Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Leadership lived: International student steps up to lead the UIS Women’s Center


When the director of the University of Illinois Springfield Women’s Center left the university, international student Bhanu Sheetal Muthyala, a graduate assistant, stepped up to lead the office. She took charge of planning events and running the center’s daily operations.

She admits that it was challenging at first to manage the office, but says she’s learned many important lessons about leadership from the experience. She is advised by Clarice Ford, UIS vice chancellor for student affairs and her staff.

“Working at the Women’s Center is a great pleasure for me,” she said. “Before I came to UIS I had worked with many non-governmental organization back in India.”

This is the second year Muthyala has worked as a graduate assistant for the Women’s Center. Before that, she worked for UIS Residence Life where she did clerical work.

One of the weekly Women’s Center events Muthyala helps plan is called TGIF. The Friday event features an activity or project to bring students together.

“Generally, we do TGIFs to welcome students into our space and provide a safe environment, so they can interact with each other and meet new friends,” she said.

Muthyala says working at the Women’s Center has given her valuable experience and has helped create lasting memories of UIS.

“I have many memories of UIS,” she said. “One is working with the staff at the Women’s Center. They made me really improve my interpersonal skills. My friends at UIS have also been good to me and they encouraged me a lot.”

Following graduation from UIS, she plans to seek an internship or a full-time job as a data analyst. She’s glad she chose UIS and encourages other international students to attend the university.

“This campus provided me with many leadership skills and also it gave me an opportunity to interact with different kinds of people, so I think this is the best place and it has given me an edge over others,” she said.

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