17:23 PM

Student says Hawk Leadership Institute fueled personal growth, leadership skills


Going to college is about far more than just taking courses to get a diploma. It’s also about finding opportunities to gain leadership skills needed to be successful in the workforce, and in life.

The Hawk Leadership Institute at University of Houston-Clear Lake is a leadership learning community for incoming first-year students like Hannah Philip, who transferred to UH-Clear Lake after completing her associate’s at Robert Turner College and Career High School in Pearland.

Philip and 19 other first-year students, as well as eight second-year students, shared their path of growth in leadership over the course of the year in a presentation showcase on April 23. Philip, who is pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, said that she decided to join the HLI, then decided she wouldn’t after all because as a new student, she was concerned she wouldn’t have enough time to devote to participating.

“When I was in high school, I didn’t have many leadership positions,” she said. “I was shy and reserved. I was in some groups, but I didn’t think of myself as a leader. HLI helped me view myself as a person who has the potential to lead.”

In her presentation,  she said that when she attended New Student Orientation, she was encouraged to join HLI, so along with a friend, signed up.

 “When we started having meetings, we were working from a book entitled, ‘Exploring Leadership,’” she said. “We were going through the modules and talking about the history of leadership, the types of leaders, different theories of leadership and the evolution of leadership.”

 She said that one of the things she’d learned in HLI was after taking the Clifton Strengths Assessment. “That is a test that tells us what our top five strengths are, and that’s what helped us understand ourselves as leaders,” she said. “I learned that some of my strengths were empathy, achievement and maximizing, which means I am the type of leader who wants to see other people around me do well. For a lot of students, it helped put into words what we are good at. A lot of those qualities resonated with us when we saw it on paper.”

She added that in the Institute, they explored the topic of leadership style and she learned that hers was servant-leader. “That’s the style that resonated with me,” she said. “In that approach, you prioritize others’ needs more than your own authority, and you want to be part of a team. That is how I see myself as a leader.”

Continuing her growth in confidence and leadership is fueling her desire to become more involved. She’s just become vice president of Outreach in Hawks4Community, a service-oriented student organization on campus. “I would not have been able to do this without participating in HLI,” she said. “This has been a really important part of my freshman year at UHCL. I was really shy and nervous about initiating conversations, but I wanted to be more involved. I have met a lot of people and I am going to take what I learned and start applying it in real life.”

For more information about the Hawk Leadership Institute, go online.