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Students At Danbury's WestConn Learn To Take Charge In Leadership Program

DANBURY, Conn. — For the past seven years, a number of Western Connecticut State University students have engaged in building leadership skills in the Hancock Student Leadership Program.

Every semester, a handful of students are chosen based on academic prowess and determination to become members of the program, according to a press release. By being exposed to leadership opportunities, students learn what it means to apply their knowledge and skills to a career,  according to a press release.

This year’s students are: Kaleigh Cragan, of Oxford, whose leadership placement is with Kim Morgan, CEO of United Way of Western Connecticut; Steffani Carrion, of Danbury, who will work with William Glass, deputy superintendent of the Danbury Public Schools; Celina Curillo, of Danbury, who is placed with Assistant State’s Attorney Sharmese Hodge; Evelin Garcia, of Danbury, whose leadership placement is with Dr. William Delaney of Primary Care Internal Medicine; Lauren Kerton, of Brookfield, who is placed with Jay Murray, WCSU director of admissions; and Madiha Ahmed Khan, of Danbury, who will work with Dr. Spyros Smith of Western Connecticut Health Network.

“We help students find their leadership style and to realize that they are leaders,” said WCSU Professor of Political Science and Conflict Studies R. Averell Manes, coordinator of the program, in a press release. “Students in the program serve as ambassadors to the community and as role models on campus. Thanks to the generosity of the Hancocks, the program fosters and acknowledges the next generation of America’s leaders. Students learn and apply a broad range of leadership skills and techniques through their leadership shadowing field experiences and a series of scholarly seminars.”

Graduate Francesca Testa, who works at WCSU as assistant director of admissions, said the program benefited her greatly in her career goals.

“The HSLP provided me with the opportunity to take my leadership skills to the next level,” Testa said in a press release. “I was able to take my experience as a campus leader and hone my skills in communication, networking, delegation and professionalism. The skills I learned allowed me to grow into my career and become marketable across various fields, which is invaluable.”

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