Week 6: Bob Blackburn

Dr. Blackburn discussed the importance of understanding how experiences shape our perspectives, state, and communities. As leaders, discuss an area you would like to advance during your time in the UCO community.


  • Anna Schmidt

    One area that I think needs advancing right now is our society’s view of women, and specifically the unrealistic expectations of the way women are to be. Growing up I was fed numerous ideas about the way that women were supposed to look, talk, dress, and be. By way of advertisements and entertainment I quickly saw and learned that the ideal woman is thin, feminine, gentle, with makeup on, and most importantly beautiful. That really put me in box for a lot of my life, because it took value away from who I am, and put my value in how I look. I think that most, if not all girls grow up being told this in some form. To me, that is no small thing. Girls growing up to believe that the way are isn’t enough, so they must change in order to be the right kind of woman, that is a big thing. Strong women wasting their powerful energy on worrying if they are beautiful enough, that is a big thing. As a leader, I want to teach our young girls that there is no wrong way to be a woman, and I want to strip away the idea that “how beautiful” we are matters, or that it is at all relevant to our success in life. I think that has to start with more diverse shapes and colors represented in the media, but I also think that it starts with parents, caregivers, teachers, and everyone else. We have to remind not only young girls, but ourselves, that who we are is enough. Our shape, our size, our color, our demeanor, our personality is enough. Even if advertisements, celebrities, Instagram, and everyone else is telling us it’s not. I want to teach, and implement this idea into whatever community or societal group I can, because how much more powerful our society would be if the energy of women was put toward something greater than how we look.

  • Alaina Webster

    As a leader I would like to become more comfortable going up to different people and learning their personal stories, that was I can learn from other people’s experiences not just mine. I tend to like to observe people from a distant. I want to become the person who everybody enjoys sharing their story too. Dr. Blackburn gives a lot of examples on how listening to other people experiences and stories can further yourself as leader but also a person.

  • Alaina Webster

    As a leader I would like to become more comfortable going up to people and learning their personal experiences, and that I can possibly learn from their stories and also my own. I tend to observe people from a distance. I want to become the person who everybody enjoys sharing their stories to. Dr. Blackburn gives a lot of examples on how listening to other peoples experiences and views can further you as a leader but also a person.

  • Rachel Hunt

    Since I have been a student here at UCO, I have been given unique opportunities to be a part of many different social groups. I have learned that there are many different stereotypes and social barriers separating different types of people. My goal while I am here at UCO is to bridge the social gap. I want people to embrace each other and encourage each other in their skills and interests. This may look like partnering Greek life with global outreach programs for example. I want all the students at UCO to feel comfortable talking with anyone no matter what they are a part of; I hope this creates an environment that will cause more students to become involved on campus. The social climate should be friendly and inclusive without a social hierarchy. When this goal is achieved, we can learn from each other. People in different social groups have different experiences; each person has a unique perspective we can all learn from. Along with my friends in PLC and LOT, I hope to create a trend of breaking social stereotypes. We can influence the rest of the student body to embrace this all-inclusive mindset. The more we know about each other and learn from each other, the more unified we will be as a student body. And I want to leave UCO more unified than it already is.

  • Hannah Morrison

    During my time in the UCO community, I would like to advance the perspectives of the people I lead. One aspect that I am particularly passionate about is the strength in diversity. Further than just diversity in races, I want to instill confidence in others for possessing diverse personalities and leadership styles. I feel that so often more quiet and reserved leaders forget that their leadership is just as valid and successful as loud, vibrant leaders. Once we share the perspective of how effective diverse leadership styles are, I believe that we will see the effect through a substantial increase in innovation and creativity.

  • Cami Audas

    Dr. Blackburn showed us that he is the leader he is today because of his experiences. I believe that the opportunities you get throughout your life can completely change your point of view on things. As I grow and experience new things here at uco I hope to grow within myself so that I can help lead others. I would really like to make a difference at uco. I hope that I can do big things that can help the student here on campus feel confident in their leadership abilities.

  • Nathan Henry

    I think with the current political climate it’s important for leaders and the general populace alike to stop demonizing one another for their stances on issues or thoughts on something. Our society has become very adversarial, and we’ve adopted almost an “if you don’t completely agree with us you’re wrong and you’re a horrible person.” There needs to be more of the communication and understanding that Dr. Blackburn talked about. So many issues that plague us today could be solved or made easier if we, as a community and a nation, changed that mentality and actually listened to one another’s perspectives.

  • Phoebe barnes

    I would like to advance in the ability to connect better with others. IT is an important skill to have as a leader in order to network and have a bigger audience. It is also important to be able to better connect with others so that I can better understand their experiences and their life perspective. It is CRUCIAL to understand others so you can both better yourself, your views, become more knowledgeable, and to be a better leader. I want to grow in confidence in this area. I would love to be a well known leader at UCO and for the rest of my life wherever I will be.

  • Kateri Krug

    An area I would like to advance would be a personal area in my life that feel could impact on a larger level. I would like to become more comfortable when it comes to reaching out to new people. I feel like there are so many times when I put on a facade of confidence and self assurance, but there the majority of my time I am always questioning myself. I want to become more confident when reaching out and meeting new people because I want to be able to show people it is okay to get nervous meeting new people. Following that, I also want to show people they can overcome questioning themselves and go for what makes them nervous.

