The Class of 2018
Kimberly is a 2016 graduate of Montabella High School and is currently a sophomore at Grace Bible College. Kimberly is currently studying to receive her Bachelor's degree in Human Services with the hopes to continue her education and get a Master's degree in Social Work afterwards. While being a full-time student at Grace Bible College, she is a member of their cross country and track and field teams, is an on-campus academic tutor, and works part-time at a local restaurant. She is an active volunteer in her community where she has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, Hands2Hands, and Friends of the Parks. On her free time, Kimberly enjoys spending quality time with her twin sister, reading a good book, and going out for a nice run.
Camden is a 19 year old sophomore at Rochester College in Rochester, Michigan. He is from Clarkson, Michigan and attended Clarkson Senior High School. Camden is a second year starter for the Rochester baseball team and is majoring in Pre-Physical Therapy. He intends to apply for a Physical Therapy program within Michigan once he graduates from Rochester. Camden chose Physical Therapy because he wants to help people change their life in a positive way.
Cylie is from Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania, and is a graduate of the Seneca Valley High School. She is a nursing major at Cedarville University, Class of 2020. The more time Cylie can spend on the tennis court or working out in preparation for a match the happier she is. Down time gives Cylie plenty of time to knit, sew, and maintain her online store. Cylie sees herself working as a geriatric nurse while potentially working on a post-graduate degree.
Megan hails from Franklin, Wisconsin and plays golf at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. She is majoring in Mechanical Engineering – Energy with a minor in Systems Engineering because she plans to make a positive impact the field, to make our planet a cleaner and more efficient place. Megan loves boating, reading, hiking, weight lifting, baking and playing all types of sports! She has a husky puppy called Skye and a large kitty named Thor.
Madison is a sophomore at Marian University in Indianapolis. She will be graduating December of 2019 with a bachelor's degree in Business Management and a concentration in Human Resources. Madison plays volleyball for Marian and is the setter for the team. She has also been the coordinator for American Red Cross blood drives at Marian since the spring of 2016.
Shyrelle was born in Montreal, Quebec and is currently attending Avila University in Kansas City, Missouri, doing a double major in Biology and Pre-Health. She is also on the Track team, competing in the long, high and triple jump. From soccer to gymnastics, she found her love for track and field at a young age and continued to pursue that passion for years to come. Her enthusiasm for science, also developed from a young age. Surrounded by influential family members in the health field, they have supported her aspirations and are currently aiding her to become a future Oncologist.
Maryanna is a sophomore at Culver-Stockton College. She is part of the women's volleyball and takes a great leadership role in several activities around her community. She is the president of the Phi Eta Sigma honor's society and also the president of the Chi Alpha Sigma student-athlete honors society. Maryanna works as a teacher's assistant for two of her professors while maintaining a 3.86 GPA as an Athletic Training and Rehab Sciences major. She loves to do community service and volunteer work at her local hospital and also through her church in various ways.
Aleithia is 21 years old and a sophomore at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. She was born and raised in Athens, Ohio and has 9 siblings. Aleithia is currently studying History and Political Science as well as being a part of the Women's Varsity Soccer Program. Her love of history has influenced her appreciation of the Red Cross Program. Future plans include working in public policy, law school, or history archive work.
Bailey is from a small coastal town in Mississippi and is eager to venture out as a part of the Red Cross College Leadership Program! She comes from a family of 6 that encourages her in every way possible. Bailey is a student athlete at William Carey University in Hattiesburg, MS. She enjoys being part of the soccer team for the past two years. Bailey is studying biology with a pre-med focus, in hopes of either attending medical school or a physician’s assistant program. In her free time she loves to travel, listen to music, go out on a boat, and binge watch Netflix.
Starletta is a sophomore at Judson University and is majoring in Business Management & Accounting with a minor in Finance. She is a member of the Judson Women's Basketball Team, Business Society, Rise Program, and Student Advisors group on campus. In her free time she loves to watch movies with her friends and play all types of sports. In the future, she plans to go on to law school in hopes to one day become a Tax Attorney with her own practice.
Kimberly is from Southern CA and attends Vanguard University. She is pursuing a major in Biology with a minor in Chemistry. Kimberly is also a member of the women’s soccer team.
Blog - Day 1 by Camden Hadley
My name is Camden Hadley and I am from Clarkston, Michigan. This past spring, I completed my sophomore year at Rochester College located in Rochester, Michigan. At Rochester, I am studying Physical Therapy and play on the baseball team. I would like to thank my school, coach, and the Red Cross for selecting me to take part in this awesome program!
