Jill Iscol, educator, philanthropist, and author of Hearts on Fire, headlines keynote panel on leadership and public service.
On Wednesday, May 8, the Center celebrated the graduation of 26 fellows from its Colin Powell Program in Leadership and Public Service. This was the largest class to date for the Center's signature program, which trains students for a lifetime of service and active citizenship.
Calling the graduating fellows one by one to the front of Shepard Hall's ornate paneled Room 250, Kamilah Briscoe, director of student leadership, and Michael Busch, program coordinator for the fellowship, shared anecdotes and collegial intimacies about each of the fellows. Their ease suggested the strong, supportive relationships that are a hallmark of the program's dual focus on mentoring and instruction.
Poised for Success
There was Joseph Nelson, who never backs down from a debate, and Chris Raju, who keeps the mood light with his humor. Both are students with the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education and are headed to medical school. Each fellow received a book, which Briscoe and Busch selected to fit their interests, studies, and personalities (The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
by Anne Fadiman for Nelson and Intern
by Sandeep Jauhar for Raju). Caritas Doha, a senior majoring in political science and economics, received A Thousand Years of Good Prayers
by Yiyun Li. This book of short stories would seem to clash with her plans for a career in Southeast Asia policy studies, but instead spoke to her abiding love of creative writing.
Briscoe reminded the fellows that they had excelled in a formidable program and are poised for continued success. As she later said, "They have been challenged to think seriously about what leaders do and have had opportunities to play leadership roles themselves. They have excelled. And they are ready to meet the challenges that lay ahead."
For most of the fellows, these challenges include pursuing graduate degrees, in medicine, architecture, education, public health, and other fields. Humaira Hansrod, a student of the Macaulay Honors College, has won a Fulbright scholarship, and will spend the coming year studying in Oman. Ayodele Oti, also a Macualay Honors student, is the recipient of a 2011 Harry S. Truman Scholarship, given to support the graduate studies of students who show “exceptional leadership potential.”
The ceremony’s keynote event was a panel discussion of leadership and service featuring Jill Iscol and Peter Cookson, Jr., who co-wrote Hearts on Fire: Twelve Stories of Today’s Visionaries Igniting Idealism into Action,
and Jimmie Briggs and Diahann Billings-Burford, who are featured in the book. More