Friday, January 18, 2013

Leadership lived: Senior biology major represents UIS, mentors students

Jinger Sanders, a senior biology major, never imagined the leadership opportunities she’d be offered at the University of Illinois Springfield.

“Coming in as a freshman, I never thought all of the things I would have accomplished now as a senior looking back,” said Sanders. “The small, close-knit community helps you grow as a leader at UIS.”

For the past three years, Sanders has been volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Illinois. During the school year, she spends 45 minutes each week mentoring a student at Little Flower Elementary School. Sanders and her mentee, Selena, eat lunch, play games, do homework, and talk about life in general.

“I just think this is an excellent opportunity to give back and being around Selena, I learn as much from her as she learns from me,” said Sanders. “It’s just a joy coming in and seeing someone who is excited to spend time with you, who’s eager to learn, and have your company.”

In addition to her volunteer activities, Sanders also serves as the UIS student representative to the University of Illinois Alumni Association. It’s a position she’s held since her sophomore year, representing UIS at events on all three campuses.

“That experience has really shaped me into the individual I am today,” she said.

Sanders recently helped launch the “I Help, U Help” homecoming service project, which is sponsored by the Alumni Association. She hopes it becomes an annual event, as UIS students give back to the community.

“UIS is a perfect place to enhance your leadership skills, even if you came to UIS with no leadership skills; UIS brings the leader out in you,” said Sanders.

The future doctor feels confident that she made the right choice to attend UIS and is looking forward to the future.

“I’m proud to be a soon-to-be graduate of the University of Illinois Springfield,” she said. “I can’t wait to see how the university grows and what great opportunities are coming to this university.”

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