YOUNGSTOWN Leaders emerging in YSU program

The Emerging Leader Program is offered free to YSU students.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Melanie Koontz hopes a first-year leadership program at Youngstown State University will help students assume active roles within the school and the surrounding community.
About 65 YSU students have been attracted to the university's Emerging Leader Program so far.
The program uses monthly video conferences along with community service and academic requirements to achieve its goals of promoting leadership skills -- along with the developing critical thinking, problem-solving and interaction skills.
It even offers tips for healthful living.
"It's going to be something you can use throughout your life," said Koontz, a student life graduate programming assistant who oversees the program, which is designed for students to complete within two or three semesters.
Learning already: Those involved in the new program say they have already taken something from it.
Besides the opportunity for personal improvement, Anthony Candel, a junior majoring in exercise science, said the program offers a great way to network.
"I've already got a chance to network and meet people," he said. "[A career] does have a lot to do with who you know."
The program is free to students, requires 60 hours of community service, participation at a student retreat, and membership in one university organization, such as student government or band.
Koontz said everyone who applies is accepted.
Seeking funding: It's collaboratively funded through the university's student life office, but Koontz said officers are looking for outside funding.
"When it got into health and nutrition, I didn't expect that to be a topic, but you can definitely see the relevance in that," said Nazim Wahab, a senior biology major.
Besides the fact that he's leading a healthier lifestyle, Wahab said, discussions with other prospective leaders give him a chance to plan for the future.
For their efforts, those who complete the program receive a graduation cord, a YSU leadership pin, designation of completion on their official university transcript and eligibility for other leadership programs. Applications are available in the student life office and other offices in Kilcawley Center.

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