Prior to today, I had never flown before! I started my journey to Washington, D.C. by flying out of Flint Bishop Airport in Michigan. It is a small airport, so it was an easier experience. My parents walked me through everything up until security. Once I was through the security line, I made my way to my gate where my anticipation began to grow. The nerves started to sink in once I got on the small plane and we began to take off to my next destination in Chicago. The layover in Chicago lasted about two hours, so I had some time to kill. My next plane was a lot bigger. Maryanna Catrine, another ambassador for the Red Cross Collegiate Leadership Program and I actually ended up sitting next to one another on the plane! But we did not realize this until we met at baggage claim. You never know who you might see when you travel!
Once we acquired our luggage we had to figure out the best way to get to George Washington University. GWU is our home for the next two weeks. It had been raining all day so we decided that an Uber would be our best option. Reagan Airport traffic is no joke and due to the rain it seemed like everyone in the airport was waiting on an Uber. We waited about 30 minutes for our driver to come pick us up and when we were on our way to the campus, our driver kept getting lost! It ended up being that we input the wrong address and ended up near Georgetown University. Once we gave her the correct address to GWU we were able to make it to the dorm within 10 minutes. There we were greeted by Randon, Hanna, and Megan. They showed us to our rooms and informed me that I was going to be the only male in the program this year (yay)! Within a couple hours the rest of our group made it to the dorm safely and we all went out for dinner to Chipotle. We all introduced ourselves and started getting to know one another. Once we finished we made our way to CVS to pick up anything that we may have forgotten or needed for our rooms. When we got back to the dorm we had a team meeting about the next two weeks and what to expect.
I am so thankful that my school and the American Red Cross gave me this opportunity! I am very excited for the new experiences that are ahead of me in the next two weeks! I looked forward to learning a lot about the Red Cross and how to become a great leader, and I am excited for all the sightseeing!
Blog - Day 2 by Bailey Clemens
Hello all! My name is Bailey Clemens and I attend William Carey University, where I play on the women’s soccer team and am a biology major with a chemistry minor, focusing in pre-med!
The first REAL day. The jitters are out, and my feet hurt. What a day it was though! We started our day with Brian Hamil, who founded the Red Cross Collegiate Leadership Program 12 years ago. He guided us throughout the day and debriefed us on the two-week program. He shared several personal anecdotes, and best of all, enlightened us with leadership tips and lessons from some of his favorite articles. Next, we heard from Shaun Gilmore, Chief Transformation Officer, whose role is instrumental in combining the humanitarian and biomedical branches of the American Red Cross. He explained the importance and incredible impact the Red Cross plays in the biomedical industry, accounting for 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply. He also explained some “Do’s and Don’ts” of leadership that were especially applicable in the work place. Something that resonated with me was his advice on identifying and creating your own personal competitive advantage. When he was discussing this, I thought of the saying, “Whatever you are, be a good one.” When you find what you are good at, take it and run with it. He also emphasized being well rounded and the importance of being open to change. His career diversity set him up to be confident and successful in any realm of the business world. He felt like he had worked in enough areas to be confident in successful in any realm of the business world. I had several takeaways from his presentation, and it was a great way to start the week!
Chris Hrouda, President of Biomedical Services, was our next speaker. He explained the different processes the Red Cross uses to collect, test, and distribute blood to hospitals. He shared with us some adversity he faced in the workplace and how he was able to overcome his challenges. He also emphasized the importance of programs that the Red Cross organizes in hopes of recruiting donors and future volunteers. For example, The RCCLP has resulted in countless units of blood being donated and several ambassadors for the organization. Additionally, his humor was a great way to wrap up the day!
After dinner we were able to do some sightseeing! We could not have asked for better weather or a more beautiful sunset behind the Lincoln Memorial. We visited the White House, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, World War II Memorial, and the Vietnam Memorial. We did a lot of walking! In short, it was an exciting, fun-filled and educational day! Thus far, I am really enjoying the RCCLP and look forward to the rest of our time here in our nation’s capital!
Blog - Day 3 by Kimberly Buskirk
Hi, my name is Kimberly Buskirk and I am currently going into my junior year at Grace Bible College (soon to become Grace Christian University). I am majoring in Human Services with a minor in Biblical Studies. Outside of academics, I participate on the cross-country and track and field teams at Grace, and I also love being involved with intramural sports and activities. I have found a supportive and loving family at Grace and am excited to be an active leader on campus in the years to come.
I cannot express enough gratitude for the privilege to be in Washington, D.C. I am working and learning from senior leaders within the American Red Cross and ten other incredible student-athletes from across the country. Today is our third day in D.C. but our second day in the office learning. Today, we had a significant number of speakers present to us and all of them were impactful. By the end of the day we had quite a few takeaways!
