Oskin Leaders Program

The vision for the Oskin Leaders program is grounded in the idea that leadership can be defined in three words: conviction in action. The program aims to inspire cohorts of Widener undergraduates to create significant, positive change….a change fueled by each student’s passion, commitment and resilience.

Each year, the Oskin Leadership Institute will:

  • Identify a group of 10-15 freshman students who have the passion and commitment to bring about positive change – whether on campus, in Chester, nationally or worldwide.
  • Provide support to each student as they research, design and launch their leadership project.
  • Inspire each Oskin Leader to find creative and strategic ways to sustain their project.

What are the Benefits of Becoming an Oskin Leader?

  • One-on-one coaching.
  • Study-abroad opportunities.
  • Discover your leadership strengths.
  • Funding for your leadership project.
  • Learn from challenges, setbacks, and successes.

What is the Selection Process?

Each spring faculty and staff will be invited to nominate one or more freshman students whom they believe have the potential to be an Oskin Leader. Last year over 75 freshman students were nominated.

What are the Selection Criteria?

    • Leadership potential – loves challenges, sees the big picture.
    • Passion and energy – a desire to make a ‘dent in the universe’
    • The spirit of a trailblazer – a willingness to be part of something new and exciting 2013 Oskin Leaders.

2013 Oskin Leaders

In alphabetical order, the following students were selected in Spring 2013, to serve as Oskin Leaders:

  • Alison Alkins
  • Eric Bihlear
  • Cameron Connors
  • Nichole Dantoni
  • Dane DiPaoloL
  • Leo Harmon
  • Samantha Krupa
  • Sierra Offutt
  • Tori Remondelli
  • Joe Santone
  • Bridgette Saverine
  • Nikki Sutliff

2012 Oskin Leaders 

Below are the exciting projects being developed by Oskin Leaders selected in 2012:

