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LEAP program trains current and future leaders

Published on November 29, 2021

LEAP program trains current and future leaders


The Student Activities Office at Eastern Connecticut State University recently concluded its fall session of the LEAP leadership program. Standing for “Learn, Explore, Achieve, Perform,” the program is designed to help students develop their leadership skills through a variety of workshops. This semester’s session trained thirteen students. 

Casey K
Casey Kensey, director of new student and family programs in the Office of Student Activities.

Planned and organized by Casey Kensey, director of new student and family programs and Joaquin Selmeski, graduate intern for orientation and leadership programs, LEAP is divided into two sections: cohort and council. Eight students made up the cohort this fall. These students must have 15 course credits to be eligible and also select a mentor who serves as a resource to them for the eight-week experience.

Sessions featured guest presenters from various fields who spoke on communication styles, conflict management, diversity, inclusion and other topics. LEAP participants also benefited from networking opportunities with professionals.

“It is so important that students are seeking ways to develop and grow as leaders outside of the classroom,” said Kensey. “The time commitment for the LEAP program is minimal, but students will leave the program with more confidence in their own leadership abilities and skills and hopefully continue to seek out additional ways to become active members within the Eastern community.” 

Nayelli R
Nayelli Rodriguez, fall 2021 LEAP cohort member.

Cohort student Nayelli Rodriguez explained which session impacted her the most. “I had the opportunity to meet Kemesha Wilmot, the associate director for the Center for Community Engagement. I really enjoyed how she opened our eyes to how important leadership is,” said Rodriguez. “Overall, it was a very enlightening experience and I encourage people to talk to her about these programs and the meaning of leadership and its importance.” 

Students who complete the eight-week cohort training and wish to continue with the program can transition to become LEAP Council members. This semester’s council consisted of five students with 60 credits.

Joaquin Selmeski, graduate intern for orientation and leadership programs in the Office of Student Activities.

“The Council is a great opportunity for students to create their own growth past being a leader on campus,” said Selmeski. “Unlike other experiences that solely teach students tools for success, the council relies on student experience to drive conversation. Their work as a group pushes them to consider how to transcend past being a student leader at Eastern while they are enrolled, but how to leave a legacy and be a leader in the professional world after they graduate.”

Sadayah P
Sadayah Pinott, fall 2021 LEAP council member.

As council members, students are considered advanced leaders. Council member and junior Sadayah Pinott described what the tasks for her position entail. “We meet as a group every other week to learn about ourselves and our skills while understanding how to be better leaders,” said Pinott. “It’s an inclusive but intimate setting where we can discuss our own experiences and relate and learn from one another.” 

At the end of the program, students are highlighted for their participation at a recognition dinner that invites both cohort and council members. This dinner will occur in April just before the spring semester ends.

To learn more about the LEAP program, visit

Written by Bobbi Brown

Categories: Student Activities