  • Haleigh Himes

    Dr. Blackburn used historical education as a way of informing others of the reality of racism and the struggles African American’s have faced throughout Oklahoma history. As a leader at UCO, I would like to advance people’s understanding of mental illness/ mental health through education. I think that our society has made leaps and bounds in comparison with past generations, in terms of creating a dialogue about mental illness. However, I would like to further people’s basic understanding of what mental illness is, so we can be quicker at identifying friends, peers, coworkers, etc. in need, as well as train others in ways to respond to a mental illness situation. I myself would in turn learn more as I educate and lead others.

  • Olivia Sharp

    I feel that I would like to advance my intentionality. I want to connect more with the people that I am surrounded with. I want to put more effort into my relationships. I believe that as I become more and more involved with organisations, clubs, groups, etc, I will grow my experiences with new people and grow my intentionality with them.

  • Tucker Pawley

    A place that I would like to advance during my Time at UCO is my relationships with people. I believe having good foundations with people is key to life and success. Its never bad to have too many friends, you never know when you will need to call on that person who is a engineer or who is a surgical doctor. It also helps you become a great leader having great social skills they are a necessity to being a leader.

  • Graysen Boyer

    As a senior in high school, I became more involved in my school than any other year. That alone changed my entire high school experience for me. Coming to UCO, I would love to get more involved in a way that can impact others. At Little Event, I woke up early that morning dreading getting out of bed. However, when I got there and actually got to meet the families I was helping, everything changed. The families were so kind and appreciated us so much.

  • Mandy Woodward

    In Dr. Blackburn’s speech he discussed the significance of understanding the importance our experiences have on our outlook and attitude on certain situations. During my time at UCO I want to really put myself out there and try to get out of my comfort zone. College is a time of learning new things and growth. By doing this I can create new experiences for myself that will help me figure out what its important to me and what is not. In order to develop and figure out your true opinions and perspectives on things you have to put yourself out there and be willing to experience it first hand. The different perspectives you shape from these experiences will help you understand different people better. This will help in your journey as a leader because you will be able to relate and connect to a larger majority. To be a successful leader, putting yourself out there and trying to understand all the different views is key.

  • Caylin Talk

    Over the course of my college career at UCO I want to have been able to expand our communities views on gender equality. Not only has it been an occurring issue for me and many other women to grow up having unreasonable standards stacked upon our lives, but individuals who are not able to identify as their true gender until later in their lives struggle and go through so much more. If possible, I want to show others that you can be so much more than what society will stereotypically characterize you as and that it is okay to show love and be empathetic to everyone around you regardless of their race, gender, or ethnicity. There should not be unchangeable aspects about our lives that others can easily turn against us, so my goal at UCO is to inform others in my community that you should disregard stereotypes and avoid judgement in order to truly get to know individuals on a personal level.

  • Gabriella Clabes

    As a leader in the UCO community I would like to advance the area of respect for others. Not only would I like to see everybody be nice to each other, but value each other in all things. This could be shown as encouraging all people, helping others in times of need, as well as accepting all ethnicities, genders, and different beliefs. The world as well as the UCO community would be better off if all environments were a loving environment with positive attitudes. I plan to make as much of a difference as possible in small but significant ways.

  • Sean Miller

    Dr. Blackburn heavily stressed the importance of establishing new relationships with individuals who would otherwise be out of your “circle”. I am a very schedule-heavy, color coded person. If it’s not in my calendar, I will not remember it. I also will not go to things if they are not already scheduled with at least a 24 hour notice. So, unsurprisingly, one thing I would very much like to work on is my spontaneity – going to new events and meeting new people with no prior email heads-up and no notification from Siri asking if I’d like her to add it to iCloud. Every new encounter is a new network, opening up countless opportunities for growth and employment. And sometimes networking requires moving out of your comfort zone, living on edge a little. When was the last time someone died walking into Keller Williams to inquire about an internship? Literally never. But taking those first steps to your car might feel like you’ll be the first. Meeting new people is important. It’s a shame we don’t do it (face to face) more often.

  • Dr. Blackburn spoke a lot about learning from the things we have done in the past; during my time as a leader at UCO, I want to correct my mistakes from the past, too. Sometimes I get very nervous and shy when it comes to putting my input on a certain subject. I feel as if nobody would listen or think my ideas are good enough. However, as a leader, I have to understand that putting myself out there has a chance to change the world. Therefore with that being said, I would really love to use my voice for diversity. Sometimes I feel like on campus or in our community, we do not do enough events or anything with all the different races and cultures around us. I believe in order to achieve anything in life that we want to do, we need to have unity between everybody. My goal is to create a place where everybody of all types can come together and work as one.

  • Molly Booth

    An area that I would like to see advance is cultural competence. In the United States we see many ideas of what other cultures and religions are supposed to be like and have many assumptions of what each person should act like based upon their beliefs and religion. Each belief system is built up to think that they are right and everyone else is wrong, but really you can learn so much by opening yourself up to other cultures and people’s way of life. We are so restricted as individuals when we shut down as soon as we find out someone doesn’t believe in the same God or doesn’t celebrate the same holidays as us. As a leader, I love to bring people together, and show people how we are all connected and it’s our differences that build us up. To do that people have to learn about and even experience other cultures and beliefs. I would very much like to see people, especially middle school to college students, have better opportunities to open their eyes and minds to new perspectives, and to see each person as a person, not a label.

