Christine Fortner '15 is currently living in Sri Racha, Thailand teaching English as a Fulbright Scholar. Christine teachs over 800 students every week in a community that speaks very little English. Christine is constantly thrown into new situations and pushed out of her comfort zone on a daily basis.
Christine said, "I look back and am thankful for what I learned through the Center for Leadership everyday during this experience. Each day I have to set realistic goals for myself and constantly self-reflect on my identity and purpose in my school and in my community. The CFL taught me the importance of recognizing and understanding differences in people. Being the only foreigner in my town, I am often asked questions about American culture and beliefs. Through the CFL I was prepared for conversations about stereotypes, race, and diversities in people and beliefs. The CFL helped me to become more culturally competent and to understand how to ask and answer difficult questions. The CFL also showed me to challenge the process and to always be looking for new opportunities. Through this mind set I have been teaching new content in my classes, starting clubs, and tutoring every evening. I have made relationships with people who do not speak the same language as me and have become comfortable in a place that is completely different from what I know. I am so thankful for the opportunities given to me at Elon, especially through the Center for Leadership, and use the skills I learned there every day while living abroad."
Ashley Fowler '14 is currently working in Washington, DC at the Human Rights Campaign as the program assistant for one of their newest initiatives, HRC Global. HRC Global works to strengthen the global equality movement by raising awareness of discrimination and persecution faced by LGBT people worldwide, support the efforts of LGBT organizations and advocates abroad, advocate for an LGBT-inclusive US foreign policy, and expose US individuals and organizations who export homophobia and transphobia.
This position directly correlates with Ashley’s experience at Elon, particularly her work within the Center for Leadership (CFL). The summer after her first year at Elon, Ashley traveled with the CFL to Vilnius, Lithuania for a summer human rights academy. It was during this summer that Ashley fell in love with Eastern Europe and began to develop an interest in international LGBT rights, which eventually became the subject of her Lumen project.
During her remaining three years at Elon, Ashley served as a student director within the CFL. These positions taught Ashley the value of enabling others to act, while also allowing her to cultivate her own leadership skills. Ashley looks forward to continuing to build on these experiences and competencies in her new position and is incredibly grateful for the opportunities and knowledge that she was afforded at Elon.
Lauren Flood '11 moved across the country in May 2014 to pursue a dream job with Google and to seize the opportunity of a lifetime. Lauren wrote, "Each step of the way I have tried to carry with me Dr. Isabella Cannon legacy: think globally, act locally. In addition to Dr. Cannon's legacy, I carry many gifts afforded to me by the CFL: the gift of culture, as I ventured to a new country for four months, not knowing one word of the native tongue; the gift of collaboration and teaming by assuming various leadership and service positions on campus; the gift of feedback thanks to the incredible mentor/mentee relationships that I was able to build and sustain to this day; the gift of knowledge thanks to the incredible faculty, staff, and peers I learned from and with; and the gift of awareness and passion as people took chances on me and allowed me to take risks, even when it meant failing. I will be forever thankful for the Center for Leadership at Elon University. It brought me experiences of a lifetime, exposed me to some of the greatest leaders and mentors I'll ever have the pleasure of knowing and learning from, and gave me the confidence to pursue my passions. It was at Elon that I learned to take thoughtful risks; ask for forgiveness, not permission; do what you love and love what you do; and give back."