Thursday, March 08, 2018

Leadership lived: UIS senior resident assistant helps bring her community together

Ciara Koepke says the University of Illinois Springfield has given her the opportunity to become a leader. Koepke is now a senior resident assistant at Lincoln Residence Hall where she mentors other resident assistants, plans events and oversees front desk operations.

Koepke, a junior history major, is a member of the Leadership for Life Service Program where she helps to recruit students to the volunteer-focused first year living-learning community. She is also the vice president of the History Club on campus.

“UIS, since it is small, just gives you that opportunity to really try it out and have multiple different opportunities to become the leader you’ve always wanted to be,” said Koepke.

As a senior resident assistant, Koepke is also responsible for hosting community council meetings. The council is made up of students who live in Lincoln Residence Hall who want to make their community a better place by getting involved.

“I became a resident assistant because I wanted to be directly involved with helping people get really used to campus,” she said. “When I came to UIS, I was very bad at communicating, I didn’t know how to build a community and so Residence Life gave me the opportunity to really work on those leadership skills.”

Following graduation from UIS, Koepke plans to become a high school history teacher.

“I want to do that for a few years before getting my master’s and going and getting my doctorate eventually, so I can become a professor of history,” she said.

Koepke feels confident that the skills she’s learned as a resident assistant will help her become a better teacher when it comes to dealing with challenging situations in the classroom.

“UIS taught me that leadership is all up to you,” she said. “You have all of the skills in you, you just have to take the initiative to become the leader.”

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