In the Classroom: Leadership Sessions

Throughout the semester, the Global Health Fellows have joined the International Relations Fellows and Chesapeake Bay Fellows in a series of workshops as part of their leadership curriculum through the Center for Civic and Global Leadership.

On February 5, in keeping with the leadership theme of the year, “Lead Yourself,” we hosted Kevin Denson on campus to speak with the Fellows about their personality types and how it might affect their leadership styles. They completed the HumanMetrics Jung Typology Test (similar to Myers-Briggs) in preparation for the session.

Leadership - Denson

After learning about different personality types and different types of leaders, each cohort of Fellows worked together to compete against the other cohorts to design and construct the tallest possible structure made out of uncooked spaghetti, string, and a marshmallow. The International Relations ’16 cohort might have won this year, but the Global Health Fellows’ strategy was visionary. Just wait until next year, IRFs…

Chesapeake Bay Fellows, Class of 2016

Chesapeake Bay Fellows, Class of 2016

International Relations Fellows, Class of 2016

International Relations Fellows, Class of 2016

Global Health Fellows, Class of 2016

Global Health Fellows, Class of 2016


On February 15, Julius Johnson, Afghanistan Field Training Coordinator for the U.S. State Department, spoke with the Fellows about international development and diplomacy through his work with the State Department. Mr. Johnson shared with the Fellows an amazing variety of experiences he has had around the world, from Japan to Saudi Arabia to Afghanistan.  Dr. Rezelman commented, “He spoke movingly about the difficulties, and the joys, of international development work.  By the end of his talk, and the Q&A and that followed, students were inspired to make the world a more peaceful and just place.”

Leadership - Julius Johnson 3

Elizabeth Lilly ’16 reflected on her time with Mr. Johnson: “I had been looking forward to Dr. Johnson’s talk for a long time, ever since I heard of Muscatatuck. Hearing about his work in Afghanistan through the Time video only added to my curiosity. I really enjoyed what he had to say, especially his anecdotal approach to teaching. I also thought it was fascinating how he described how abstract ideas such as time and space could be so different in foreign cultures. I found myself thinking during his presentation about my potentially traveling to a culture in which I felt uncomfortable (I do have a pretty small ‘comfort zone,’ after all), and how I would react. He definitely gave me a lot to think about!”

Bridget Dickinson ’16 felt that “the one main thing he said that stood out to me was listen, learn, and then lead.”

Leadership - Julius Johnson 2

On March 14, Angela Cyrus (CAPT, USN [ret.]) returned to Norfolk Academy to speak to the Fellows about leadership.  Dr. Cyrus is the president of the Cyrus Group, an organization committed to “developing powerful leaders who have skill-based competence to lead in a more complex, knowledge driven market and self-confidence to authentically lead others to achieve extraordinary results.”  Formerly director of admissions at the United States Naval Academy, Dr. Cyrus remains on the faculty at Annapolis within the Leadership, Law, and Ethics Department and serves on the faculty of the Harvard Summer Institute on College Admissions. Dr. Cyrus challenged and then proved to the “future leaders of the world” to always start with the right question. The group worked through an exercise together where they learned that in order to get the right answers one first has to ask the right questions.

Leadership - Cyrus 1

Aneesh Dhawan ’16: I was extremely impressed with Captain Cyrus’s presentation. After her presentation I have started to view many problems differently. I wonder if we are asking the right questions to solve many of the world’s problems. Her emphasis of breaking down the problem and attacking it in smaller pieces was also very interesting. Breaking down the problem into smaller pieces allows for people to attack the problem at a small scale. These small-scale interventions can add up, and eventually the problems are solved. Overall the presentation was eye opening, and it was very interactive. Capt. Cyrus was able to lead us through an example, which we made up right on the spot. Her ability to lead the example, we had just come up with, showed that she knew what she was talking about.

Stuart Luter ‘16: I really enjoyed Capt. Cyrus’s talk. In the past I had never considered the importance of the question in solving a problem. I found it interesting when she talked about arguments and how often times people are arguing sides to a different question. I enjoyed being engaged in the conversation: expressing our ideas and supporting/opposing each other in order to discover the correct question to ask to solve a problem. Captain Cyrus also made me feel very inspired and excited in the fact that I can make a difference in the future.

Leadership - Cyrus 3

On March 20, the Fellows joined together to investigate the characteristics of morally courageous leaders through discussing Rushworth Kidder’s Moral Courage. Upon reflection on the discussion, Brian Peccie ’16 commented, “Moral Courage by Rushworth Kidder is a book that describes the qualities of a morally courageous person and provides examples that inspire someone to want to become morally courageous. In order for moral courage to be expressed, there must be three factors present: there must be principles within the person, a dangerous opposing factor, and the person must be enthusiastic about what he does. This applies to all the Fellows. If we want to solve a truly challenging problem, we must have the principles of knowing what to do at the right time and the background knowledge about the problem, an opposing factor such as a failure, and the confidence, willingness, and enthusiasm to fight through the negative factors in order to succeed.”

On April 4, the Fellows were charged to take initiative through discussion of the short story “A Message to Garcia” led by NA faculty member Bernie McMahon. Elizabeth Lilly ’16, upon reflection of the conversation, commented, “Immediately upon reading A Message to Garcia, I was struck by how easily it related to my life. Of course, I’m not traversing the jungles of Cuba to deliver an important military message. But I do find myself guilty of this incessant question-asking – and reluctance to do the tasks asked of me (even the very minor ones). “Figure it out” is an important message, and one that must be taught starting at a young age. However, one must also be careful to not blindly follow orders; it is in this way that evil and injustices are perpetrated worldwide. But the main message I got out of Mr. McMahon’s (very engaging!) discussion was the call to become a compelled leader. Only once I reach this status will I be able to make a true difference in the world which, after all, is the ultimate goal.”

Leadership - McMahon - Message to Garcia

One thought on “In the Classroom: Leadership Sessions

  1. David Rezelman

    It was great getting all the Fellows cohorts together to discuss leadership! Which group won the “marshmallow competition”?


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