Emily Batemon Emily Batemon
"My dream is to create a program at Widener in which young people can see the nation and get their questions answered and their prejudgments changed about people and places.  Crossing Cultures, my leadership project, is a student exchange program that is embedded in research and meeting new people around the country.  My belief is that people think they must travel overseas in order to see a different culture, when in reality, there are different cultures just outside our back doors.  We just have to be willing to go outside our comfort zones.  I have a dream that young people can walk through life with open eyes about their world and the people in it."
Deshawn Gray Deshawn Gray
“My project is to create a video game that awards virtue over violence. I am to design an exciting game where love and forgivingness give the player the greater advantage. This project is inspired by my Christian faith. My vision is that anyone who plays the game, Christian or non-Christian, would experience 'good fruits.'"
Jared Hager Jared Hager
“By establishing a Boys and Girls club in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, I hope to change the negative image of Phillipsburg. I hope to give less privileged children the opportunity to get a better education and improve themselves, not only athletically but more importantly, academically.”
Autumn Heisler Autumn Heisler
"I have always found writing to be a freeing activity, one in which I could always be myself. That is why I want to bring creative writing to the Y in Chester. My goal is to bring this expressive activity to both high school students and adults. I have found, in my own experiences, that writing with a group and sharing my work has opened me up to both new people and new ideas. It has helped me find my footing in writing. I want every person involved in my writing program to come out as confident individuals, both in writing and in other aspects of their daily lives. My ultimate hope with this project is to publish the pieces created in a small lit journal of my own creation. I want participants to feel proud of themselves and their work."
Shaunessy Hanrahan Shaunessy Hanrahan
“I suppose you would call me visionary. My life has been blessed with opportunities that range from heading up a jewelry business at 14, to fundraising for adoption at 15, to starting a summer art camp at 17. I have always had many interests. My Oskin project deals with affirmation of life. I would like to promote the importance of personhood from the earliest age, but just as important, to support parents and families who are facing challenges that come along with unexpected pregnancies. I am still exploring options on how specifically to turn these dreams into realities. At this time I am considering community programs that celebrate family as well as campaigns for life on college campuses. I am passionate about what I think of as “sustained advocacy” - valuing little lives on a daily basis.”
Dan Hartney Dan Hartney
“I aim to change the world. In the next fifty years the population will increase globally and the urban environment will become home to millions more inhabitants. My work at the Oskin Institute involves building the foundations of a company that will apply alternative agricultural methods such as hydroponics and aquaponics in both our largest global cities, as well as third world countries which currently lack the proper land and water sources for agriculture. Through these new growing practices, people will enjoy safe and nutritious food grown on and within their city’s own buildings. Ultimately, we will be able to create a commercially viable method to provide a ratio of each crop to those who are in need, and combat future hunger."
Maggie Karmeris Margaret Karmeris
I have seen firsthand the benefits of physical therapy to those in need. During my volunteer experiences, I’ve witnessed inner growth as well as physical growth in many patients.  Physical therapy can do so much to improve a person’s emotional state, which I believe can be as important, if not more important, than rehabilitation of an injury or treatment for a long term condition.  It pains me to know there are people in the world suffering because they do not have access to therapy services.  My ultimate goal is not only to improve the lives of those in need through establishing a physical therapy clinic in an underserved area, but ultimately to raise awareness of this often overlooked field of medicine.”
Viraga Perera Viraga Perera
“I am developing a Spirituality Education elective here at Widener to bring the realm of spirituality back into the sphere of post-secondary education. To me, this attempt is anchored by the vision that this course elective would eventually appeal to, at the very least, one college student whose exposure to this program would define his or her eternity.”
Mary Rohweder Mary Rohweder
“I am passionate about empowering women by addressing women's rights on a global scale. I envision a future of women fully empowered above and beyond the social, cultural, political, and legal constraints presently imposed upon them. In this future, all women will experience the standards of human rights; issues such as sex trafficking, forced prostitution and gender-based violence will be eradicated. All women will have equal opportunities and resources to pursue the education level of her choice. All women will have the ability to vote and participate politically without limitation or intimidation in both legal and social realms. All women will have access to healthcare, especially for maternal care purposes. All women will have equal opportunity and ability to contribute to the economy. All women will be treated and paid equally in the workplace. All women can pursue any career, ambition, or dream. All women will live free of gender-based oppression and prejudice. My lifelong mission is to share this vision with the world and to unite people in the active pursuit of transforming this vision into a reality for all women.”
Janelle Rouse Janelle Rouse
"Janelle Rouse – As a student passionate about character education, my goal is to bring a character education focused curriculum to the Chester Upland School District with goal of helping both students and faculty focus on the values of good character both in and out of the classrooms. With this focus in the classrooms I hope to gain the assistance of fellow colleagues in an effort to have them mentor students in Chester and to work with instructors to develop character for young people."
Kevin Shaddock Kevin Shaddock
"When deciding how I wanted to make a difference through the Oskin Leadership Program I knew I wanted to create opportunities for children. Combining my passion to provide the best life for children and my passion for the game of lacrosse I decided to start a Lacrosse Program in the Chester community. Not only would I like to offer a new sport to the youth of Chester but I also have the goal to bring diversity to the game of lacrosse. A crucial aspect of my vision is to create a partnership between the Widener lacrosse teams and the Chester lacrosse program. The ultimate vision that my friends and I have is to create the first Chester youth lacrosse team that steps toe-to-toe with the lacrosse powerhouses in Delaware County."
Andrea Stickley Andrea Stickley
"I'm working on raising awareness around Widener University about how we can become more sustainable for the environment and be eco-friendly. My main focus is on trying to get solar panels installed on different buildings around campus so that we cut down on our electric bill and stop using fossil fuels that harm the planet. Being a part of the Oskin Leadership program and working on this project has shown me that it takes a lot of determination and drive to accomplish what you want in life, but if you persevere, a lot of good can happen."
Sumo Yarkpawolo Sumo Yarkpawolo
"My Oskin Project and dream is to decrease the unemployment rate in Liberia by providing jobs through tourism. There are many beautiful and historic sites that the country has to offer, from the surfing beaches to the historical providence island."
Sarah Zappulla Sarah Zappulla
My mission is to increase awareness on campus of how important it is for all of us to be environmentally friendly.  We have to change our habits to reduce our impact on the environment. We must make a change in our habits to be more sustainable.”