  • Jimmey Brown

    As a leader, I will contribute to our university community by being more motivated to lead, lending a helping hand, joining more student clubs, and giving what I can whether by service hours or helping other students feel more at ease at this prestigious university. If I see that something needs to get done, I will do my best to take it upon myself to do it. UCO is the perfect place for me to accelerate my upward trajectory because of the diverse background of students. Even if I can’t take on a leadership role at first, I will never underestimate the power of participation by attending events, cheering on a UCO student, and serving the community with other students.

  • Amelia Perez

    During my time at UCO, I would like to help end the stigma around mental health. There are certain perceptions that are held by people who don’t understand that having a mental illness does not change the value of a person or their ability to live a normal life. Mental health is very important to me and I feel maintaining a healthy mental state is essential to living a happy life. If I could help spread correct information surrounding those who live with a mental illness as strong and normal individuals, I can start to help end the stigma that is held around these individuals who often feel alienated because of their experiences. I would like to advance the perceptions of students to believe that having a mental illness does not make a person weak, evil, or scary. Ending incorrect myths around mental health is the first step to ending mental health stigma.

  • Brenda Martinez

    About Dr. Blackburn speech that he gave us the last week. I would like to talk the area of activities in general. These activities would be to make conferences, not only for American students, but also for all students from different countries. This will help them feel comfortable and confident in where they are putting their studies and in the hands of those who teach them. Also, create a group of people interested in giving their points of view, opinions and improvements in favor of the University and that will care about that, even if it is a freshman.

  • Carlos Perez

    Talking about what Dr. Blackburn, as a leader I would like to focus in the future of the university for this reason I would like to try some new activities that help to student to become more interesting the university try to involve myself with all kind of student trying to understand each one of them, if a did that maybe I can continue improving my skill like a leader.

  • Sophia Cuyo

    The areas that I would like to advance during my stay here at UCO are leadership and dealing with people. Given the opportunity to be a part of the President’s Leadership Council and UCO itself, I am not confined to just one or two cultures, rather I am surrounded by several different cultures, which is as good as visiting other countries. With that, there are extra-curricular activities that I can get involved in to meet, to mingle, and to learn from other people and what I experience from participating in a certain activity. Moreover, I am exposed to numerous lectures or sessions from various speakers with their own stories and experiences that I can learn from.

  • I think that an area I would like to advance during my time in the UCO community is that the students Latin Americans become include in the University. I am telling this, because I am a Latin American student and I can see that the American students are talented students with beautiful feelings, but there are sometimes that I feel not belonging here. Sometimes you want native speaker talk with you but you can not and you feel like embarased because you do not speak the same language or that you do not speak very well English,so many students do not want to speak with you. As leader I would like to create different groups where Latin American students and American Students to join, where they can create relationship between them, they can get a beautiful friendship, they can feel comfortable in a foreign university for they can feel like home.

  • For me, one area which I would like to develop during my time in UCO is our international students’ thinking when they study abroad. It has been 6 weeks for me to start my education in UCO, long enough for me to adapt, make new friends, and observe. From my perspective, I could see that some of my international fellas still keep a thought that the native students here don’t want to make friend with them. They tend to make friend with the peers from their same country. The distance is created. This thinking is quite easy to understand, cause international students will find the similarity and common experience, since they have a same background. However, if our international students still stay in their comfort zone, their “cocoon”, they cannot experience how amazing and wonderful America is. I also an international freshman coming from a small country, I always encourage myself to get involved, make friend with new people, especially the native ones. I personally love the native students here, they are so friendly, approachable, and willingness to help to shorten the distance between them and international peers. The problem here is whether our international friends have a will to come toward a native student and send he/she greetings. We all choice to leave our country and study in a entirely different country

  • Personally, one area which I would like to develop during my time in UCO is our international students’ thinking when they study abroad. It has been 6 weeks for me to start my education in UCO, long enough for me to adapt, make new friends, and observe. From my perspective, I could see that some of my international fellas still keep a thought that the native students here don’t want to make friend with them. They tend to make friend with the peers from their same country. The distance is created. This thinking is quite easy to understand, because international students will find the similarity and common experience, since they have a same background. However, if our international students still stay in their comfort zone, their “cocoon”, they cannot experience how amazing and wonderful America is. I also an international freshman coming from a small country, I always encourage myself to get involved, make friend with new people, especially the native ones. I personally love the native students here, they are so friendly, approachable, and willingness to help to shorten the distance between them and international peers. The problem here is whether our international friends have a will to come toward a native student and send he/she greetings. We all choice to leave our country and study in an entirely different country. We want to broaden our horizon, want to try new things, and learn something advanced that we don’t have a condition to develop in our country. Be open-minded and not to hesitate. Different background is not an excuse for the distance, you are. Have one meaningful conversation every day. Try to have one with an American. As a potential leader, I want to teach and implement this thinking into all our international students currently studying in UCO.

