Sophomores transform with the LeadState program

Valida Azamatova Reporter


 Twice a year, two groups of student leaders chosen among the sophomore class at SDSU gather to strengthen their leadership skills. LeadState is an intensive leadership development program targeted at sophomore students at SDSU. 

The program aims to help students grow through a better understanding of their strengths by learning and applying the social change model for leadership development, executing a personal leadership development plan, and working with a small group to develop and implement a service project in the community. 

“We also work to help participants connect more broadly with faculty, staff and other student leaders across campus, in hopes that this network will catalyze and further support their continued growth as leaders during their time at SDSU and beyond”, said Tim Nichols, dean of the Honors College. 

According to Nichols, the organization makes a difference in the community and in the lives of SDSU students. Participants take a survey after their semester-long experience and again when they graduate from SDSU. 

“Each cluster gets assigned a certain group in the Brookings community to do a service project with. This service project is due in December and the reason behind that is to use leadership strengths and give back to the community,” Trivedi said.

“Results indicate that students are consistently positive about their participation in LeadState,” Nichols said. 

LeadState is a great example of academic and student affairs divisions of the university coming together to make a difference for students. Provost Laurie Nichols and Vice President of Student Affairs Marysz Rames are great supporters and help to fund the program each year, according to Nichols. The LeadState team includes representatives from the academic colleges and across units in the division of student affairs. 

Students and the members of LeadState also think that this program is useful. “LeadState is all about helping future leaders get in touch with their strengths and leadership style,” biology/pre-med junior Eshita Trivedi said.

Participants all take the Gallup strength finder survey and find out their top five strengths. There are 34 total strengths. During the LeadState retreat, students are put in to groups called clusters. Participants work with their cluster, cluster coaches and student coaches to help them realize and build these strengths. 

“This is the first year that there are student coaches or ‘year twos’ and the coaches say that it is really helpful having us around,” Trivedi said. “LeadState is a wonderful opportunity and it taught me so much about what kind of leader I am and how to use my strengths.”

“Honestly I never thought I had leadership skills until they’ve chosen me. It’s very inspirational because you don’t have to have certain characters to be a leader, everyone can be one,” sophomore psychology major Hiba Abdeljalil said.