We kicked off our day with a presentation form Peter Macias, Director of Communication for Service to the Armed Forces. We had a bright and early start and he kicked the day off with enthusiasm and an amazing presentation that had us all engaged. Peter went more in depth on what some of the values are for the American Red Cross and what their vision is for these values. What stood out most to me, besides his enthusiasm for the Red Cross, was his career tips for us. One of the tips he shared was, “Find out what inspires you to move, then act on it.” It is crazy how simple that sounds; yet many do not do this. His final tip to us was about reflecting on your job after having been it for five years. Then make a decision on whether or not it is something you are enjoying and want to continue with. The answer to that may be to leave and pursue a different career/job, and that might be the healthiest thing for you. In the end, I felt motivated and excited about using these and other career tips that he gave us in my current and future journey.
Next up, we had some of our own student mentors share with us today. We have three mentors that are with us the whole program. They previously went through the same program, and two of them were able to share some themes found within the book we are reading, How Will You Measure Your Life by Clayton Christenson. Hanna talked about change and how it is going to be unavoidable. He shared one of his favorite sayings: “Life is ten percent of what happens and ninety percent of how you react.” This is one of my favorite quotes as well and it was awesome hearing one of our mentors use it. The other mentor who spoke today was Megan. Megan focused on investments and utilizing our resources. One part that I appreciated about her presentation was the activity we did in the end, which made us focus on some of our own goals and then decide how we were going to utilize our resources to get there.
We had a few more speakers throughout the day, including Kamenna Lee who gave us an in-depth presentation on the biomedical line of service of the American Red Cross. It was crazy to hear how much she knew about it, and how much she personally cared about the biomedical arm of the Red Cross. To end our last three hours of the work day we had two speakers: Carolyn Boyer and Chrisi Rogers come in and do an activity with us called “True Colors.” This activity helped us learn more about who we are, who the people around us are, how we work with people like ourselves, and lastly, how to work with people who might have different colors. It was such an amazing experience to see how different everyone was, but if use each other’s strengths we can accomplish a lot together as a team.
It is inspiring to be in the office learning from these passionate and experienced individuals with the American Red Cross. I am also enjoying my time outside the office growing my relationships with the other student-athletes. Tonight, we went on a scavenger hunt around Washington, D.C. and were split into two teams (my team won) and it was incredibly fun! Oh, and I cannot forget to mention, my roommate has been the absolute best and so encouraging every day! She has been an amazing friend and even within only three days I feel that we have challenged our faith and have pushed each other to deepen our relationship with God by continuing to serve him in all that we do. We only have 11 more days here in D.C. , and I cannot wait to see what they hold and continue growing as a leader!
Blog - Day 4 by Shyrelle Yates
My name is Shyrelle Yates and I’m from Montreal, Canada, currently attending Avila University in Kansas City. I am on the track team and double majoring in Biology and Pre-Health. I am also a member of the Alpha Epsilon Delta national health pre-professional honor society as well as the Black Student Union. It is such an honor to be able to participate in this leadership program. Traveling out of Canada and experiencing Washington, D.C. has already been amazing and I know it’s going to be an incredible two weeks!
Today got kicked off with two insightful guest speakers, Nathan Groce and Celia Clifford. It is always nice to hear the perspectives of different roles within the Red Cross, as it gives a feel for the togetherness known within the organization. We learned the secrets of landing a job with tips on how to perfect a resume, job search, and interview with Mr. Groce. Following, Ms. Clifford then taught us about the 101s on blood, learning about the different types of blood, how transfusion works and how we can incorporate our attained knowledge back to our campuses. Our typical 9-5 office hours at the headquarters were then cut short because we had tickets to the Washington Nationals vs. Tampa Bay Rays baseball game!
We met up in the lobby of Thurston Hall, dressed and ready to make our way to the subway system. Walking to the station, I was feeling a little anxious because it would be my first-time traveling in the D.C. subway systems. However, I can assure all first-timers that it is not as hard as it looks. Brian, as well as our student mentors, Hanna, Megan and Randon, also made the travel so easy. Before I knew it, I was standing in front of the National Ball Park! I ventured off with a few of my peers to look at the delicious food options. From fresh chilly dogs to sizzling burgers the options were endless but, many of us settled for a classic Nat Dog. This was also my first baseball experience and it was everything I could have imagined. The atmosphere of the diehard baseball fans was unbelievable to witness first hand and I enjoyed every moment. By the end of the game, the Nationals came to Tampa hard with a winning score of 11-2!
