Huntsman Scholars Help High School Students
The inaugural Huntsman Scholar Leadership Lab didn't take place on campus in Logan. Instead, 50 Huntsman Scholars traveled 430 miles south to Whitehorse High School in San Juan County, Utah. The goal was to introduce the high school students to the myriad educational opportunities available to them. Many students at Whitehorse come from the Navajo Nation, where many do not have access to running water or electricity and even fewer have educational opportunities. Bret Crane, the Assistant Professor who oversaw the Leadership Lab, explains that these socioeconomic challenges compound a cycle of poverty.
“We saw that the students on the reservation were either unaware of educational opportunities, intimidated by them, or didn’t have the resources to access them,” said Crane. “Representatives from the Native American community came and talked to our students about this problem. Our goal was to create an opportunity fair where each student team developed a unique booth that communicated higher aspiration and accessibility to a higher education, and what it could mean for the high school students and their families.”
Crane explained that one of the things he wanted to teach the Huntsman Scholars was that leadership is not about yourself, but rather about making a difference in the lives of others. “We took the students through a design process,” said Crane. “Students learn this at Stanford, they learn this at Michigan, and we are teaching it to our freshmen.”
In less than three hours, 300 students visited booths that contained information from financial aid to mock interviews. They received ready-to-go applications, a list of schools that do not require application fees, and scholarship information. “The principal expressed her gratitude and explained that she had never seen her students with such excitement and professionalism,” shared Crane.
The Huntsman Scholar Leadership Lab is a formative leadership development experience for 1st Year students in the Huntsman Scholar Program. During this lab, through experiential activities and thought-provoking challenges, students develop greater self-awareness, begin to discover their leadership identity, and increase their interpersonal and teaming skills. More information about the Huntsman Scholar program is available at: https://huntsman.usu.edu/scholars/