Centre News

Class of 2017 Brown Fellows completes leadership training at Centre


June 27, 2013 By Mariel Smith        
Centre College The class of 2017 Brown Fellows from Centre College and
University of Louisville with their faculty mentors and
LeaderShape facilitators outside the Campus Center.

Centre College Beau Weston is the faculty mentor for Centre's 2017 Brown Fellows.
"I'll have a continuing relationship with these students and groups
as they progress through their education," he says. "It's great to
have a chance to work with them and get to know them now."

First-year students do not arrive on campus for several months, but already the class of 2017 Brown Fellows are here to participate in LeaderShape, a six-day workshop designed to ignite their inner passions and inspire them to change the world for the better.

Centre launched the Brown Fellows Program in 2009 in partnership with the James Graham Brown Foundation and is the only private college in Kentucky selected to host one of the nation's most prestigious fellowship programs.

The Brown Fellows Program builds leadership skills in outstanding students through independent study, community service and experiential learning. Brown Fellows receive "full-ride-plus" scholarships and engage in four summer enrichment experiences beginning the summer before their first year at Centre.

One such enrichment experience is participation in the LeaderShape Institute, a six-day workshop that helps young people clarify their passions and goals, giving them the leadership training they need to make their dreams a reality. Brown Fellows from University of Louisville and Centre College are participating in LeaderShape.

LeaderShape's curriculum, which focuses on defining and achieving goals, is particularly helpful to Brown Fellows, whose fellowship requires projects and plans that span their entire collegiate career and beyond.

The workshop is also a perfect opportunity for Brown Fellows from Centre and the University of Louisville to meet and exchange ideas.

"The Brown Fellows Program is really one program split between two campuses," says Beau Weston, Van Winkle Professor of Sociology and faculty mentor for Centre's 2017 Brown Fellows. "We deliberately mix the Centre College and University of Louisville students so they can get to know one another. After spending the week with LeaderShape at Centre, the Fellows will travel to Louisville and complete service projects while staying on the University of Louisville campus."

Aside from meeting other Brown Fellows in Kentucky, LeaderShape provides an unparalleled opportunity for students to examine their core values and aspirations.

"We've spent two full days on what each student's personal vision is and how they can take concrete steps to achieve it," says Weston.

For Weston, LeaderShape is the perfect complement to the Brown Fellows Program values of integrity, service and leadership.

"One of the core values of LeaderShape is 'a healthy disregard for the impossible,'" he says. "This idea forces students to think bigger, on a larger scale, as they will need to as a Brown Fellow."

As a Centre professor, Weston also appreciates the chance to get to know Brown Fellows before they arrive as first-year students in the fall.

"I'll have a continuing relationship with these students and groups as they progress through their education," he notes. "It's great to have a chance to work with them and get to know them now."

Joy Hart, the faculty mentor for University of Louisville students, appreciates the skill set that LeaderShape fosters.

"Many of these students are outstanding academically and have already demonstrated leadership. Now that they are moving to a new context—college life—the timing of LeaderShape couldn't be more perfect. LeaderShape sets up a framework and a way of thinking about leadership that will be useful not only in the university or college setting but also for the rest of these students' lives."

Hart also commended the LeaderShape program for helping solidify visions and goals that Brown Fellows may not have been able to articulate previously. She saw this especially during the "Star Power" activity, which showcased inequality, disenfranchisement and privileges in modern society.

"The discussions following 'Star Power' were very powerful," Hart says. "For many students, the activity and resulting discussion recommitted and re-emphasized for them why these societal issues are worth changing."

Tess Bettler, a future University of Louisville student and Class of 2017 Brown Fellow, feels a sense of empowerment thanks to the LeaderShape training sessions.

"LeaderShape has shown me that even the most ambitious goals can be realized through baby steps," she explains. "I know this will be helpful as I begin to consider my life and goals after my undergraduate education."

Alice Darling, also a future University of Louisville student, is capitalizing on the opportunity to expand her horizons.

"I am excited to be forming lifelong friendships with the other Brown Fellows," she says. "LeaderShape is also helping me become much more self-aware, which will help me have a fulfilling and successful life helping others."

Harrison Kirby, who will be attending Centre in the fall, benefitted from the inspirational nature of LeaderShape.

"I enjoyed writing a newspaper article about my vision coming true in the year 2075," he says. "I got to think about what benefits would occur if each person in the world had access to health services."

While the creative exercise inspired him to continue working toward his goal of improving healthcare, it also gave him something vital that many college students lack: focus.

"I feel like I have a more concrete direction to shape my education as well as my summer enrichment experiences," he says.

Daniel Lee, also a member of the Centre Class of 2017, sees the long-term benefits of LeaderShape.

"I believe many of the leadership skills I've used here will be very applicable both inside and outside of class," he explains. "In the future, I believe that the lesson of living with integrity will shape me into a person and leader of character."

For more information on the Brown Fellows Program, click here.


Centre College Class of 2017 Brown Fellows
Grace Anastasio — Champaign, Ill.
Chadwick (Chad) Carter — Columbus, Ohio
Omolola (Lola) Fakunle — Louisville, Ky.
Sarah Fall — Hanover, N.H.
Harrison Kirby — Louisville, Ky.
Jun Hee (Daniel) Lee — Shunyi, China
Mason Paas — Louisville, Ky.
Imogene Robinson — Newburyport, Mass.
Bryce Rowland — Louisville, Ky.
Charlotte Sackett — Alexandria, Va.






Centre College, founded in 1819, is a nationally ranked liberal arts college in Danville, Ky. Centre hosted its second Vice Presidential Debate on 10.11.12, and remains the smallest college in the smallest town ever to host a general election debate. For more, click here.


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