The LeaderShape Institute is an intensive six-day educational experience is held in a remote environment with no Internet or cell-phone access. Sixty Berkeley participants come from all engineering majors, as well as from diverse ethnic and personal backgrounds. Making such cross-disciplinary connections has a life-changing impact on the students and leads to the possibility of new engineering solutions. Sessions include such exercises as team-building, a ropes course, charting visions for a brighter future and exploring ethical issues. Panel discussions feature business and community leaders. If you’re looking to make a global impact with groundbreaking innovations, this is an excellent place to start.
This week’s podcast we have our two On-Site Coordinators, Tanisha Randhawa & Emmanuel Bonsu, telling us about their experiences as participants and why they think Berkeley Engineers should participate.
The LeaderShape Institute is open to any second, third or fourth-year undergraduate student who is either in the College of Engineering, chemical engineering major or an active member of an engineering student organization is welcome to apply by Wednesday, November 1. If you are interested in applying or need more information visit the webpage.
- Apply! Applications due November 1
- More information available online
- Learn more about LeaderShape
- Ask Tanisha and Emmanuel questions via email
LAURA VOGT: Hi my name is Laura Vogt and I’m the Communications and Events Manager for Engineering Student Services. This week we are talking about one of my favorite programs that Engineering Student Services offers students: The LeaderShape Institute. Offered once a year in January it is a 6-day retreat. I’m excited to introduce our two On-Site coordinators for this year: Tanisha Randhawa and Emmanuel Bonsu. Tanisha why don’t you tell us about yourself.
TANISHA RANDHAWA: Cool. Hi everyone. It’s Tanisha. I’m a fourth year at mechanical engineering major here at Cal and I’m really passionate about solving the world’s water problems.
LAURA: Emmanuel, How about you.
EMMANUEL BONSU: Hello, my name is Emmanuel Bonsu and I am a fourth year mechanical engineering student. And I would say my vision is to create a world where technology advancement is very interesting and easy to solve.
LAURA: Can I have both of you give me a short overview of what it was like when you participated in leadership. Emmanuel let’s start with you.
EMMANUEL: LeaderShape was one of the few things that I really didn’t know when going in what it was going to be a whatsoever. I remember going through the orientation and the OSC (On-Site Coordinator) would tell us not to expect anything. And that’s why it turned out to be. I actually formed very good friends through LeaderShape. And I felt like I learned how to manage my leadership skills more better through the activities that went on. So I actually learned how to cooperate with other people to build a vision for myself.
LAURA: And Tanisha?
TANISHA: Overall, it was definitely a fun week. We did outdoor team building which ended in a massive dodgeball fight. Did personal leadership development activities and got to meet other Cal students who were really passionate about making a difference in the world. There’s a lot of time for bonding with your family cluster which is kind of like your family unit, as well as other students over meals, hikes, ping pong, foosball and even pool.
LAURA: And Tanisha, what did you like best about your experience?
TANISHA: My favorite part was for sure learning about the kind of leader I am and my strengths those were all the things I need to work on. No one is perfect and I really enjoy learning how to utilize everyone’s different styles and potential to achieve a common goal.
LAURA: And Emmanuel?
EMMANUEL: My favorite part was the friends that I made through that program because I didn’t have many engineering friends to take classes within the first place. And I feel like through that I learned many things about engineering students and what they do on campus. And that’s one that I really enjoy. Also, I learned to craft a better vision for myself because I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to use my engineering degree or my engineer experience I was getting at Cal for and I feel like LeaderShape did a good job by making me form that vision for myself.
LAURA: Oh that’s fantastic. And why do you think other students should participate?
EMMANUEL: One thing is it is really fun. If anything it was one of the funnest experiences but I feel most students around here are more about school work and doesn’t really get time to as for the leadership skills, which is one that I like LeaderShape does better. It takes you out of school. And for one thing it is in the woods, so it takes you out of school, helps you build leadership skills and that is one thing that is very integral to any engineering student. So I say people should do LeaderShape because you get to develop more soft skills that you wouldn’t get in classes.
LAURA: Fantastic. Tanisha, do you have anything you want to add to that?
