A Take on Leadership @ the CEC!

Hi all! 

It’s Sarah, and I’m back with another exciting update on what’s been happening at the CEC over the past few months. We’ve been hosting many incredible events, many of which are focused on providing STEAM opportunities as a part of our New Granada STEAM Initiative. Since my last update, I have helped support a multitude of these programs, including Camp Bio-E for elementary schoolers, a Teen Tech Camp for high schoolers, Digital Literacy classes for seniors, and STEAM Saturdays for elementary/middle schoolers. Clearly, the past several weeks have been packed with programs!

Certainly, several steps need to be taken to plan a program successfully, and I have gained countless skills over this internship. In fact, many of them are detailed in my last blog post on June 21. Therefore, I would like to dedicate this blog post to describing how my leadership style has evolved. 

After watching the leadership styles of key figures in the Office of Engagement and Community Affairs (ECA) and CEC, I realized the true importance of delegation. The programs that we provide to the community have numerous moving parts. For just our STEAM Saturdays alone, we collaborated with six organizations, each of whom had to create a curriculum and learn how to teach it. This might seem easier said than done, but other aspects need to be taken into consideration on our end. We have to work with these groups to improve their curriculum and teaching, but also perform other tasks, such as gathering materials for activities and reaching out to the community to receive sign-ups. It is imperative that a leader delegate these many tasks because it is impossible for one individual to complete them all. I used to be the type of person that would be hesitant to delegate because I would prefer things to be done a certain way. While this might be possible for a small class project, it is impossible to implement large-scale programming without delegation. At the end of the day, a leader does not have time to micromanage every small detail; there needs to be a compromise. 

Another characteristic of leadership that I found to be increasingly important is adaptability. I’ve also struggled with being more flexible, as I like to plan things to a T. Unfortunately, no amount of planning can make a leader prepared for the countless unexpected occurrences that may arise. While in this position, I have observed an array of unpleasant surprises. For example, there was one rainy morning when the CEC received a historically low attendance for our STEAM Saturday. While this was due to the weather and our attendance numbers returned to normal the following week, it still came as a surprise. In addition to this occurrence, there have been instances where volunteers have arrived late, or we are ahead/behind schedule. Ultimately, these happenings are normal. There are ways to mitigate the effects of some of these occurrences, such as planning additional teaching material in case you are ahead of schedule; however, it is impossible to tell the rain to go away and bring out the sunlight. Ultimately, there is only so much in a leader’s control. 

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