Texas Tech University

Rawls College Students Attend the National Conference on Student Leadership

Jacob Gordon

December 6, 2021


Of the seven Rawls College students who attended NCSL, six of them are first-generation students.

Seven students from the Jerry S. Rawls College of Business attended the National Conference on Student Leadership (NCSL) on November 18-19. The annual two-day conference, which is held in Orlando, Florida, brings together collegiate student leaders and campus professionals to learn leadership skills from a variety of innovators in industry, education and nonprofit sectors.

The seven students, six of which are first-generation college students, come from different areas in Rawls College and were chosen by Rawls College faculty based on their leadership potential.

1.       Alejandra Boland – Energy Commerce

2.       Joseph Ghandour – Information Technology

3.       Lincoln Buckley – Accounting

4.       Zackary Arbegast – Finance

5.       Kiana Firouzbakht – Undeclared

6.       JunHyuk Choi – Information Technology

7.       Roque Alaniz – Finance

NCSL is a unique opportunity for Rawls College students, and it was one that Firouzbakht certainly appreciated.

“I crave to have these opportunities and to explore new places,” she said. “I got to meet so many people from my own college representing different majors. And I still talk to and am building a relationship with those people post trip.”

NCSL started in 1978 and helps students not only figure out the type of leader they can be, but also gives them space to explore how they can be better leaders in their student organizations.

Alaniz is currently an officer in the Real Estate Organization (REO) and hopes to become the president of the organization. NCSL helped him see the type of leader he could become within REO.

“The event hosted multiple speakers from all over the nation, all of which shared their experiences and provided valuable insight on leadership,” said Alaniz. “It opened my eyes to see the simple actions great leaders do to make huge impacts on others such as empowering, acting and providing direction.”

A session that stood out for Ghandour was one about having courageous conversations and cultivating a climate of civility, respect and inclusion. Ghandour's family is originally from Syria, and he was able to see how his leadership differed from his parents.

“I found through the presentation that I am a thinker,” said Ghandour, “which means I approach conflict and difficult conversations by asking lots of questions and trying to understand where the other person is coming from. On the other hand, my parents are emotionally driven, which means they go in with emotion, which is why these conversations were so difficult to have.”

The conference is just as beneficial for students in their early academic careers as it is for those planning to graduate soon.

“Had I not been selected for this trip, or if the trip wasn't happening at all, I would be severely behind in the leadership department for the business field,” said Buckly, who just recently finished his first year in the accounting program.

For more information on NCSL, please visit their website.