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Nine Students Earn LEADERworks Certificate in Program’s First Year

It has only been a year since the Oskin Leadership Institute at Widener introduced LEADERworks, the university’s leadership certificate program, and already nine students have successfully completed the program.

According to Dr. Arthur Schwartz, executive director of the Oskin Leadership Institute, the LEADERworks certificate program was designed to be completed in two years. In the pilot year of the program, 595 undergraduate students participated in at least one of 158 leadership workshops offered by the institute.

LEADERworks Certificate Recipients"We never anticipated students earning the certificate in one year, but these nine students would not be denied," Schwartz said. "I think that demonstrates our students' strong desire for leadership training and experiences that will help differentiate them in the job market and inspire them to be leaders in their professions and in their communities."

To earn the LEADERworks certificate, students must complete 15 one-hour workshops through the Oskin Leadership Institute on a variety of leadership-related topics including ethical fitness, personal courage, leadership myths and stereotypes, leading groups, decision making, and peer leadership, among others.

Students must then develop their own leadership philosophy that addresses the competencies and challenges of leading oneself, leading others or leading change. Students present and explain their leadership philosophy at a ceremony and receive their LEADERworks Certificate.

Ryan Raiker, a sophomore informatics major from Philadelphia, was one of the nine students who completed the certificate program. Raiker said he enrolled in the program to learn more about leadership to give him an advantage in the job market.

"I think more people should do it," Raiker said of the program. "Everyone wants to be a leader, but doesn't know how. These courses and workshops are a great way to get started."

Schwartz said plans are in the works to expand the program next year including integrating more of the leadership workshops into the curriculum and expanding workshop options.

The following students received their LEADERworks certificate during a ceremony on April 28:

  • Brittany Bicking, a senior nursing major from Marlton, N.J.
  • Samantha Krupa, a sophomore psychology major from Union, N.J.
  • Jacob Lewis, a freshman chemical engineering major from Perkasie, Pa.
  • Samantha Mosko, a freshman accounting major from Marlton, N.J.
  • David Neri, a sophomore civil engineering major from East Stroudsburg, Pa.
  • Ryan Raiker, a sophomore informatics major from Philadelphia, Pa.
  • Marina Santana, a senior psychology major from Holland, Pa.
  • Jessica Santola, a senior nursing major from Laurel Springs, N.J.
  • Vy To, a senior economics/personal financial services major from Chester, Pa.

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 comprises eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, 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 some 6,300 students. Widener is proud to be a tobacco-free university. Visit the university website,