While we were making our way back to the dorms, I was thinking about how welcoming everyone has been and how grateful I was to be a part of this program. I am so excited to see what these two weeks have in store for us, as I am already learning so much on how to become a successful leader. Although it’s only been a few days, I know this trip will last a lifetime.
Blog - Day 5 by Maryanna Catrine
Hi everyone! My name is Maryanna Catrine and I just finished my sophomore year at Culver-Stockton College, where I play on the women’s volleyball team. I am currently studying my undergraduate degree there with aspirations to go to medical school!
Today was such an amazing and eye-opening day! At the beginning of our day, we learned the basics of how we are going to bring success back to our own blood drives. We were able to look through our school’s data from past blood drives in order to see which areas we could improve on. We also heard from our mentors, Megan, Randon, and Hanna. They informed us about some of their experiences from when they went through the program. It was so beneficial to see what worked for them so that we could try some of the same tactics back at school with our drives. After that, we went to eat lunch, which really hit the spot today! We all loved the warm food after a big morning and the warm cookies were a big hit as well. In the afternoon, Brian Hamil led a discussion about developing our own leadership code of conduct and also different truths and behaviors you need to be a leader. We are all starting to become more open with each other, and it was so cool to hear everyone’s opinions and what they value as good leadership behaviors.
And then came our big moment! We were able to meet with Gail McGovern, the President/CEO of the American Red Cross. The nerves began to set in as we all wanted to make a great first impression. After meeting Mrs. McGovern and hearing what she had to say about her leadership experience, we learned just how comforting and welcoming she is. She shared some interesting leadership insights and gave us some tips on how to become better leaders in our local communities. I could not think of a better-suited person to be leading the American Red Cross and their mission! After debriefing at the conclusion of the day, we headed back to our dorms and changed to go to Georgetown for the evening. We ate at a very nice Italian restaurant and the food was once again delicious! But we couldn’t stop eating there and had to have a cupcake from the famous Sprinkles bakery. We walked around a little bit and got to explore another side of D.C. that I had personally never seen before. It was so much fun to walk around while getting to know the others even more and was a perfect wrap-up to an amazing day!
This whole experience has truly changed my life. Not only have I already made lasting friendships with the others on this trip, but I have also grown deeper within myself and we are only halfway through! I look forward to the rest of this opportunity, and am so thankful to my school, family, and the American Red Cross for allowing me with this experience!
Blog - Day 6 by Aleithia Robe
Hello everyone, my name is Aleithia Robe and I am from Athens, Ohio. I currently attend Mount Vernon Nazarene University where I play soccer and just completed my sophomore year majoring in political science and American studies.
It is the end of the first week of the Red Cross Leadership Program (RCCLP)! These last five days have flown past, all filled with speakers, questions, and loads of fun! The day began with preparation for a conference call with our respective Donor Recruiter Department (DRD) Representatives . The preparation included going over strategic questions to ask as well as ways to run successful drives on our campuses. Today was the first time I spoke with my DRD representative and I was nervous at first. Despite my apprehension, my DRD representative and I were very productive in the time we had to converse. We exchanged ideas, discussed current blood drive data, and arranged future dates to meet in person. After finishing our conference calls, we all came back together to go over what was discussed with our respective representative. Immediately following the debriefing session, we had our first speaker of the day, Dr. Patricia Bunker. She discussed the scientific side of blood drives by digging into blood types, hemoglobin, and iron in the human body. As a political science major it was definitely outside my field expertise, but Dr. Bunker kept the scientific information simple enough to understand. Her high energy for her work was enjoyable to listen to and I could not help but be interested in how iron impacts one’s blood.
The next speaker was Brian Boyle who is currently works for the American Red Cross after volunteering for many years. He shared his experiences with the Red Cross, as a recipient of blood transfusions after being in a traumatic car accident. Brian’s story was extremely moving; from his extraordinary recovery (with the help of many donors’ blood) to his passion for the Red Cross’s mission. He emphasized the point that only, “1 hour of your time [donating blood] gives another a chance of a lifetime.” Hearing his experiences moved me greatly and reaffirmed just how important the Red Cross mission is.
Our last speaker of the day was Gloria Coliton and she discussed how the Red Cross engages youth. She specifically addressed starting a Red Cross Club on college or high school campus and discussed the requirements that a club would need to meet. She emphasized how important it is for there to be youth involvement in the Red Cross and how we, as the future leaders for our generation, can help.
