Posted on June 15, 2018
NOAA CESSRST Undergraduate Cesar Hincapie attends Undergraduate Leadership Program at the National Center Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
"I will always remember the mountains of Boulder, Colorado and the amazing opportunity to participate in the Undergraduate Leadership Program at the National Center for Atmospheric Research that was held from June 3‐9, 2018. Twenty‐five students from different parts of the country and numerous disciplines got together to learn what leadership is and what it takes to be a successful leader. First, I must say that before I got to this workshop my definition of leadership was narrow even though I was not a stranger to leadership roles.
It all started with getting to know the group of students, who by the way, were brilliant in every sense of the word. This perhaps was an analog for what was to come as the leadership process was unveiled and each of these students shared their leadership experience. One of the things that was touched upon in the workshop is that as a leader, you must get to know the people around you to truly understand and develop stronger relationships. It was interesting to know that we all had different views on what leadership was and that at the end of the workshop we had a more unified definition.
During the 5‐day workshop, we covered a variety of topics, including personal development. Another topic was getting to know the different types of personalities. The main purpose of this activity was to highlight the importance of understanding the people that you work with to create better relationship and a more productive environment. There were also activities on how to become an effective communicator and how to become a better listener, which I found very useful because I consider myself to be a bad listener. The workshop also emphasized team work and why it matters to work in groups. This activity aligns with the fact that science is becoming more interdisciplinary and requires a great deal of collaboration. The importance of diversity in culture, race, and disciplines is a key component of a well balance and productive organization. Every student in the workshop had different ideas, motivations, and goals, which were heavily influenced by their cultural differences which ultimately made the program much more successful.
The workshop was also a great platform for professional networking since every day for lunch we had the opportunity to sit down with scientists from various fields who shared their paths to success. They were very open and shared the obstacles they overcame. Many of them said that it is okay not to know our areas of specialization. In fact, many of them found their passion later in life, which I found to be somewhat of a relief since I find myself in a dilemma where I am interested in too many things and no singular passion yet.
Over all this workshop was an invaluable experience full of wonderful people that taught me that we can be leaders in many ways even if we don’t think we are. I must confess that during this workshop, I learned a lot about myself. I feel a lot more in tune with what motivates me and where I want to go. I learned to listen intuitively and learned to appreciate diversity as a uniting factor for progress. I am forever thankful to the National Center for Atmospheric Research for allowing me to be part of such a great opportunity."
- Cesar Hincapie
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