Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Leadership lived: UIS involvement inspires student to become leader

Jamaal Hollins never planned on becoming a leader, but that changed when he got involved at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Now the senior computer science major is the UIS student representative to the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.

“You can ask my parents. They’re surprised,” said Hollins. “It’s something I had never thought about doing, but as I got more involved at UIS I really wanted to help the university and the students.”

Hollins attends Board of Trustees meetings and has an advisory vote on all issues. He’s learn a lot about the day-to-day operations of the university.

“It’s really been an eye opening experience,” said Hollins. “I’ve learned about many issues that face not only UIS and higher education, but the university hospital for example at the Chicago campus.”

He’s also involved with the UIS Campus Senate, an ex officio member of the Student Government Association, and is a mentor for the Necessary Steps, Capital Scholars Honors Program, and Big Brothers Big Sisters

“The biggest thing about UIS is the opportunity to get involved. If you end up coming here, get involved, find something to do find somebody, an older student. Take a risk,” he said.

Hollins took a risk when he joined the intercollegiate squash team on campus his freshman year. At that time there were only four members. Now the team has grown to 11 players who play against major universities, such as Notre Dame and Duke.

“It’s been very competitive. We’ve won some of our matches,” said Hollins who now coaches the team.

Following graduation from UIS, Hollins plans to work for State Farm Insurance in Bloomington, Ill. That’s where he’s spent the past few summers interning.

“It’s been a great experience there and most recently a couple of months ago, I actually got a job offer from them with a start date after I graduate,” he said.

He leaves UIS with the knowledge to lead a successful career and the leadership skills to succeed.

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