We finished up the day at headquarters by debriefing about the past week and its experiences. It was fun to hear everyone’s view of the week’s events and sessions. I personally would say that the highlight of this week has been the friendships that have developed. It has been incredible to watch everyone grow close throughout the course of this week, both in our work oriented mornings and fun filled evenings! I have thoroughly enjoyed RCCLP and am looking forward to next week!
Blog - Day 7 by Madison Heffron
My name is Madison Heffron and I am from Lebanon, Indiana which is about 30 minutes north of Indianapolis. I am currently a junior at Marian University where I am majoring in Business Management with a concentration in Human Resources and play Volleyball.
The first Saturday in D.C. started at 6:00 a.m. for Kimberly Buskrik. She woke up early and ran a 5K race had a top5 finish, no big deal! The rest of us met up at 9:00 a.m. outside of Thurston Hall where we began our full day tour and each drew a slip of paper out of a hat, but we could not open until instructed to do so. We then made our way to the metro and got off at Union Station. Here, some of us were instructed to open the slips of paper we had received at Thurston Hall and read them aloud to the group. Each slip of paper had a short historical background and some fun facts about each stop along our walking tour. At Union Station we first learned that it opened in 1908 and was designed by the architect Daniel Burnham, and that servs as a “gateway to the city.” We also discussed the ideas for the Station and the architect’s inspirations.
Leaving Union Station, we headed toward the Capitol Building, stopping to appreciate the statue of Christopher Columbus positioned outside the station. It was here that I read my script to the group, “So, why is this statue place HERE in front of Union Station? When Union Station opened in 1908 remember that it was the “gateway to the city.” People coming to D.C. were arriving by trains. Flight wasn’t invented yet and the large scale production line manufacturing of cars didn’t really start till 1914. So unless people were coming by horse, they arrived on by train. So who else would you put at the gateway to the city for travelers to see when they arrived but the statue of the person the city is named after. Remember that D.C. stands for District of Columbia and Columbia comes from Columbus! The statue was also designed by Daniel Burnham, the architect of Union Station.”
We then walked towards the Library of Congress. Before we went explored the building, we stopped and had the chance to learn that the Library of Congress has over 15 million items, 10,000 added per day, and has 838 miles of bookshelves! We then entered the Library of Congress and it was INCREDIBLE. The books on display were incredible and the inside of the building was amazing with the walls and ceilings covered with astonishing art.
After leaving the Library of Congress, we headed to the Smithsonian Botanical Gardens where we saw a wide variety of plants from all different climates. Following the Botanical Gardens, we took pictures on a set of steps overlooking the Capitol building and headed to the National Gallery at Art for lunch and explored some exhibits
The final stop of the day was at the Holocaust Museum. The main exhibit starts in the early 1930s and finished with the liberation of the camps in 1945. The exhibit contained pictures, videos, and testimonies from Holocaust survivors. For me, the experience was heartbreaking, but very impactful.
After leaving the Holocaust Museum, the group headed back to the dorms in waves, rested, and then headed out to dinner in smaller groups. Once everybody was back from dinner some of us ended our night with a very intense ping-pong tournament!
Overall today was an incredible day! I am very thankful that the whole group had the opportunity to experience so much of D.C. together. I am also grateful for the opportunity to participate in the Red Cross Collegiate Leadership Program. I have already learned so much about myself and the ways in which I can help others. I cannot wait to see what the rest of the trip has to offer!
Blog - Day 8 by Kimberly Benner
Hey all!! My name is Kimberly Benner or Kim for short. I attend Vanguard University in Southern California, where I am on the women’s soccer team and am a majoring in Biology major with a Chemistry minor. It is tough work but who knows where the future will lead me. I love to help others and I am intrigued with the medical field. Without Vanguard I would not be at a lot of places in my life but I certainly would have not made it to D.C. with the Red Cross Collegiate Leadership Program.
Week one is officially complete, wow, time has flown by so fast! With the 11 student athletes here, we have really opened up and learned so much about one another and where we all come from. With the little down time we have had outside of the office, we have made the most of our time with sight. We have seen so many amazing Monuments, Smithsonian’s, and Memorials. My favorite thus far is hands down the Holocaust Museum. Today was our “free day” and got to do whatever we pleased on our own. Seven of us decided to get our day started early and headed to the Arlington Cemetery. Once we got there we were not sure where to go or much information about the cemetery so we decided to take a tram tour. It was so fun and we got to learn and appreciate the cemetery and those who have fought for our country.
Next, we visited the National Archive Museum where they had a featured Vietnam War exhibit that provided us more insight knowledge on the war. Then we saw the original Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom. After dinner we then saw the Korean War Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, Franklin Roosevelt Memorial, and the Jefferson Memorial.
