Leadership mentors motivate student toward service career

With aspirations to join the Peace Corps next year, Adam Santiago ’16 has developed into a top-notch leader at Dominican, thanks to some outstanding mentors such professors Denise Lucy and Henry Shreibman and LeaderShape director Alice Cochran.

“I learn every day from them,” says Adam, a senior psychology major with a minor in biological sciences. “Dr. Denise Lucy told me leadership is not a position but rather, a process … Being a leader means trying to go out and do something new. Trying to fulfill a vision. Create a vision, motivate people.”

That is what Adam was doing earlier this month as the Host Mentor Coordinator for Dominican’s Torch  Program. Under its director Dr. Shreibman, the bridge program prepares students for college life.

Adam, who was one of the original students entered in the program four years ago, is one of 20 veteran hosts who do everything from counsel Torch students to cook meals for them. He believes all of them possess leadership skills.

“All we are doing is cultivating these skills,” Adam says. “We are providing an environment for them to being able to grow. We strive to foster an environment where they share a sense of values and commitments. The passions and visions they want all similarly for themselves. Creating an environment that stimulates their intellectual, personal, interpersonal, and emotional growth.”

Adam, who is originally from Long Island, N.Y., arrived at Dominican as a psychology major. During his freshmen year, Alice Cochran, director of Dominican’s LeaderShape program, realized Adam’s potential to be a leader and encouraged him to enroll for a minor in Leadership Studies.

“She has had such a major impact on my life,” says Adam, who graduated from the program and, in June 2015, served as on-site coordinator for Cochran at the annual LeaderShape Institute on the Dominican campus.

Adam also targeted biological sciences as a minor. Last April he attended the National Conference for Undergraduate Research (NCUR) at Eastern Washington University to co-present with Stacy Ditta “Molecular Analysis and Thermal Treatment of several Phytophthora Species Causing Diseases of Ornamental Plants in California.” The paper is about to be published in a national undergraduate research journal at the University of North Carolina this fall.

Also, during the spring semester Adam met with Dr. Lucy, founder and executive director of Dominican’s Institute for Leadership Studies in the Barowsky School of Business. Dr. Lucy helped Adam define leadership and apply his passion toward the future.

Adam has connected with a Peace Corps recruiter. He is prepared to commit two or more years to the Peace Corps in an underdeveloped country, concentrating on health and wellness with a goal to work with at-risk youth.

After that, Adam plans to attend graduate school, perhaps in the United Kingdom, to pursue a master’s degree in clinical neuroscience.


August 24, 2015