Kayla Wise – AASLE Conference Reflection

Kayla Wise
AASLE Conference Reflection

Attending the African American Student Leadership Experience (AASLE) was such a remarkable experience. Through the many spectacular keynote speakers and insightful sessions and workshops, I felt empowered as both a minority and a leader to make a difference in my campus community. During one of the keynote speakers, Dr. Damon A. Williams, I learned a lot about setting goals and how to achieve them. I really benefited from his wisdom, for I am looking to improve in many aspects of my life such as academics, leadership, and my personal goals as well, and his talk made me reflect on my purpose and why I want to achieve such things. I believe that is extremely important in accomplishing any change, because you must be aware of why and what you want to achieve in order to have a direction to attain it. I also really enjoyed this workshop called “NeXus Corner.” During this time, all of the delegates had the opportunity to speak with various tables regarding internship and other professional opportunities (Peace Corps, U.S. Department of State, Google, etc.), practice your elevator pitch, resume reviewing, and take LinkedIn headshots. This was a very beneficial workshop, for I learned more about the Peace Corps, which I now may consider in the future since it aligns with my career goals and it could lead to many professional opportunities in the future.
As I prepare to come back to campus for the second semester, I plan to take what I learned from the conference and become a more active leader on campus. I plan to get involved in organizations that I haven’t yet become involved with such as the Black Student Alliance. Now that I’ve gotten to know the other UR students who attended the conference with me, I believe we could all collaborate and brainstorm ideas for ways to improve the college experience for minority students at a Predominately White Institution like UR. Also, I plan to take on a leadership role as a small group leader in InterVarsity. This would be a big step for me since I am a quiet person, but this conference has helped me to find my voice and to be a fearless leader, because in order to grow we must step outside our comfort zone and be confident in our capabilities. This conference has taught me so much about leadership, such as the basic skills of leadership like communication, negotiating techniques, conflict management, team building, and critical thinking. I believe I could make some improvements in some areas, so I will continue to seek opportunities for growth in these areas, such as the EnVision retreat and involvement with Westhampton Student Government Association (and maybe I’ll run for a senator or cabinet position next year). Overall, I believe attending this conference has made me realize my leadership potential and to not hold it back due to my own fears or doubts. Instead, I want to challenge myself, take risks with a leap of faith, and pursue opportunities for growth and personal development to set a good example for others and to sharpen my leadership skills to become a more confident, empowering, leader.

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