We are pretty tired but excited for the last week of the program and continue to develop our leadership skills. My favorite part of the RCCLP so far has been meeting Gail McGovern who is the President and CEO of the American Red Cross. She gave the group great insight on the American Red Cross and how she leads the largest nonprofit in the world. I have felt very blessed and grateful to be in D.C. to learn from the best and to take in all the information that I have been receiving. I eager to go back to my campus and share everything I have learned and apply it in life. I love D.C. and all the amazing people I have met along my journey, but I cannot wait to return to California weather and to see all my family and friends to tell them about my experience!
Blog - Day 9 by Cylie Aronsohn
Howdy! My name is Cylie Aronsohn. I just completed my sophomore year at Cedarville University as a nursing major and have the privilege of being a member of the Women’s Tennis team. When I am not on the court, I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, sewing, knitting, and working as a waitress.
Today, we had the opportunity to hear from Dan Wood, the Executive Director of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA). To start off the day, Dan began by sharing his story and telling us about who he is and where he comes from. Then, he asked us to share about how we got to the Red Cross and who helped us to get to the seats we were sitting in. It is easy to go throughout life without taking a moment to reflect on all the people and circumstances that have led to the me being where I am. The way in which Dan encouraged us to take a moment to reflect, gave me a deep sense of gratitude for the how God has orchestrated all the circumstances in my life so purposefully. It was eye-opening to hear more about the stories and lives of the other members of the RCCLP, whom I have grown to consider true friends over this past week.
Being at the Red Cross for a little over a week now, I have learned so much about how to be a leader. This knowledge that these speakers and mentors have been sharing is translating from merely head knowledge now to application as well. I remember learning about gratitude at the beginning of last week. Brian Hamil told us that truly excellent leaders have a deep sense of gratitude. The way that Dan Wood encouraged us to reflect on our lives today was a practical way to live a life of gratitude, like we have been taught that excellent leaders should do.
Another one of the many truths that Dan taught us today was to intentionally think about the legacy that we want to leave. He gave us two great examples, Truett Cathy and John Wooden, who lived amazing lives and left even more amazing legacies. These two men lived lives that reflected their core values through and through. They lived in ways that represented who they wanted to be. These men knew that success was more than material possessions, money, notoriety, and wins. They knew that life was about showing gratitude, being kind, living with integrity, and impacting people. Learning from the lives of these men made me think about what I want my life to look like. Life is short. If I am not purposeful in what I want my end goal to be, there is no way that I will effectively live every day to meet that lasting legacy. This time here in D.C. has helped me to think about and put words to certain goals and ambitions that I may not otherwise have taken the time to intentionally think about. One example of this was how today we were encouraged to think about how we want to be remembered. I want people to remember me as a woman who served God and loved others.
After being fortunate enough to learn from Dan this morning, we were able to get started on our strategic plans for how we will organize our blood drives back on our campuses. I am looking forward to completing this project because it is one step closer to being able to implement these leadership skills in my blood drives at school. Once we got a jump start on those projects, we were done at the office for the day. We decided to head back to the dorms, and then a group of us were off again to Georgetown. Georgetown may be one of our favorite places to visit, especially Sprinkles!
I am so thankful for this amazing opportunity to learn from the Red Cross. So far, this has been an experience of a lifetime that I will always cherish and never forget. Thanks to all who have made it possible.
Blog - Day 10 by Starletta Keene
My name is Starletta Keene and I am from Kenosha, Wisconsin. I play collegiate basketball at Judson University and am majoring in Business Management & Accounting with a minor in Finance. When I am not studying or playing basketball, I love spending my time reading, volunteering, and watching movies. Today was the Washington Capitals’ Parade in Washington, D.C. and we had the privilege of being able to watch the parade during our lunch hour which I really enjoyed.
In addition to the parade, today we listened to Edna Cruz, a Human Resource Representative from the American Red Cross. I enjoyed listening to Edna and I learned a lot about how to manage employees while embracing that everyone has a different perspective to problem solving. I believe that this will help me to become a better leader and grow as an individual because I will now be able to work better with those who think differently than I do.
In addition to Edna, we also heard insight on job interviews and resume writing tips from our mentor, Megan Mosiniak. I really enjoyed Megan’s presentation because it allowed our group to be able to ask tough questions regarding how we should behave for an interview, what we should wear, and much more. Megan answered our questions very effectively and I think this will help all of us in the future to be able to perform our very best during interviews and create resumes that stand out from our peers.