  • Ryan Lykins

    During my time here at UCO I would like to advance the outlook people have towards mental illness. Many still see it as a deformity or something being wrong with them so they are afraid to seek out help. I have someone in my personal life that’s suffering with that right now and he will out reach out for help. We all need to be willing and able to speak to people suffering with mental illness. We all should be able to comfort those suffering and also be able to point them in the right direction for help. If we all became comfortable with talking about it, then that alone would make a huge breakthrough into the mental illness problem we have today.

  • Jordan Broiles

    One area I would like advance in the UCO community is the awareness of the systematic oppressions that is embedded in the institution. There are policies set in places that are not equitable for all students to achieve success. We need to have educated individuals that can research those policies and create a plan to change those policies. The challenge with this is that since these systematic oppressions are passive, many people are oblivious to the reality of these. As human beings, we are naturally gravitated towards tangible informations. If we can’t see it, then we can’t fully process it.

  • Emily Hurt

    I would like to advance my knowledge of others religions. I think it’s important as a leader to understand others beliefs so you can help understand them as leaders and know what their morals are. Understanding and respecting others religion helps them trust you and allows them to feel comfortable. Religion is a very important aspect in people’s life and understating and respecting that allows the people you want to lead to feel more comfortable.

  • James Limbaugh

    Here at UCO, I hope that my experiences here can give me a better sense of courage as a leader. Having the courage to make bold decisions when necessary is essecial as a leader. Often times I find myself having a difficult time making a decision when it isn’t exactly a popular decision but it is necessary. I hope my time and experience here at UCO can provide me with situations that give me experience with those problems. If I hope to achieve my full potential as a leader, it is important to fully develop that skill.

  • madison walker

    As a leader, I would like to see more students developing group studies. As students, we all know how hard it is to study when there are so many fun activities going on on campus, and also some people have never had to study until college so they may not know how. I am currently in a LLC and I have not gotten to study with a group one time. It would help me and I know it would help several other students if we had specific times, places, and dates to study together. It would make it more fun being with a group of friends and developing relationships rather than sitting in your room getting distracted by everything.

  • Jaxon Missey

    As a leader at UCO, I would like to advance the activity and engagement of students in their understanding of political and governmental functions. I know that this is being done through a variety of organizations on campus right now, but as Blackburn said, experiences shape our perspectives, communities, etc. It troubles me to see so many people in society jump to extreme conclusions on political and controversial topics and not be able to understand or even explain the side they support. A major issue in this country is the massive political divide and extreme aggravation in society. I believe educating the population and teaching people to think more so about the “solution” instead of why the other side is wrong would go a long way.

  • Austin Markham

    As a student leader here at UCO I, like everyone else, want to leave a unique footprint. I want other students to understand that this time in their life is about them, their advancement, their time to grow as a student, into the adult they want to become. Relationships along the way is very important but at the end of the day its just me, myself, and I. To do this I am growing spiritually as well and I am encouraging others to do the same, however that may be for them. I am going to encourage, and recommend others to be an encourager. I believe doing this I can help leave a unique footprint and help improve the lives of others. I plan to start becoming more active in STUMO and help that organization grow. I also want others to find someway to get connected, thats also why I want to recruit members for UCOSA and freshman council, and encourage them to help improve our campus and cater to our student population.

  • Abigail J Spiers

    I definitely believe that experiences shape people, states, and communities. Each and every person goes through a different experience which makes them who they are. Dr. Blackburn really gave some insight into how his experience of growing up in Edmond, a white society of the time, shaped him into a person that loves to explore other sides to things. I think this idea is really important in life. It is imperative especially in today’s culture to understand both sides of the situation to help create peace. For myself, I would like to become better at this and to better approach others that have different experiences than I do and help unite our community here at UCO.

  • Lincoln Lehew

    At my time at UCO I want to focus my areas of leadership in multiple things. Mostly for me I would like to find my leadership in diversity. As a leader you are supposed to reach out multiple types of people and impact them in any way possible.

  • Makenzie Hill

    If there is one area I would like to advance not only at UCO, but in the Edmond community in general it is special needs awareness. As someone who one has a close family member that is special needs, and two has a passion for the field of work, I think it is vital to continue educating those around us about it as much as we can. I often hear the word “retard” thrown around as if it is not offensive, when it very much is. The problem though is not that people are using it indirectly, it is that they are using it having no knowledge of what it actually means. The word itself is disrespectful and incredibly offensive. It is wrong to use, and there are so many other adjectives that could take its place. Expanding the minds of those who aren’t too familiar with the special needs community is important, because they then can continue spreading the truths, and maybe one day this world won’t be so full of ignorant people. As a leader, I have made it a priority of mine to correct those around me in a polite manner when they wrongly use terminology in relate to the topic of special needs. If I or anyone else stands around and allows it to happen, there will never be a change. We owe it to those who cannot speak of for themselves, to speak up for them.

  • Renzo Villanueva

    Being part of UCO as a freshman that lives on campus, put me in a position where I could experience many things. I fell in love with the idea of advancement and leaving a mark on the university so that whenever you’re gone people still hear your name around campus. Being a part of the Hispanic Success Initiative and also the Hispanic American Student Association opened up my eyes to see the places where Hispanic American students can go. UCO can gain a lot from leaders from a minority setting, we are use to working harder and always being told that we cannot accomplish anything. For that same reason Hispanic and Latino Americans that make it to college and are leaders in college always give their very best to he point where the strive even further than just their best. I want to advance and make a name for people like me but not just for Hispanic/Latino specifically but for everyone that has to work harder and for those who are never given the opportunity to show their voice.