TANISHA: Yeah, I would say, five kind of main reasons. One because it’s totally free. So why would you not take advantage of this awesome opportunity. I mean you’ve got lodging, transportation, food all provided for you’re basically taken care of for a whole week. The second one, is you got to meet a lot of new people and you come away with a lot of great bonds and friendships. You meet people who you wouldn’t typically meet in your classes because they’re outside of your major and even the College of Engineering sometimes. You also get to develop a lot of personal leadership skills. Like I said that’s one of my favorite parts to really understand your strengths and weaknesses and how you can improve upon yourself. And four, to develop your goals and vision. So my vision was really about changing the world and water. And you really get to know more about how you’re going to do this once you graduate and actually put a plan into action. And five, like Emmanuel said, you know have fun. This is a week that’s intense and you learn a lot. But at the same time you get so much opportunity to have fun. And I mean what other time does the College of Engineering pay for you to have this much fun for like a week. I think it’s a great opportunity.
LAURA: So you mention that the entire experience is paid for. What should students plan on bringing with them then?
TANISHA: I would say don’t bring work. Definitely leave your homework behind. It’s the last week of winter break. Please take the week to relax, enjoy. You know get refreshed for the new semester. Don’t bring your laptop. Bring your phone, you’re not going to have cell reception there but if you need it to feel comfortable go ahead and bring it along with you. And then of course bring some idea of a vision, you know some goal that you want to work on, You know after you graduate or while you’re here at Cal. In addition, bring an open mind, enthusiasm, it is going to be a great week. And the more enthusiasm and open mindedness you have about it the better experience you’re going to have. And of course we’ll go over this a little bit later. But logistically you know umbrella, some layers, shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty, all that good stuff.
LAURA: Anything you want to add Emmanuel?
EMMANUEL: I would touch on the open minded aspect of this thing. I feel most people tend to be vulnerable during these programs. And that’s where the like is an outlet for them. So definitely come with an open mind, where you are able to tolerate everyone’s ideas, without being judgmental. And that’s what I think most people should make sure they have the ability before coming to this program.
LAURA: Is there one memorable experience that stands out the most to you? Either one of you.
EMMANUEL: I remember it was the fourth day of the program and it was after a very long time. Long day. And I was also getting to the end of LeaderShape where people were tired and we had a dance off. So that was one of the very memorable moments I got to lead a dance off, it was really interesting. And that to me was at the time I only saw a lot of engineers having fun like that. That’s very memorable for me.
LAURA: Now that sounds like a really fun.
EMMANUEL: It was interesting.
TANISHA: That last night was also really memorable for me. Just like all these engineers coming together and following Just Dance on a screen and dancing together and I mean even though I like don’t dance and I think I’m pretty bad at it. I still participated because you’re with people who you’re comfortable with even though you just met them a few days ago and it’s a really great environment where you don’t have to feel embarrassed or judged ever. You can totally be yourself and be whoever you want to be, and I really enjoyed that.
LAURA: Was there anything else that you want students to know about LeaderShape?
TANISHA: I would say, you know, don’t be afraid to really get out there or do something that’s different. I mean even if leadership isn’t a thing for you right now, it’s definitely something that you can get into. I believe that everyone has leadership potential and has the potential to be a great leader. So definitely take advantage of this. Like I said you know you get to have fun sponsored by the College of Engineering.
EMMANUEL: I would say that students should take time to say hi to other people because that’s one of the few times you see many engineers localized in one place. So definitely take the time, say hi to someone you don’t know, that’s the way to make friends. It is beginning this semester. You don’t have any midterms, you don’t have any homework, that is the time to make friends.
LAURA: Our application for this year is due on November 1st, the day after Halloween. So hopefully lots of people turn in information. We’ve got information online on our Web site. It’s engineering.berkeley.edu/leadershape. And I would be really excited to have just all kinds of students apply. We take 60 students every year and it’s just a fantastic experience. Every time I’ve gone on and worked on it I’ve just had a blast. Thank you so much Tanisha and Emmanuel for coming. I really appreciate you taking the time and being here with us.
TANISHA: Of course. It was a pleasure.
EMMANUEL: Thank you.
LAURA: And if ever any students have more questions can we give them your contact information like maybe an e-mail address if they want to know more?
TANISHA: Yeah for sure.
EMMANUEL: Absolutely. I’ll be happy to answer any question that comes up.
LAURA: On our podcast site, welcomengineer.berkeley.edu, we’ll have links to Tanisha’s and Emmanuel’s email addresses, so that you can ask more questions if you’ve got more questions of them. They are both past participants and now this year they’re coming up as we never talk about it really what the onsite coordinator. They’re the ones that make the program run smoothly the entire six days. So we’re excited to have them there and to help us make the program go better. And thank you everyone for tuning in and we will talk to you again next week.