Along with Megan and Edna, we also read a couple of articles that discussed leadership in a sense of learning how to be a great follower and the characteristics that are necessary to become a great leader. We did an activity where we were paired up with one of our peers and asked to describe our most important leadership characteristic to our partner. My characteristic that I really value is spending quality time with people and understanding that not everyone is going to have the same perspective as me. In this way, I am happy that I got to know some characteristics my partner had that made her unique. In doing this, it was a great opportunity for us to learn more about our peers and assess ourselves to see what we think are the characteristics that are most important to us.
During this program, I have grown as a leader through being challenged to assess my strengths and weaknesses in order to be more successful in my future endeavors. I am grateful for this opportunity and for the individuals I get to share this journey with.
Blog - Day 11 by Megan Hessil
Hey! My name is Megan Hessil, my hometown is Franklin, Wisconsin and I play golf at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University – Prescott in Arizona where I will be starting my Junior year. I am pursuing a major in Mechanical Engineering with a specialty in Energy and a minor in Systems Engineering. One day I would love to use my degree to work at Tesla where I aspire to be a project manager. I love reading, watching movies, golfing, weightlifting, and playing with my one-year old husky pup.
We had the opportunity to listen to three speakers today: Cherae Bishop, Anna Maria Larsen, and Tim O’Malley. Cherae Bishop is the Senior Vice President of Government Relations and spoke with us about her role and how the American Red Cross works with individuals on Capitol Hill. For example, when a disaster hits a region in our nation, state representatives look to the American Red Cross for a response and plan on how the ARC will be supporting those who are effected. Anna Maria Larsen began her session by asking us questions about post-graduation and we received great wisdom about how to handle fearful situations. She works with mentoring chief executives in a firm and she found time to guide us through our biggest fears after graduation and heading into our work environment. Tim O’Malley was with us for the rest of the afternoon following lunch encouraged us to speak about diversity and how we see it while explaining how inclusivity is in all forms from age to mental abilities. Personally, I loved the card game Mr. O’Malley had us play because of my competitive nature but it provided great insight I can integrate into to my life.
After our sessions wrapped up for the day, I was able to donate blood for the first time. I was not required to give, but I figured that if I am going to host blood drives on campus, I want to be able to tell other donors what it is like. If I am asking other to donate, I feel like I have to be able to give myself. I am deathly afraid of needles and can barely look at them, however, I was still able to save three lives today. I got through it and with the knowledge I have gained from this experience I will be able to help all donors with these fears and help them through the donation process as well which is what I am most excited about.
As week number two is coming to an end, I believe I have grown and further developed my leadership abilities. Not only have experiences and speakers made me grow and expand my horizons but my amazing mentors, Hanna, Megan, and Randon, along with the Brain Hamil who created the program, have all provided me with the tools necessary to be prepared and successful for nearly every situation in life yet to come.
Blog - Day 12 by Aleithia Robe
Hello again everyone, Aleithia here. We just got back to the American Red Cross Headquarters after visiting Capitol Hill. As a political science and history major, the visit was a dream! It was so exciting to go into our nation’s Capital building and walk through halls that many incredible historical figures walked down. To give a bit of background, we started the day bright and early by getting to the metro at 9:00 am to travel to Capitol Hill. Once we arrived and got through security we were met by the Office Manager of Congressman Rogers from Kentucky, Chelsea Jarrett. Chelsea and an intern from Congressman Rogers office gave us a tour of the old Senate, Supreme Court, and House of Representative chambers. Going into the old chambers was truly a wonderful experience, especially when it brought up memories of figures I learned about from high school to the present day. One highlight of my day was when we went through the Brumidi Corridors. The Brumidi Corridors is composed of five different hallways-West Corridor, Inner Corridor, North Corrido, Main Corrido, Patent Corridor. These corridors were filled with original tiles, paintings, and decoration inspired or done by the artist Constantino Brumidi who was an Italian immigrant. To see the original artwork was an incredible experience and brought the history that I am already so passionate about to life!
After our tour, we went to the House of Representatives to listen to the speakers. It was amazing to go listen to current government officials right after remembering those who came before them. I was very interested in all the speakers that came up and the content of their speeches. As the only political science and history major here, I was teased that I was “in heaven” a lot, but in this instance it was 100% accurate. I loved the visit the entire time and couldn’t help but show awe at what I was seeing.
Following our visit, we took a metro back towards the Red Cross Headquarters. Right as my group and I were about to get off, two of us did not make it out soon enough and the doors shut. I cannot begin to describe the initial shock I had at the doors shutting Kimberly Benner and I in the metro. Looking back on it, our reactions were hilarious, but in the moment I could not help but get stressed a little bit. We eventually got turned around and back to the correct station, and now I am able to laugh at myself.
