Lauren Edelman helps students develop leadership skills

Becoming a mentor: Lauren Edelman is an associate lecturer of leadership and associate director of the Leadership Institute. She mentored students for the Leadership Challenge Event for 2019.

Lauren Edelman is an associate lecturer of leadership and the associate director of the Leadership Institute at Washburn. As a Washburn alumna, she is witnessing the change at the Leadership Institute and making effort to change with it.

“Leadership is accessible to everybody, and that’s really what we try to talk about in our classes, understanding that you have power and ability that you can make change if you want to,” said Edelman.

Edelman has been teaching LE100 each semester for five years in both fall and spring semesters. It’s an introductory leadership course to explore the concept of leadership. Occasionally, she teaches LE400, the leadership internship course. She has also taught a special topic class for students who are summer orientation counselors.

Brooke Manny, a senior history major, took her first leadership course LE100 with Edelman. Edelman is also her advisor for her internship through the Leadership Institute.

“Lauren has always been dedicated to students, especially me, looking at different drafts of papers, and really caring about my education but also my experience here at Washburn,” said Manny.

Teaching is part of Edelman’s job. As associate director of the Leadership Institute, she works with students who pursue a leadership studies minor or a certificate and advises them through that process.

Edelman is currently working on the Leadership Challenge Event for 2019, which is a two-day leadership event featuring a half-day leadership conference followed by a one-day leadership simulation competition that will take place Feb. 28 and March 1.

“It’s a very unique way for high school students and college students across the country to compete and show off their leadership skills,” said Edelman. “We are a student-led program, which means the professional staff, we support students, we mentor students. We certainly provide guide, but they do a lot of the work.”

Edelman helped with the creation with the storyline of the simulation and figured out how to challenge students and how to judge and evaluate those students.

Edelman is actually a Washburn alum. When she was a senior, she got to work on the first Leadership Challenge Event in 2011.

“When I got to come back here, it was really cool to see how the institute had grown and evolved since I was a student. It’s so much bigger and we are able to do so much,” said Edelman. “In terms of the co-curricular programming that we offer, we are able to offer more sessions of the classes to revamp the curriculum to make it something that students are interested in and to teach students the skills that are really important to know when they get out to the work force.”

Edelman’s involvement in the Leadership Institute as a student helped her find this path. Now she focuses on teaching and studying leadership all the time at Washburn.

“I had a really awesome student experience here at Washburn,” said Edelman. “It’s very special to get to come back and contribute and give back to the place that helped me develop so much as a person and has really changed my life.”