Developing Leadership Skills at CIPA

Jacquelyn Chyrell Richards is a first-year CIPA student who is concentrating her studies on Government, Politics and Policy.

In my last blog post, I talked about moments in my life as a graduate student at Cornell that I thought couldn’t possibly be topped. I spoke too soon!

As President of the Black Graduate Professional Student Association, I had the pleasure of meeting with Cornell University President Martha Pollack and Vice President for Student and Campus Life Ryan Lombardi during a Graduate & Professional Student Leaders’ Meeting earlier this semester. Eight other student leaders participated and , together, we had the opportunity to address issues of common concern including mental health services, fostering an inclusive and safe campus for all, disability services, etc.

I am so thankful for the opportunity to have this dialogue. Experiences like this help me build the communication skills I need to become a better public servant. Right now, I strive to be a leader who can connect with members of my organization, mentor others, raise the profile of Black graduate and professional students on campus, and represent my group’s concerns to administrators. I’d like to thank President Pollack and Vice President Lombardi for initiating these meetings because change begins when we have an open door like this.

My ongoing work with the Tompkins County Young Democrats has given me an additional leadership opportunity. In this forum, I am able to discuss and relay concerns from the entire Ithaca community in which I live, with the seven congressional candidates for NY-23. Here I am with current CIPA classmates, Alexandria Maloney, Xavier Campbell, and Congressional candidate Ian Golden.


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