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Leadership Development

Rising Leader Class Mentor Profiles

 
Courtney Otto

Courtney Otto

Head Mentor

    Hometown: Amherst, New Hampshire

    Major: International Relations; History

    First Year Activities: Debate, Circle K, Fencing, Students for a Global Perspective, intern at the Gandhi institute

    Current Activities: Intern for the Immigration Unit of the Legal Aid Society of Rochester, Refugee Student Alliance, Circle K International, University of Rochester Debate Union, Peer Advisor for International Relations

    Fun Fact: I enjoy playing golf with friends and family.

    What inspired you to be a mentor?  I had a great experience as a student in the Rising Leader class, and wanted to have the opportunity to empower others to best refine their leadership skills and explore the various opportunities on campus and beyond. First year is so exciting, and I especially appreciated the friendships I made and guidance I received from upper-class students. As a senior this year, I hope to use my own experience and training to help introduce first year students to meaningful clubs and organizations, offer insight for adjustment to university life, and serve as a form of support for students as they further develop their leadership skills.

    What did you gain from participating in the Rising Leader Class?  This class provided me with the opportunity to work with some of the amazing leaders on our campus (both faculty and students) and to meet people from various backgrounds who have a similar passion for helping others, taking initiative, and making a difference in the community. I appreciate how this class challenged me to introspectively consider my leadership skills and apply them to positional forms of leadership on campus, as well as to individual interactions in research projects, employment, etc. I was a member of the class in fall of 2015, and have been involved in RCCL since, as a mentor and TA for the class, looking to give back to a program that I have gained so much from.



    Vlad Cazacu

    Vlad Cazacu

      Hometown: Bucharest, Romania

      Major: Business & Psychology

      First Year Activities: First Year Quad Area Council (Executive Director), 2020 Class Council (Business Manager), Beta Theta Pi Fraternity, Medallion Leadership Program, UR DJs, Student Employee at Starbucks. 

      Current Activities: 2020 Class Council (Business Manager), Beta Theta Pi Fraternity (VP of Risk Management), Student Alumni Ambassador, iZone Design Thinking Fellow, Resident Adviser, Medallion Leadership Program, Student Employee at Warner School of Education. 

      Fun Fact: I did 6 years of theater acting prior to college.

      What inspired you to be a mentor? I want to help other students develop as leaders on this campus and make an impact in their next 4 years.

      What did you gain from participating in the Rising Leader Class? The rising leader class was a great place to learn and develop, but its biggest asset is the pool of amazing students that are participating in it. I surrounded myself with future leaders who became my good friends and we ended up working together in multiple organizations. The student leadership at this University is powered by the connections between those involved peers.


      Brian Filipiak

        Hometown: Glenview, Illinois

        Major: Environmental Science

        First Year Activities: Rising Leader Class, Resident Advisor Class, Intramural Sports, Game Operations & Video Streaming for Athletics Department, Citation in Community-Engaged Scholarship

        Current Activities: Resident Advisor, Citation in Community-Engaged Scholarship, Game Operations & Video Streaming for Athletics Department, Intramural Sports, Rising Leader Class

        Fun Fact: I have been coached by and practiced basketball on the same court as many NBA and former NBA players including Patrick Beverly, Dickey Simpkins, and Scottie Pippen.

        What inspired you to be a mentor? I want to help the incoming students realize their potential and give them a person to help them get involved in whatever they want to do. Also, I would like to continue my own development through their experiences.

        What did you gain from participating in the Rising Leader Class? Besides meeting many of my friends in the class, I gained confidence to do what I wanted and I obtained the skills to help me become a better leader. Also, the Rising Leader Class helped me find the right resources to help me with my ideas.


        Mary Frances Gage

          Hometown: Buffalo, New York

          Major: International Relations

          First Year Activities: Habitat for Humanity, Committee for Political Engagement, Refugee Student Alliance, Running Club, Fitness Center Monitor

          Current Activities: Co-Fundraising Chair of Habitat for Humanity, Committee for Political Engagement, Refugee Student Alliance, Running Club, Fitness Center Monitor

          Fun Fact: I studied abroad in Quito, Ecuador this summer.

          What inspired you to be a mentor? I want to be a mentor because I really enjoyed my own experience in the program and want to give back. I want to help other students develop their own leadership skills and support them as they begin their college careers.

          What did you gain from participating in the Rising Leader Class?  I had the opportunity to learn about myself and develop a personal style of leadership, as well as work with a diverse group of driven classmates whose different perspectives inspired me to think about leadership in an entirely new way.


