Inaugural Honors Rising Leaders Cohort Completes First Semester of Programming

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 29, 2022)— This month, the Lewis Honors College Rising Leaders program at the University of Kentucky completed its first semester of programming. The first cohort of Rising Leaders was announced in January 2022; the program is partially funded by a generous donor.

This group of 14 served as the show’s pilot and has helped shape the show’s trajectory and map out the issues most important to them.

  • Mara Montoya, computer science student from Westerville, Ohio
  • Promise Kayembe, a human health sciences student from Lexington, Kentucky
  • Brennan Graham, computer science and economics major from Lexington, Kentucky
  • Princess Magor Agbozo, a public health student from Mesaieed, Qatar
  • Joshua Plain, a physics and finance student from Hanson, Kentucky
  • Madelyn Steineker, chemistry student from Prospect, Kentucky
  • Hannah Hardendorf, neuroscience student from Lexington, Kentucky
  • Savannah Saylor, psychology and neuroscience student from Richmond, Kentucky
  • Ainsley Wuerth, biomedical engineering student from Louisville
  • Artin Asadipooya, a neuroscience student from Lexington, Kentucky
  • Sanjana Rahman, psychology student from Frankfort, Kentucky
  • Hallie Rice, political science student from Louisville, Kentucky
  • Abraham Alhamdani, a neuroscience student from Frankfort, Kentucky
  • Caroline Allen, biology student from Oakwood, Ohio

The Rising Leaders program is open to honors students of all majors and majors and a five-semester commitment, from the spring of the student’s sophomore year to completion. Admission involves a competitive application process in the fall of the student’s sophomore year. After completing the program, participants will be able to define their own leadership strengths and preferences, connect their leadership practices to their values, assess their approach to leadership, improve their leadership skills, and define strategies for ongoing leadership development.

The Rising Leaders program is currently led by Lewis Honors College Center for Personal Development counselor Hannah LeGris and was initially conceptualized by Laura Bryan, TG Lewis Endowed Scholar in Organizational Behavior and current interim dean of the college. LeGris hopes that upon completion, students will have a deeper understanding of what leadership requires.

“Through this five-semester programme, we will strive to develop self-aware, principled and empowered leaders who can positively impact their communities, the Commonwealth and, ideally, the world,” said LeGris. “The structure and duration of the program facilitates permanent reflection, the construction of knowledge and learning through both individual and collective work.”

This semester, Rising Leaders participated in a monthly cohort meeting, which included a black tie dinner, a book club, and a self-awareness retreat. They also participated in online discussion forums, articles, and reflections throughout the semester. Each student was also required to meet with their Lewis Honors College personal development advisor and choose from a selection of workshops and events to attend.

These five semesters of constant programming, leading up to graduation, appealed to students like Sanjana Rahman, an honors sophomore, who wanted to carry these leadership lessons into her career.

“Rising Leaders interested me because I knew I wanted to strengthen my leadership skills during my time in college and for my career in the health field. I am excited to be with a cohort of student leaders who are passionate, motivated, and full of energy to learn.” .” Rahman said.

As part of the Rising Leaders program, students examine leadership building and learn strategies on how to become a better leader. The work they do in the program will be applied to their personal and professional goals, with special attention to comprehensive development. Rising Leaders focuses on key leadership competencies delivered through semester programs, each with a different theme. In its semester, the program focused on understanding and defining leadership and developing self-awareness.

Sophomore honors student Joshua Plain especially enjoyed the people involved in the experience.

“The Rising Leaders program gives us opportunities to learn from both professional coaches and a diverse, high-achieving group. I’m honored to explore leadership with such a fantastic group of people,” he said.

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