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Finding ways to lead

10:41 AM  Jul 18th, 2018
by Matt Trybus ’19

High school juniors, seniors and rising college freshman from all over the country convened at UD for a two-week long summer camp to learn more about leadership and entrepreneurship. Their efforts culminated in the creation of projects which they presented to a panel of judges in late June.

During the two workshops, Leadership 101 and Entrepreneurship 101, students were tasked with finding a solution to a problem they found in their local community.

April Mescher, business director at the Center of Leadership, helped organize the event and said that students chose problems that had personal significance in their lives.

“These projects come from a place of experience and passion,” she said.

For example, one participant, Makayla Funkhouser wanted to help her sister Jessica, who is deaf. Because Makayla’s school does not have an interpreter on campus, Jessica has to go to a different school.

Makayla’s solution was to start a sign language club which she hopes will eventually lead to her school hiring an interpreter for students with hearing impairments. Her presentation included teaching the audience a variety of signs.

“My favorite sign is the sign for ‘I love you’” Makayla said, demonstrating by holding up her pinkie, index finger and thumb. “My grandma even has it tattooed on her ankle.”

During the camp, students stayed in Founders Hall while attending classes on-campus. They also visited local businesses, worked with the Institute for Applied Creativity (IACT) on campus, and attended a Dayton Dragons baseball game.

Meredith Mecozzi, another participant, felt empowered by the end of the workshop. “This is the first time I received an assignment and walked away with a plan,” she said. “I learned I need to take on more leadership roles.”

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