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Student Leadership Development Certificate Provides Opportunities


The Marshall B. Ketchum University Student Leadership Development Certificate was created to provide opportunities for those students who have a desire to make a positive difference in their University, college, or school, community and profession through leadership. It is a multifaceted program designed to develop and foster skills in students, model the organizational and interpersonal tools necessary for good leadership, and empower students to engage and collaborate with others as they embark on their future roles as health care providers.

Enhancing Leadership Opportunities

“There are so many opportunities as health care reorganizes itself for our students to become future leaders,” says Dr. Carmen Barnhardt, Vice President for Student Affairs and the faculty adviser for the Certificate program. “I have always been so impressed with the dedication of our student leaders. We wanted to enhance their experience by creating a leadership curriculum that provides a framework to assist them in honing their leadership skills.”

Students who wish to attain the Leadership Development Certificate participate in the Leadership Summit. The annual Summit explores leadership principles, ideas, theories and models, and students are given a self-assessment to determine their strengths and begin to develop their own style of leadership. Those students who choose to enter the program receive a list of goals and benchmarks, which they are required to complete in order to accept the Certificate upon their graduation.

The experiential component is a big part of the program. “What is health care?” Dr. Barnhardt asks. “At its most basic, it is serving the community. We want our students to be engaged in their community and to identify and meet unmet needs there.” To this end, students must participate in a team-based project that meets a need at MBKU itself. Two examples that immediately come to Dr. Barnhardt’s mind are the establishment of both an SCCO alumni mentoring program and Pre-PA mentor club, both of which are still going strong.

Three Student Leaders

Erin Tomiyama (SCCO ’17) is one of the first graduates of the Leadership Development Certificate program. As the president of the Student Association, she was very involved in not just leadership but also in the creation of the Certificate. Meeting the objectives enriched her experiences at MBKU in many ways, allowing her the opportunity to form relationships with faculty that went beyond being just a student in their classes. “The Leadership Certificate was a big part of my experience at Ketchum,” she says. “The relationships I formed proved helpful after I completed my degree and went on to do a residency in contact lenses. The contact lens faculty knew who I was and supported my opportunities through mentorship and friendship.” Erin has extended her residency to a Master’s Degree and then will pursue a PhD. The leadership skills she developed at MBKU have enabled her to bridge the gap from clinician to researcher.

Elias Frangos (SPAS ’18) still reflects on the assessment he took at the outset of the Leadership Summit, using what he learned about himself in his every day approach to leadership. As a part of his team project, Elias worked with students from CSUF, CSULB and UCI to start the Pre-PA Club on campus. “The whole purpose was to give back to a community we were once a part of,” says Elias. “It gave me the opportunity to meet people, network and build something from the ground up. One of the students we mentored subsequently got into MBKU – so that was very rewarding.”

Sahar Matin is a student in the College of Pharmacy Class of 2020 currently in the process of completing her Certificate objectives. Among other positions, she was the Student Association Treasurer and as one of her service projects, she spent an entire summer entirely revamping the system for managing all the accounts for the different student groups on campus. For Sahar, having the requirements gave her a valuable roadmap for prospects she had already planned on pursuing. “When you look at the criteria, it helps you figure out what’s important in becoming a leader. These different requirements I had to meet helped me grow as I built my resume, making me a confident and competent student in the College of Pharmacy.”

A Continued Legacy of Leadership

MBKU has a long legacy of professors and administrators who influence their professions in associations at the national level, and the Student Leadership Development Certificate provides a model for students who are well on their way to doing the same. “The program gives a direction and a focus to those students,” says Dr. Barnhardt. “They understand the big picture of working in large organizations with great interpersonal skills and a collaborative and ethical approach to leadership.”