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Sixteen Undergraduate Students Chosen for Select Leadership Program

Widener University has chosen 16 undergraduate students to participate in the highly selective Oskin Leaders Program. Students in the program receive leadership training and one-on-one coaching that guides them through identifying and developing a project that has the potential to change the world. The program is administered by the Oskin Leadership Institute at Widener.

To be selected for the program, students need to demonstrate leadership potential, energy and passion, a commitment to learning and growing, the spirit of a trailblazer, and a commitment to the concept of a team. More than 60 freshmen were nominated for the program by Widener faculty and staff and 54 applied. The students selected for the program include:

  • Emily Batemon, a psychology major from Lumberton, N.J.
  • Troy Czapor, an elementary and special education major from Richboro, Pa.
  • Deshawn Gray, a biomedical engineering major from Maplewood, N.J.
  • Jon Greene, a mechanical engineering major from Annapolis, Md.
  • Jared Hager, an international business major from Bloomsbury, N.J.
  • Dan Hartney, a management major from Scotia, N.Y.
  • Shaunessy Hanrahan, a nursing major from Mullica Hill, N.J.
  • Autumn Heisler, a creative writing major from Allentown, Pa.
  • Margaret Karmeris, a biology major from Wilmington, Del.
  • Viraga Perera, an electrical engineering major from Chester, Pa.
  • Mary Rohweder, a political science major from Shillington, Pa.
  • Kevin Shaddock, a psychology/pre-physical therapy major from Malvern, Pa.
  • Andrea Stickley, a political science major from Norristown, Pa.
  • Veronica Vasquez, a psychology major from Erdenheim, Pa.
  • Sumo Yarkpawolo, a management major from Philadelphia, Pa.
  • Sarah Zappulla, an international business major from Manasquan, N.J.

The students, now sophomores, have identified their leadership projects which they will begin to develop this year. Some of the projects include:

  • Ending hunger through vertical farming
  • Raising awareness of women's issue in Africa and Asia
  • Providing resources to the homeless in Chester
  • Building a maternity home in West Philadelphia

"This program offers students the opportunity to be fueled by their passion while stepping out of their comfort zones where they can really develop the character, courage and competencies to be effective leaders," said Dr. Arthur Schwartz, executive director of the Oskin Leadership Institute.

Each year, the Oskin Leadership Institute asks Widener faculty and staff to nominate freshmen students who they think fit the criteria for the program. The institute then invites the nominated students to an information session where they learn more about the Oskin Leaders Program. Interested students then apply to the program, and program participants are selected after an interview with the institute staff and participating Widener deans, faculty and staff.

The mission of the Oskin Leadership Institute is to perpetuate the university's long and noble tradition of inspiring students to be strategic leaders and responsible citizens who possess the character, courage and competencies to affect positive change throughout the world.

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development, and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener is comprised of eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences and professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate's, baccalaureate, master's, and doctoral degrees. The university's campuses in Chester, Exton, and Harrisburg, Pa., and Wilmington, Del., serve approximately 6,500 students. Visit the university's website,, for more information.