  • Baylee Schmidlkofer

    In my short amount of time here at UCO I have already noticed that despite having a large enrollment, we are a close-knit community. This university already shows examples of hospitality and a genuine approach to making UCO feel like home. However I have noticed that certain organizations, while still respectful and welcoming, have not given a complete sense of unity to other organizations of similar circumstances. For example, a Greek organization or leadership group may not truly be respectful towards another of the same value. Through a student’s eyes this past week has not been the best for showing examples of unity on campus. Several organizations seemed to have some problematic approach to working with others because of Homecoming. As a leader, I strive to be as open and willing to approach other organizations with respect. I think that there is a certain amount of bias regarding different organizations, and that should not be the case. There is nothing wrong with a rivalrous approach or a competitive attitude. I am a very competitive person. I don’t think organizations should be competitive to the point of hate. Leadership is about learning new ways to work together, not apart. I think UCO could use some advancement in organizations working together, and as a leader I would like to contribute to that.

  • Alexis Peeper

    There are a lot of issues that society normalizes or does not talk about at all and I would like to change that. While in college I will face a diverse range of issues and obstacles and instead of ignoring them my goal is to find solutions. In order to find solutions I am going to include my peers in this process so I can see all perspectives on the issues on campus. I will make sure they feel comfortable so they can freely express their issues and then problem solve as a group to find a solution. As a leader I want to not only find solutions for myself, but for the campus as a whole. College should be some of the best years of your life, but it can easily be one of your worst experiences if you get caught up in certain issues.

  • Kallie Daniel

    I believe that as a community, we need to all start serving the world. Many times we serve our community and our neighbors, but do we think about serving our world. I believe that both are very important. People do not tend to think about third-world countries. There are people in the world that truly need you. They need a leader to sit with them while sipping a Black Currant Fanta. They need people to wash 400 dishes after a meal in an orphanage. I would like to advance the idea of missions to the UCO community. I challenge you to spend a summer serving in a Kenyan Village or work at an orphanage in Uganda. People may see the cost of mission trips, and see all the possible destination vacations. Only one will spark a fire in your soul…

  • Xaviera Burton

    One thing I would like to advance on as a leader in this generation is moving forward, to me personally I feel that too many people are focused on the past of America and good/bad it was or how it affected them. I feel like In order to grow from and learn from experiences you have to apply it to yourself and your life and lead through example, rather then speak about how you were affected, show how the experience helped you grow to the leader today. In Other words, I would like to help the world today in advancing their mentality rather then dwelling on things we are unable to erase.

  • Christian Coleman

    As a young college student from the Northeast side of Oklahoma City, attending UCO is a culture shock for me. While I feel that I’m very adaptive, I have a ton of adapting to do here on campus. It is rare for young leaders from my side of town to experience classes or organizations full of others that don’t look or think like them. I definitely want to grow as a more adaptive and understanding leader over the course of my schooling here at UCO. Growing in these areas will allow me to go back to my community and host events and talks that give insight to the environment that one may have to adapt and get accustomed to. I feel that if I can grow in those areas and activate this discussion in my community more minority students will feel comfortable coming to educational Institutions like UCO.

  • Jacqueline Cabrera

    There are several things that I would like to advance during our time in the UCO community but if I had to only choose one it would be to emphasize the importance of Mental health around campus. I recently talked to a friend and she mentioned to me that while she was at an interview for a leadership board here on campus on of the directors mentioned to her that it is crucial to be involved on campus but it’s also crucial not to overwork yourself. Joining one or two programs and giving your all to those would help you learn and grow more as a person than joining several and not being capable of doing much within them. I couldn’t possibly agree more. I feel that most of us freshman leaders are so eager to participate in everything and give it our all but we don’t notice how much it’s taking out of us. We also need time to stand back and acknowledge all of the progress while appreciating it too. That is why I would want to advance mental health here on campus; most students bring too much upon themselves and forget to ask for help when they need it most. That’s why I want to further aware students that there is always help in every corner.

  • Riley Jensen

    During my time at UCO, I hope to advance to the image and perspective of the modern Cherokee nation. Many see those of us who do not “look” Cherokee as not being so, and that is not the case. My heritage is in my blood, and shouldn’t have to be visual. I hope to present a new image of the Cherokee, and improve how we’re seen in society. Empowerment of our tribe is a necessity to progress into the next 25 to 50 years, and with more Cherokees going to college or career techs than ever, the time is now to advance the tribe.

  • Angelina Sibimon

    During my time in the UCO community, one area I would like to advance would be getting more students to be more involved in the community outreach programs/activities. I believe that giving back to the community is fundamental. So, making sure we get as many students as possible to participate in these community service projects is very important to me. One way we can make this happen is by advertising the service activities more to ensure that all students have heard about it. The more students we get, the more we can give back to our community.

  • Drew Rosko

    The college atmosphere is a new experience for me. I feel that during my journey through college, I will improve on my time management and planning. Being apart of groups and organizations, time management and planning are key aspects of success. I feel that I have quickly improved in these two categories already within my first semester here at UCO. I look forward to growing in all aspects of my leadership but I will put a heavy focus on time management and planning because those are my weak spots as a leader.

