Hampton University sophomore Lauren Pryor of Gloucester is enjoying her participation in the 2013 Emerging Leaders Program sponsored by The Gloucester Institute.
Lauren said the program is helping her and other participants enhance their critical thinking, writing, public speaking, networking and financial literacy skills. It also stresses the value and importance of community service.
"They’re important skills for a college student about to be in the real world," said Lauren. "It’s a magnificent program. We learn from each other’s different levels of professionalism and we bond like a family."
Since its founding nearly a decade ago, the Emerging Leaders Program has offered students from colleges and universities across Virginia a chance to learn from leaders in the political, business, and media arenas, including such notables as Gov. Bob McDonnell, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Newport News), Verizon Virginia president Robert Woltz and former Richmond Times-Dispatch executive editor Glenn Proctor.
This is the first time a local student has been accepted into the Emerging Leaders Program, and Lauren said the process was competitive. Each applicant had to submit an online application, a letter of recommendation, a college transcript and an essay. Lauren said her essay was about her aspirations. A psychology major, she said she plans to earn her master’s degree at a graduate school for neurosciences, where she intends to study memory, cognitive processing and dementia.
The institute’s director of programs, C.J. Sailor, said that Lauren’s mentor, Sareeta Spriggs of Mathews, recommended Lauren for the program. When Sailor and Gloucester Institute’s founder Kay Coles James talked with Lauren, said Sailor, "we saw she was the type of student that fit into the next generation of emerging leaders."
Emerging Leaders participants are required to have a 3.0 or higher grade point average, be involved in campus organizations, and display initiative. Sailor said that Lauren displayed initiative by participating in and winning a radio competition for a $25,000 nationwide college scholarship. Then she put her initiative to work at the institute by campaigning to be the group’s class president when the program began this summer.