Texas Tech University

Seven Rawls College Students Gain Leadership Skills in Florida


Jacob Gordon  |  November 30, 2022

On November 18 and 19, seven students from the Jerry S. Rawls College of Business attended the National Conference on Student Leadership (NCSL) in Orlando, Florida. During the two-day conference, collegiate student leaders had an opportunity to discuss and learn leadership skills from a variety of innovators in industry, education and nonprofit sectors.

The seven students represented different areas in Rawls College and were chosen by Rawls College faculty based on their leadership potential. Five of this year's attendees are first-generation students.

  • Leilani Beard – Energy Commerce (first-gen)
  • Kayla Guevara – Information Technology (first-gen)
  • Alexus Renteria – Management (first-gen)
  • Ryan Ramos – Finance
  • Luis Gameros – Finance (first-gen)
  • Brooke Pugh – Management and Marketing (first-gen)
  • Andrew Schlereth – Accounting

Starting in 1978, NCSL has helped students better understand the type of leaders they can be in their eventual careers.

"As an aspiring attorney, leadership plays a huge rule in my career after graduation," said Pugh. "Being able to lead and command a room is essential in my future career. The conference provided so many ways to sharpen professional skills and grow as a leader both physically and mentally."

Ramos saw the conference as an opportunity to do more than just develop his leadership skills.

"I was very interested in learning about what it takes to be a leader and how to evaluate how I am doing as a leader," said Ramos. "Sometimes it's hard to take accountability for your actions, and getting to go to this conference allowed me to get a good idea on how to do that."

During the conference, students attended a variety of panel discussions, workshops and speaker events. And while each student saw value in every session they attended, two particular sessions stood out.

Students and professor

"I would have to say my favorite session from NCSL was the 'Learning to Be Comfortable with Our Discomfort' session by Andrea Mosby," said Guevara. "She taught us vital life skills and, most importantly, how to step out of our comfort zone to change the world as leaders."

"[Mosby] inspired me to be the best version of myself and to confidently make decisions that will impact my future," said Renteria. "If I had the chance to see her again or attend a conference with her, I would do it without hesitation!"

For Schlereth, the session that really stood out to him was “Does Batman Really Belong in the Justice League?” The leader of the workshop session, Benjamin Jeppsen, explored the ways imposter syndrome can show up in the workplace and how Batman can serve as a model for navigating the imposter phenomenon.

"[Jeppsen] was an enthusiastic professor who made an interesting connection between impostor syndrome and how Batman knew his worth compared to his peers," said Schlereth. "[The session] taught me that comparing myself to others is damaging in situations and I should instead find what value I bring to a group."

Much like how Batman must find his value in a group of super-powered heroes, NCSL encouraged students to find their roles in their academic and professional lives.

"During the conference, the speakers put students in environments that allowed them to grow both personally and professionally and learn ways other than their standard methods of leading," said Pugh. "I am excited to bring this newfound experience back to my college campus and future career by being more open to complex conversations or ideas that differ from my own."

Several of the other students echoed Pugh's excitement about being open-minded.

"People from all over the country attended the conference and brought ideas that were different than those at Texas Tech," said Schlereth. "Listening to what people have to say with an open mindset brought the most value from the conference."

Guevara offers even more direct advice for future Rawls College students who may attend NCSL.

"Make the best of the short time you have there," said Guevara. "Become a sponge so you can absorb as much information as you can and take notes during the sessions! Also, talk to the other attendees (students or speakers) and do not be afraid to speak up or ask questions."

Learn more about the National Conference on Student Leadership (NCSL) at magnapubs.com/why-ncsl/.