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More ways to lead

More ways to lead

Michelle Tedford '94 March 09, 2022

When Aki Yadev came to UD as a new computer science major in fall 2019, she felt she was missing out on the UD community experience. Pandemic restrictions coupled with mostly online courses left her feeling disconnected. So when she heard of the ULeaD Emerging Leaders Program available her sophomore year, she immediately applied.

“This really helped me because I made a list of new connections and new goals,” said Yadav, who is from Mumbai, India. “It’s about more than just academics, and it helped me make new friends.”

ULeaD is one of several leadership programs offered by the Division of Student Development thanks to donations to the University’s 2021 giving day: One Day, One Dayton. More than $2.8 million was raised April 14, 2021, including $67,625 for student leadership, life, and health and well-being programs. One Day, One Dayton 2022 will be celebrated April 6.

More than $2.8 million was raised April 14, 2021. One Day, One Dayton 2022 will be celebrated April 6.

Chelsea Rooney, assistant director of student leadership programs, said ULeaD is a new program created with giving day funds in response to connection gaps experienced by first- and second-year students.

Participants attend workshops, panel discussions and special events throughout the year to learn more about UD leadership opportunities as they begin to develop their personal leadership styles.

Women gather in the Ad le Center to learn about leadership
Women gather in the Adéle Center to learn about leadership


Each participant receives an upperclass mentor who offers tips on how to balance academics and extracurriculars.

“It’s nice to see how upperclassmen are navigating leadership since we are just starting our leadership journey,” said Lenny O’Connor, a first-year international studies and political science major from Chicago.

For juniors and seniors, there’s the Women’s Leadership Immersion, an intensive cohort experience facilitated by female leaders.

Forty-two women-identifying students are exploring leadership, networking, career advancement and financial health. 

Olivia Hervey is a senior criminal justice major from Columbus, Ohio. In her four years of college, she’s had three majors, two minors and attended two universities.

“I was trying to make college fit what I wanted, but I am now able to see it as a stepping stone,” said Hervey, who took to heart facilitators’ advice that students focus on their passions. Hervey’s passion is working with children, and she now is looking toward a master’s in counseling.

“The Women’s Leadership Immersion is one way we’re using our time at Dayton to propel ourselves further in the world,” she said.

“The Women’s Leadership Immersion is one way we’re using our time at Dayton to propel ourselves further in the world.”

Funds from One Day, One Dayton supported the two-day retreat, making it free for participants. Junior mechanical engineering major Sama Ahmed said she was inspired by panelist Kate Rivers ’08. An industrial engineer by degree, Rivers now operates Twist Cupcakery in Dayton, capitalizing on her love of baking.

“She didn’t feel restricted by what she chose [as a major], but she found what she was passionate about,” said Ahmed, from Miamisburg, Ohio. Ahmed finds similarities in their stories and hopes to finds a career path that incorporates her love of higher education.

A founder of Womanists Empower, a new club on campus that highlights underrepresented women and facilitates justice through education, Ahmed said she’s already incorporating themes learned during the retreat into club activities to share with even more students.