  • Keisy Quiel

    Dr. Blackburn’s speech was very interesting. I would like to advance in the interaction with others. I am an international student, so sometimes I feel that I do not interact with my American classmates because my English is not as fluent as theirs. This university is too inclusive; however, I have seen that international students tend to frequent people from a similar culture or country. For the reason, I would like to improve my interaction with Americans. Furthermore, I think that is important that a leader has the ability to work in conjunction with other leaders or people. Sharing knowledge and methods as well as listening and learning from those who know most is a quality that denotes interest, commitment, and tolerance towards what may be different points of view; which will undoubtedly enrich the area in which I serve as a leader.

  • Kamryn Johnson

    One area that I think needs to be advanced is education specifically in Oklahoma. Education is something that has had a major decline. Teachers aren’t being paid properly, class rooms lack the necessities needed to to make a proficient learning environment. As a result of poor funding, classes are over populated which can result in students inability to learn. During my time at UCO, I would like to draw attention to the downfall of schools in small towns. Coming from a very small town, that is close to the border of Arkansas, one of the biggest issues we face was keeping teachers in Oklahoma. They would go 30 minutes across the state line and get paid a significant amount more. As a result, there was a limited supply of teachers which caused overpopulation in basic classes. Having 32 students in a class where there are only 28 desks and one teacher, makes it very difficult to learn. This not only hinders the teacher from being able to properly teach the subject, it also hinders the students and doesn’t prepare them well enough for college. Which in turn, makes them struggle when they get to college and eventually the work force. If I could advance any area, it would definitely be the education system in Oklahoma.

  • Sage Kroeker

    An area that I would like to advance during my time at UCO is the understanding and appreciation of diversity. A person’s culture is what molds and shapes who they are, and as leaders, we need to be able to understand the culture to understand the person. UCO provides incredible experiences through STLR and diversity-focused organizations to expand our understanding as students, and I believe that it is our responsibility to take advantage of them. Mr. Blackburn spoke about the Tulsa Race Riots, which were an extreme example of the results of cultural incompetency and prejudice. I believe that the most effective way to fight prejudice is education, which is why I strongly believe in diverse education. I am very thankful that UCO shares these values, and I look forward to expanding my understanding of people and their cultures.

  • So many of us are told that college will be the best four years of our lives, but no one talks about how difficult it can actually be. The things we experience in college really shape us and set a tone of who we will be in the future. I want to be more involved in helping incoming students become successful whether that’s tutoring or lending an ear. Freshman year of college was one of the best years of my life, but looking back there are a few things I wish I knew. I want to share what I have learned over the past few years and hopefully help with someone’s transition to college life.

  • Keondra Whisenhunt

    One area that still needs advancing is the ability to have compassion for others. There is so much hostility in the country because everything is either black or white, but that’s not always the case because there are a lot of grey areas in life. Too often as a society we are quick to judge a situation without understanding both sides of the conflict. We are quick to like a tweet or share a Facebook post without reading the contents of the article or the message the photo is sending. It is hard to not automatically side with those who are like minded to us, but like Bob Blackburn said we must stop heading in one singular direction. Instead we should take the time to step back and evaluate both sides of a problem. The problem with only surrounding ourselves with like minded people is that we limit our ability to learn about others who are different from us. Learning from others is how we as people can expand our view, values, and perspectives. If we can not learn from others and our past mistakes we can not change what is wrong. Having the ability to set our beliefs aside and truly listen to others we be compassionate to those who are or are not as fortunate as us. I know for me personally it can be difficult to not let my own beliefs cloud my judgment of others and hinder me from listening to others. I am not always going to agree with others, but I need to improve in being more compassionate because as a leader I need to be conscious of others beliefs and values to be able to collaborate with them to reach a common goal. Overall we as a society need to think before we speak, and think before we tweet or share that post because without knowing both sides of the story we can not be compassionate to those who need it.

  • Cynthia Gallardo

    During my time in the UCO community, I want to advance my exposure to different cultures and types of people. Understanding the importance of inclusion and diversity is something that I believe is critical when becoming a better leader. This is very important to me, because it would help me understand other people better when getting to know them or working with them. This semester, I recently attended a meeting of UCO’s American Sign Language club. Something that the club is focused on is that the members not only learn ASL, but about the Deaf community. I really love that the club made that one of their main focuses! Attending different cultural events hosted at UCO like the Asian Moon Festival or the NASA’s Pow Wow, is one way that I will expand my exposure. I also want to get other people excited and eager to learn about different communities too! I believe that it will make our community closer, if we all make inclusion and diversity a focus.

  • Nicholas Sparta

    If i could advance any area of leadership it would be my personal relationships with people. I think listening and learning from other people can help contribute to becoming a leader. If you can listen to other peoples experiences, you can begin to understand others and help lead others in a certain direction. Also UCO has many different students someone can learn from and using it to your benefit can help you become a leader.

  • Kennedy Staton

    During my time at UCO, one area I would really like to advance is communication. I think that communication is very valuable to leadership. My goal is to feel comfortable having conversations with all people. As a leader it is so important to not only be a good speaker, but to also be a good listener.