Once we got back to the Red Cross building, I prepared myself to give a presentation on my strategic plan. Since I am leaving today I had to give my presentation a day early. I was a little nervous but also excited to share my ideas. I got through my presentation and then proceeded to say goodbye to the rest of the class. I cannot begin to describe my emotions. Here with the Red Cross Collegiate Leadership program, were all people who somehow, within two weeks, impacted and shaped me into a better person. I loved each minute of getting to know other strongly competitive athletes in a non-competitive way (sometimes) as well as getting to know the staff. I know that I will be able to reach out to everyone in my class including the mentor and Brian to receive quality advice or input. I am now sitting in the airport, ready to take off on a new adventure, only this time, I am taking the Red Cross with me!
Blog - Day 13 by Kimberly Buskirk
Hi everyone, I’m Kimberly Buskirk from Grace Bible College, I am here to give you all another update on what has been happening here in D.C.! Today was the big day, we presented our final strategic plans. After two weeks of hearing from great leaders and learning about American Red Cross, it was our turn. We created our own plans to run blood drives for each of our own institutions, and today we presented them to our student peers and mentors. It was amazing to see the past two weeks pay off, and it was amazing to hear the different ideas and strategies for each person and their institution.
One of the requirements for our presentations was to create our own code of conduct. We had to choose three characteristics we want to exemplify as a leader. The three characteristics I chose that comprises my code of conduct are respect, servant-heart, and dependable. Each of us created our own and put them in an envelope, so that Brian can mail them to us and keep us accountable. I thought this was a great idea as it really made us think about who we want to be as a leader and how we want to impact others.
As satisfying as it was delivering these strategies, it was also very bittersweet. It was the last time that all of us would be in that office together. These past two weeks have been incredible, and I would not change a thing. I have been blessed with meeting some of the greatest college students across the country and have been able to hear and learn from inspiring leaders. Personally, I have learned how to be a better outward leader, and I am beyond excited to bring what I have learned back to my campus and team.
We ended the work day by reflecting on these past two weeks as a group, commenting on our favorite parts, what we learned, and what we would even change. Brian ended the time with a well put quote, “Every person is either brought into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime…” and I hope each of these persons are a lifetime.
To wrap up our time together, some of us spent our last evening in Georgetown; where we ate cupcakes and ice-cream while sharing stories and laughing together.
Blog - Day 14 by Kim Benner
Hey everyone! It’s me again, Kim Benner. Wow, well where do I even start to explain such an amazing trip. Today was the last day of the two week Red Cross Collegiate Leadership Program. It was bitter sweet, bitter because I had to say goodbye to all of the amazing friends that I made throughout the trip, but also sweet because I was so excited to go home to share my experience with my friends and family. If I could describe this trip in one word it would be memorable, never in a million years did I think I could get this amazing opportunity to learn from the best in the American Red Cross but also to make friends of a lifetime.
Waking up this morning, it was weird to know that we were all going to go our separate ways. We wanted to make the most of our last few hours together so if that meant waking up at 5 am, that is what we had to do. We all walked over to the Lincoln Memorial together to watch the sunrise and that had to of been the best view I saw thus far. Once we made our way back to the dorm it was time to pack up the last of our belongings and say our goodbyes. It was time for me to head to the airport since my flight was soon, four of us headed to the metro. Which was the worse walk ever considering it was uphill and my bags were heavy. We made it to the airport maybe a little sweaty but ready to get on the plane and relax. I said my last goodbyes to Cam, Star, and Maryanna, got on my plane to head to my layover in Atlanta. One downside of heading home was that my first flight got delayed so when I landed in Atlanta my second flight to Los Angeles was already boarding. I got off of my plane and ran to the next terminal where my flight was. I got to my seat and then I was finally able to relax on my four hour flight.
On my plane ride I was able to reflect on my trip and I could not be more thankful and blessed for the opportunity of a life time. If there is one thing that I never want to forget about this trip is that everyone has a story and it might not be the same as mine, but it is just as important as mine. At this point in the trip I felt as if I was traveling all day, which I was. When I landed in LA I waited outside where my Uncle was there to pick me up and we made our way back home. I got home about 5:00pm which is 8:00pm D.C. time and I was exhausted. I was so excited to see my family and I felt as if I just could not stop talking about my trip and how much fun it was. If I was given the same opportunity I would take it again in a heartbeat and I 100 percent recommend this program for all athletes willing to make a difference in the community and school. I am ready to share with Vanguard my experience and I am more than ready to take on the challenge of a lifetime.