Student leadership expo hosts local news anchor

Zoe Deno
Staff Writer

News Channel 13 journalist, Elaine Houston, shares the importance of leadership skills. Photo by Alana Mueller | Hudsonian

News Channel 13 journalist, Elaine Houston, shares the importance of leadership skills.

Students gained leadership and networking skills, learned about academic services and listened to a keynote speaker during Hudson Valley’s annual Student Leadership Expo last Friday.

The event began with registration and introductions by Jessica Gilbert, the academic coach site supervisor of the Center for Academic Engagement. This was followed by remarks from Interim Executive Director of Institutional Advancement Regina LaGatta and the introduction of the keynote speaker, News Channel 13 Anchor and Award-Winning Journalist Elaine Houston.

”We look around at what’s happening because of division and a lot of things going on,” said Houston during her keynote speech. “We’re talking about leadership and that’s something that we really need.”

“We’re wondering where the leaders are [and] where the people who have great ideas [are, people] who are ready to make changes and improve our world,” she said. “However, before you can become a leader you have to be prepared.”

Houston’s speech outlined how privileged Hudson Valley’s students are for having access to an amazing education. She talked about how everyone had tremendous potential and encouraged students to make the most of it.

“As a reporter, when I see people I always think of their story,” she said. “When I came into the room and looked around, I started to look at your faces and wonder what you are going to contribute to the world and who you are going to be.”

Jamison Jarcosz, an engineering science major, said that what changed his perspective on leadership most was hearing Houston talk about her experiences in leadership as a journalist.

“I thought that it was pretty incredible,” said Jarcosz.

Individual Studies Student Ahmad Rana felt like he learned a lot.

“It really changed my opinion,” said Rana.

Rana feels like the speech opened his eyes to many opportunities around him and also taught him about how to lead.

The Student Leadership Expo started a few years ago when the college decided to host a male leadership workshop. Jessica Gilbert was concerned that women would be excluded. Thus, she and her supervisor, Karen Ferrer-Muniz, put together a similar event for females.

Last year, the college decided to combine the Expos into one workshop, but still chose to include separate seminars for men and women after the initial keynote speaker.

“We want to better serve students, so if that means we need to evolve again we will do that,” said Gilbert.

Gilbert also said that the seminars were not exclusive to one gender. Anyone could go to any seminar they want, but sometimes separation is a good thing. She explained that men and women face different issues and the college wanted to address both genders.

Corey Jamison, president and CEO of Corey Jamison Consulting, and Hudson Valley Chief Diversity Officer Ainsley Thomas held the gender-specific interactive seminars after Houston finished her speech.

Students who attended were given a complimentary gift bag. They were also entered into a raffle to win a free gift bag if they filled out a form that proved they talked to someone at each of the booths.

According to Gilbert, the next Student Leadership Expo will be held next fall. The college is also considering adding another one to the calendar for the spring in the hopes of better preparing the Hudson Valley students to take control of the future.

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