  • Aubrey Crook

    As a leader, I hope to use my power of influence to create a more accepting and diverse community. America used to prize itself on being a center of diversity or “the melting pot”, but it seems we have lost sight of that. In a world full of hate and judgement I would love to bring happiness and acceptance to people of all different perspectives and backgrounds.

  • During my time at UCO I would like to advance and stress the level of involvement of the student body. Involvement in school activities, the Edmond community, and general involvement into other peoples lives. Being involved as a student body would allow a certain bond to grow and evolve into a strength for the university. Getting students involved in the surrounding community would allow the people of Edmond to understand that just like they have UCO’s support we give them full support of the growth and encouraging things going on in the city. Being involved in peoples lives is a smaller scale act of involvement that allows bonds to grow into life long friendships. Being a leader and trying to increase involvement also means you must lead by example and show other students that certain organizations around campus greatly benefit hundreds of people each year.

  • As I look back on the last 3 years, I am grateful for all the opportunities I have had to contribute to the advancement of the UCO community through my fraternity, Pi Kappa Alpha. We were able to promote scholarship, leadership, respect, and service as some of our main values over those years; I would not have been able to sponsor these values as effectively had I not run for leadership positions. I was able to contribute by leading my chapter as President and then furthering my influence by residing over the IFC here on campus. Our chapter has come a long way over the past couple years, and I am honored to have been a part of such a positive change as a fairly large organization on campus. I am now hoping to take all the skills and lessons I have learned here at UCO to help improve other universities. As a chapter consultant for Pi Kappa Alpha, I will be able to steer other chapters in the right direction. My goal is to train up men that can also contribute to the advancement of their own communities. Without my time here at UCO, I would not be as prepared or excited for my future opportunities.

  • Breely Frasco

    I believe I have a calling to lead people in expanding their cultural competency. This calling is primarily rooted in my extensive love for the country Haiti. I have served there several times, and absolutely love the people and their culture. I am currently in the process of planning a trip to Haiti for UCO students. I hope that those who go will also fall in love with serving the people of Haiti, and want to explore other cultures because of their experience.

  • Karabo Pamela Moalafi

    As a leader, I am prone to learn about new things on a daily basis, some may be beneficial while some may not but at the end of the day, I’d have learned something that I can put on my memory lane. With that being said, I want to engage more in social groups that will challenge my intellectual sense and increase my zeal for learning daily, by breaking the norm of habitual knowledge. There is nothing more life-changing and fun than being able to use your mind creatively and your unique views being heard and appreciated.

  • Oscar Zepeda

    As a leader I would like to promote and advance the leadership of students in low income Hispanic communities. It is very important to me because there are many students in that area who lack mentor-ship, leadership, and scholar opportunity. I have witnessed the loss of leadership potential in young high school students who go to Oklahoma City Public schools because they aren’t given the chance to become a leader and aren’t inspired by others to become a leader. A lot of students sometimes have to drop their studies because they have to help support their own families. In some other cases, there are times they don’t receive the attention they need from their parents because they are to busy working and it impacts the student with lack of motivation of wanting to receive an education. Then seeking help from someone at school, some teachers or other school faculty don’t believe in their own students because of their backgrounds. I must go find those leaders of the future and provide opportunity for the youth, because It was hard for me growing up with many boundaries like those students , however, I was able to find someone to help me and who inspired me to become a leader and a college student. I want to be the influence in their life and provide opportunity for each young Hispanic student to become successful.

  • Sheila Claunch

    As a leader, I would like to advance the area of inclusiveness. I have noticed that many people at UCO don’t feel like they belong somewhere or they don’t fit in, but no one should ever feel that way. I would like to bring people together and help them find the place where they belong and feel included. This would help shape everyone’s experience in college to become better because they will have had something that they felt like they belong to. I feel like as a leader, I will be able to find those people and help them in many ways.

  • Experiences are everything when it comes to leadership. As a leader we will learn and grow with the more experiences that we encounter. Experiences come in a variety of ways. Also, people will take a different meaning out of experiences; not everyone will take the same lessons away after experiencing something. An obvious big problem right now is our parking and it’s hard to believe that on some days if I don’t leave 45 minutes before class then I won’t get to class on time due to poor parking! UCO has done a great job on quick fixes but long term needs to be a dramatic change. A solution they have been working on is to bring “birds” to the community. They are electric scooters that people can rent to get around on. Bigger schools are already incorporating them into their communities. I am a huge supporter and would love if UCO was able to let them bring them here. It’s taken leadership for people to stand up and make a voice for the parking and that they are trying to improve them. I understand that UCO is working on it right now but I believe that, that would definitely be an area that I would love to be a leader for and try and help out on different solutions.

  • Karol Montoya

    Every piece of life deserves some listening to and understanding. Dr. Blackburn gave an example of one area that needed and still needs to be looked at and understood, the African American community. The dreadful events in the African American community are one of the more prevalent problems in the United States right now!
    There are several issues that I would dive into to show my support, but the one area where I am most passionate is the young Hispanic American community. Being a minority and with backgrounds that are not always healthy, these young people, including myself, need assistance. The culture that resides in every household of a Hispanic American is not always the best, and sometimes more confusing than it should be. Hispanic Americans feel like America is their home, but are told it is not. We are torn between protecting our parents and where we call “home”. This carries a lot of weight on one person, and we are many. Also, the ones who came here as babies, and are more American than anything else. To me, they are Hispanic Americans. They need assistance. They had no question for their arrival, and being punished for an act they did not do is inadmissible. No one should be afraid for the assistance needed to become the best. No one should be afraid of not being able to achieve something that is reachable if only they were able to have the help needed to do so. I want to push this out and have a bigger crowd that is like me and pushed through that barrier in between.

