Inaugural Honors Rising Leaders Cohort completes 1st semester of programming


LEXINGTON, Kentucky (April 29, 2022) — This month, the University of Kentucky’s Lewis Honors College Rising Leaders Program completed its first semester of programming. The first cohort of Rising Leaders was announced in January 2022; the program is partially funded by a generous donor.

This group of 14 people served as the pilot for the program and helped shape the trajectory of the program and map out the themes most important to them.

  • Mara Montoya, computer science student from Westerville, Ohio
  • Promise Kayembe, a human health sciences major from Lexington, Kentucky
  • Brennan Graham, a computer science and economics major from Lexington, Kentucky
  • Princess Magor Agbozo, Public Health Specialist from Mesaieed, Qatar
  • Joshua Plain, a physics and finance major from Hanson, Kentucky
  • Madelyn Steineker, chemistry graduate from Prospect, Kentucky
  • Hannah Hardendorf, a neuroscience major from Lexington, Ky.
  • Savannah Saylor, a psychology and neuroscience major from Richmond, Kentucky
  • Ainsley Wuerth, a biomedical engineering major from Louisville
  • Artin Asadipooya, a neuroscientist from Lexington, Kentucky
  • Sanjana Rahman, psychology student from Frankfort, Kentucky
  • Hallie Rice, a political science major from Louisville, Ky.
  • Abraham Alhamdani, a neuroscientist from Frankfort, Kentucky
  • Caroline Allen, a biology major from Oakwood, Ohio

The Rising Leaders program is open to honors students of all majors and minors and a commitment of five semesters, running from the spring of a student’s sophomore year until its completion. Entrance involves a competitive application process in the fall of the student’s sophomore year. After completing the program, participants will be able to identify their own leadership strengths and preferences, connect their leadership practices to their values, assess their leadership approach, improve their leadership skills, and define strategies for continuous leadership development.

The Rising Leaders program is currently led by Hannah LeGris, personal development counselor at the Lewis Honors College Center, and was originally conceptualized by Laura Bryan, TG Lewis Endowed Scholar in Organizational Behavior and current acting dean of the college. LeGris hopes that upon completion, students will have a better understanding of what leadership requires.

“Through this five-semester program, we will strive to develop self-aware, principled and skilled leaders who can positively impact their communities, the Commonwealth and, ideally, the world,” said Grey. “The structure and duration of the program facilitates continuous reflection, the acquisition of knowledge and learning through individual and collective work.”

This semester, Rising Leaders participated in a monthly cohort gathering, including an etiquette dinner, book club, and self-awareness retreat. They also engaged in online discussion forums, articles, and reflections throughout the semester. Each student was also required to meet with their personal development advisor from Lewis Honors College and choose from a selection of workshops and events to attend.

These five semesters of cohesive programming, leading to graduation, attracted students like Sanjana Rahman, an honors sophomore, who wanted to incorporate these leadership lessons into their careers.

“Rising Leaders interested me because I knew I wanted to build my leadership skills while in college and for my healthcare career. I’m thrilled to be with a cohort of student leaders passionate, motivated and energized by learning,” Rahman said.

In the Rising Leaders program, students examine building leadership and learn strategies to become a better leader. The work they do in the program will be applied to their personal and professional goals, with particular attention to holistic development. Rising Leaders focus on key leadership skills delivered through semester programs, each with a different theme. During her semester, the program focused on understanding and defining leadership and building self-awareness.

Sophomore with honors Joshua Plain especially enjoyed the people involved in the experiment.

“The Rising Leaders program provides us with opportunities to learn from both professional coaches and a diverse, high-achieving cohort. I am honored to explore leadership with such an amazing group of people,” he said. declared.


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