Student Success Stories

Meet Abrar Al Mukhaini

New Media and Communications student with a minor in Leadership from Oman

Abrar mentioned when she came to OSU from the Middle East, she was a shy and introverted person. She shared that her friends were shocked that she had even considered taking on a Leadership minor, and that ever since, it has been a decision that has helped her find who she is and become a better person throughout her undergraduate experience. She describes that before, she was someone that would not tend to go out of her way to talk to lots of people, and that now, she is grateful for the social aspects of the minor, for it has led her to learning more about her personality in relation to others in order to become a more comfortable and outgoing communicator.

Within the minor, Abrar identifies that, “introverts and extroverts can be leaders; there are so many more aspects to leadership than just the definition or image painted about it.” She discussed that in pursuing opportunities in Leadership and in going to leadership events with similar activities, she has discovered that she can do things that she was once afraid of. In giving advice to future students, she urges that “anyone can take this minor; if you are shy or hesitant to the idea, Leadership has added so much value to my life, both personally and professionally." She shares that the minor helped her be a more active, engaged, and empathetic listener, and that she is more aware of the ways in which we interact with one another.  She is more considerate to herself and to other people

Abrar also mentions how diversity has been exemplified within the Leadership minor. She shares,There are people from so many different places, nationalities, and experiences. They come from different countries and have different rules, and yet we can all learn these same concepts in a way that resonates with each of us. This makes discussion so interesting in interacting with others from different backgrounds and locations and learning from everyone else."

Overall, she believes that her experiences within the Leadership minor have allowed her to grow exponentially as a person through her learning,interpersonal skills, and confidence!

Meet Evan Walker

Liberal Studies student with an emphasis in Education and Leadership minor from Bellingham, WA

Evan’s greatest takeaway from the Leadership minor is learning about self-awareness. He shares, “As a leader, you are constantly finding ways to reflect and improve, constantly checking yourself, and from there, identifying how to be more helpful to others throughout the process."

One of the biggest takeaways he has had from the minor has been being able to work in teams, go out into the community, create connections through experiences both inside and outside of the classroom, and apply what he has learned beyond the scope of what people think a leader definitely "should be." 

He found one of the leadership minor's greatest strength is that it teaches students how to learn about others. He said in learning about how you talk to people, how you communicate your message, how you carry a conversation, and how you discuss these different topics, you are able to really dive deep and connect these concepts with to how they apply in real-life scenarios. Specifically, he discusses being able to apply leadership styles and concepts to actual careers.

He shares that, “It is more than just knowledge from a textbook, for it has shaped me outside of the classroom. It has helped me to realize that the term ‘everyone can be a leader’ really is true, and that people can lead in their own way, even when they thought they never could”.

Evan explains the minor allowed students to identify opportunities and differences from a new perspective, and that it has dissipated many biases about ‘what a leader is, or should be’. Evan shares that he greatly appreciates the process of learning about leadership. Specifically, how, "Leadership is not exclusive to some small, exclusive group; it is an opportunity to identify individual differences as strengths, utilize learning as an invitation to grow, and find that there is real-world application in what we are learning." 

Meet Halli Barrios

Biology student with a Pre-med option and Leadership minor from Rancho Cucamunga, CA

At Oregon State, Halli has served as an Student Leadership and Involvement Peer Educator, a scribe at a local hospital, a researcher on campus, and a student working towards her Medical Humanities Certificate. Halli describes the greatest impact she has taken away from the minor as, "understanding what the social definition of leadership is, aside from the generic expectation of a ‘large-industry CEO’ or something unattainable by someone who may not always see themselves in a position of power." 

As a first generation Latina student, Halli shares how important this is to her, indicating this minor has given her a new platform for self-reflection and learning about herself, as well as an overarching reflection of how we view leadership within our society today. In relation to her career aspirations, she describes while learning about leadership that, "It is not about documents, budgets, or what degree you have framed on your wall, it is about how you make people feel."

She discusses how this relates to her profession, describing, “You have your greatest impact with your patients in how you interact with them, how you make them feel, and how you can act as a leader to support them in moments of discomfort or fear." Within the classroom, Halli shares the minor has allowed her to interact with different types of people in different stages of learning about leadership, where students can apply this minor to each of their individual lives so differently and share these perspectives in a way that it is effortless to learn from one another in their different viewpoints.

She shares the level of inclusivity created from this leadership minor community, along with the central goal of learning about leadership through a more applicable lens, helps each person identify their personal leadership needs.

She mentions the leadership courses (both on-campus and online) are individualized in a way to view a variety of learning experiences and showcase a variety of different types of leaders. She says, "Overall, I believe this minor has taught me to lean into sensitivity, to be able to learn about other people, how to communicate to a diverse range of perspectives, and to learn about yourself along the way."