          Meghan Jordan

          Meghan Jordan

            Hometown: Ithaca, New York

            Major: Health Policy

            First Year Activities: BCS and Neuroscience Undergraduate Council, Publicity Chair of the Charles Drew Pre-Health Society, piano lessons at Eastman School of Music and Yoga Club

            Current Activities: Community Service Chair of the Charles Drew Pre-Health Society, Memorial Art Gallery Volunteer and Volunteer Coordinator, Research Assistant at the Warner School of Education, On-Campus Starbucks Barista

            Fun Fact: I’ve been playing piano since I was 4 years old.

            What inspired you to be a mentor? I believe mentoring is a wonderful way to be able to grow as a leader and provide guidance and inspiration to others as they navigate their paths to leadership.

            What did you gain from participating in the Rising Leader Class? I learned a lot about my strengths and weaknesses as a leader, and had the opportunity to be surrounded by a group of people who inspired and challenged me to step out of my comfort zone and get involved on campus.



            Dylan Manuele

            Dylan Manuele

              Hometown: Whitestone, New York

              Major: Biomedical Engineering

              First Year Activities: Debate Union, Research Assistant at Kuo Musculoskeletal Tissue Engineering Lab, guitar lessons at Eastman School of Music

              Current Activities: Debate Union Publicity Manager, Research Assistant at Kuo Musculoskeletal Tissue Engineering Lab

              Fun Fact: I used to play varsity tennis in high school.

              What inspired you to be a mentor? I want to be a mentor because I’ve always had a passion for helping my peers, and I want to use my experience in the Rising Leader Class to help new students acclimate to college and develop their leadership skills.

              What did you gain from participating in the Rising Leader Class? Through small group discussions and large community events, the Rising Leader Class helped me develop my self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and my unique leadership style.

               


              Joty Rashid

                Hometown: Queens, New York

                Major: Microbiology (intended)

                First Year Activities: Archery Vice President, Photography Club, Pre-dental club, Society of Undergraduate Biology Students, Table Tennis 

                Current Activities: Activities: Archery Vice President, Photography Club, Pre-dental club, Society of Undergraduate Biology Students, Table Tennis, D'lion organization.

                Fun Fact: I once did an internship in Japan. 

                What inspired you to be a mentor? I want to be a mentor because this way I get to pay it forward to this class that helped me to redefine my leadership skills and transition to the college successfully in my first year.

                What did you gain from participating in the Rising Leader Class? By participating in the Rising Leader Class I was able to network with many both on and off campus leaders; I learned how to use my leadership skills effectively and this also encouraged me to reach out to the Rochester community.

                 


                John Siu

                  Hometown: New York, New York

                  Major: Physics and Astronomy

                  First Year Activities: Society of Physics Students, URMakers

                  Current Activities: Astronomy Club Secretary, Society of Physics Students Professional Development Committee, Urban Exploring, Rising Leader Class Mentor/Graduate

                  Fun Fact: I jumped off an 800-foot tower once and lived to tell the tale.

                  What inspired you to be a mentor? The Rising Leader Class really helped to give me a perspective as to what leadership meant to me. The entire course is predicated on what you as a leader can do for your community, and giving back to the class that helped to nurture my First year experience is the least I can do.

                  What did you gain from participating in the Rising Leader Class? The Rising Leader Class opened up a lot as to what leadership was defined as, in addition to what the term itself represented to people. I personally gained more insight as to how I can learn from others, and become a better leader by doing so. Being able to expand my comfort zone and put myself out there more often are a few of the things I’ve gained from participating in the RLC.

                   


                  Brendan Stone

                    Hometown: Elmira, New York

                    Major: International Relations

                    First Year Activities: Quad Area Council Hall Ambassador, Athletic Communications Department, Outing Club, Alpha Delta Phi Fraternity

                    Current Activities: Outing Club, Athletic Communications Department, Alpha Delta Phi Fraternity, 2020 Class Council President, Rising Leader Class, Interfraternity Council Director of Public Relations

                    Fun Fact: I have played the national anthem at a Cleveland Indians game with my high school marching band.

                    What inspired you to be a mentor? I wanted to become a mentor to give back to the program what I got out of it and to continue to develop the strong leaders I want to see every day on this campus.

                    What did you gain from participating in the Rising Leader Class? I gained the boost of confidence I needed to put myself out there more in college. This program allowed me to confidently budget my time and gauge my interests in different organizations; rather than being involved in a bunch of different organizations, it showed me how to pour more effort into a few organizations I was really passionate about.