurricane Sandy,” was selected for inclusion in the biennial graduate research symposium, which is sponsored by the faculty senates of both the State University of New York and the City University of New York and is held in the state capital.

Mould explained why, given her substantial experience, she decided to participate in the leadership institute. She said, “When you are sitting on the board of trustees, it’s a different kind of leadership style and you’re learning about different parts about yourself.”

Mould is studying to complete a Master’s of Art in Adult Learning, with an advanced graduate certificate in veterans’ services.

Mould is also a graduate assistant at Genesee Community College, where she earned two associate degrees and her first Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence. She is concentrating on higher education in her master’s work.

“When dealing with the student aspect and the academic aspect (of leadership), it’s a whole different type of leadership, it’s getting you prepared to go out there with your new degree,” she said.

Pat Myers, the college’s director of collegewide student affairs, together with Danielle Boardman, senior staff assistant for student services and academic support, Anita Brown ’12, ’15, collegewide career development coordinator, and Ashley Mason, coordinator of student services, planned, organized and facilitated the weekend and manage the institute throughout the year.

Each student participating in the leadership institute is advised by either Boardman, Brown or Mason throughout their yearlong experience.

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