  • Katie Edmonson

    Being here at University of Central Oklahoma it’s shaped my experience into myself discovery of what I’m passionate about and what that drive is inside of me. The University has been a great resource and outlet in finding who I am and helping me be informed on issues and learn about the many opportunities I have in this life. I am feeling really strong about many things- my being a leader has always made me felt like I was important and this university has shown. If I had to change one aspect or maybe even just advance an aspect in the universities culture I would really want to improve on just the talk about consent and sexual assault awareness because we are still struggling as a society and university with many sexual assault cases coming in yearly. The statistic that one in three women will be most likely assaulted and one and six men will be assaulted in their lifetime -is alarming and frightening. I just want to put my passion towards that and make sure people are aware and know what is consent. I believe the university already does a phenomenal job of getting the word out but I think we could always just go to further on the point and help others by bystander aware of this as well. Because we can’t stand for abusers to continue- we must start to believe our victims.

  • Blake Houston Hauenstein

    An area I’m going to work on will be to try and be less awkward when meeting people for the first time and perhaps come up with a few basic questions I can ask someone when first meeting them that will help give a longer lasting impression as to who they are as a person and make it easier to remember their name. If that doesn’t work to the full extent that I desire then I think I might try president Clinton’s method of writing a person’s name and some interesting things about them down on flash cards or a notebook right after meeting them that I can come back to before talking to them again. That way the notebook could give me a good refresher as to who they are and what I may want to converse with them next. I believe these two methods may help me with getting to know people I will rarely ever speak with more deeply and give me a position in which I may build long lasting relationships with them as well. It is also in this way of improving my communication with people that will help me understand the different angles of the experiences that shape us. Resulting, in me being able to use my first two Strenghsfinder strengths of input and especially context to build and help relations and understanding in the community as a whole.

  • Samir Pitty

    It was a very good explanation of how experiences in life lead you to be a leader so our time at UCO should be based on good experiences, that is why every student should make sure to be in a continuous environment of progress surrounded by the right people.

  • Karabo Pamela Moalafi

    The thrill of a lifetime is when my level of intelligence is challenged to upgrade and beat the mindset of a mediocre person. Thus, to be in situations where I am forced to broaden my level of thinking in regards to the topic at hand is a bliss. Experiences just like moments can be re-lived whether they are good or not, and their sole purpose is to enable growth of character as a person. Therefore, as a leader in the UCO community, social groups that stimulate such a dare daring mindset and character are a must to engage in.

  • Abdulmalik Shehu

    In general leadership requires a lot of quality. With the past experience and the environment i grew up in, it takes a lot of trust to build a close rapport with me. I know that in order to be a very good leader one must be able to socialize, maintain a cordial relationship with their team. This is one area I would like to focus on and work on my sense of humour.

  • Isabella Maria

    The area I would like to advance is the tolerance. I think tolerance is a really important part about being a leader. As leaders people need to accept different points of view and accept different ideas. It consist on listen to other’s advises too.
    Listening to others can expand our knowledge and improve our work. That is why I consider so important to learn how to listen and consider people’s ideas.
    Tolerance also involve learning how to work with different people with different ideas and ways of doing things. People can give us advises to improve our tolerance, but first, it is and important self decision. You can’t force anyone to be tolerant. I think that that is the most important and special part about being someone tolerant.

  • Paige Warrior

    As a leader, I desire to enrich myself with the transformative community around me. Diversity continues to blossom across the UCO community, and I am a part of it as well. Diversity in regards of background, education, dreams, language and many other forms exist on the campus. As a leader of the future, I will need to grow in expanding my understanding of others, as well as their thought processes. I will need to learn how I can give me all to appreciate people for their differences across the board.

  • crichardson21

    As a leader, I believe that I should be more involved, not just in my school, but also in my community. Ann Ackerman has taught me that no matter what people say about you, you can still be a great leader. She also talked about growing economically. I believe that if a person is not able to maintain emotionally as a leader, then they definitely will not be able to grow economically. She also talked about making choices. Your life depends on your choices. Therefore, your choices affect a person as a leader also

  • Jared Bross

    The thing I hope progresses most is my ability to communicate with people. I am not a complete recluse by any stretch, but I am anti-social in part and I know that I am not the most sociable person. I am also aware that communication is an important skill in any business, but more especially as a leader. It’s not just about being able to tell people what needs to be done, but also to be able to hear what they need from you. The greatest leaders can read their followers and give them exactly what they need, but I am mos assuredly not there.
    p.s. I am sorry for leaving this off for so long

  • Dakota Gann

    Growing up in a small town, I didn’t get to see a lot of the diversity the world has to offer, or even the diversity I see here at UCO. Other cultures were something I mainly talked about in history classes. An area I would personally like to advance would be my global competency to better myself for the future. As we move toward a world that is more easily and effectively travelled, global competence will be a necessity for everyone, as it should be now. If I could advance this for myself, I may be able to help someone else advance their level of competence.