Colman Leadership Program helps Ph.D.s hone their leadership skills

Monday, July 10, 2017

By Sally Kral

On June 16, 27 doctoral students graduated from the Summer 2017 Colman Leadership Program. During this intensive four-day immersion program, the students learned about leadership and group dynamics, acquired practical skills for negotiation and conflict resolution, and developed an appreciation of the value of diversity in all contexts.

In response to why he was motivated to participate in the Colman Leadership Program, Romance Studies Ph.D. candidate Antonio Di Fenza shared that “I was looking to further develop the communication and management skills that will allow me to tune in with a diversity-based team. I was also eager to meet other leaders, learn about their projects, and expand my network.”

Lauren Snyder, Ph.D. candidate in ecology and evolutionary biology said, “As I begin the transition from graduate student to research professional, I am particularly thankful for the Colman Leadership Program’s focus on extending self-awareness to promote effective group interactions and differentiating between roles of authority and leadership.”

Every January and June, the Colman Leadership Program seeks to enroll up to 30 Ph.D. students in this intensive four-day program focused on providing participants with skills and knowledge that will support their development as leaders in graduate school and beyond. 

Through readings, interactive group activities, case studies, discussions, student presentations, and professionally conducted workshop sessions, the Colman Leadership Program introduces students to a range of practical skills, theory pertaining to leadership, and special topics relevant for application in both academic and professional contexts.

“The Colman Leadership Program is helping me to achieve my goals of promoting scientific literacy and empowering students, especially minority scholars, to become the next generation of scientists of our nation,” said Josue Santana, Ph.D. student in biomedical engineering and a recipient of a Cornell Colman Fellowship.

Manisha Munasinghe, Ph.D. student in computational biology, will be taking on the role of Executive Vice President of the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly this fall and hopes to pursue a job in academia in the future. “As I continue on into academia and transition into becoming a faculty member, this program taught me how to maximize my potential for next year, especially in regards to being a better student leader,” she said.

In spring 2012, John and Jane Colman founded the Colman Family Endowed Fund for Leadership within Diversity Programs in Engineering (DPE) to establish the Colman Leadership Program for Ph.D. students in engineering and other related STEM fields. In summer 2015, the Graduate School Office of Inclusion and Student Engagement established a partnership with DPE to launch a June offering of the Colman Leadership Program open to Ph.D. students from across all graduate fields. Beginning in 2017, both the January and June offerings became open to Ph.D. students from across the disciplines. 

View the Flickr album from this event here.

For more information or questions about the Colman Leadership Program, contact:

  • Jami P. Joyner, Director of Diversity Programs in Engineering:
  • Sara Xayarath Hernández, Associate Dean for Inclusion & Student Engagement, Cornell Graduate School: