Concordia St. Paul News

May 2, 2017

Ignite Leadership Program Prepares Grads for Success

The Ignite Leadership Development Program ignites students’ leadership potential by fueling their passions. Open to all Concordia undergraduates, the program features comprehensive training, workshops and service activities that challenge students to become stronger and more well-rounded
leaders. Three current participants share their stories.

Renee Cortez (’17)
Communications Studies major

Ignite-ReneeRenee transferred to Concordia in the fall of 2015 with a strong belief in making the most of her college experience. She has been a student senator, Communications Club secretary, Love Your Melon crew captain, copy editor for The Sword newspaper, student tour guide, student daycare aide, member of the Comet’s orientation crew for Welcome Week and International Services tutor.

After graduation, Renee hopes to work for a non-profit organization in public relations or community outreach.

“The Ignite program is fabulous because it teaches life and leadership skills. It’s free, looks great on a résumé, teaches you skills you’ll need for a future career and much more,” says Renee. “At the October camp retreat, with my friends having confidence in me and my trust in them, I was inspired to climb up a pole and jump off while they held ropes tied to a harness I wore. I’ll never forget the adrenaline rush and feeling of accomplishment in myself. It was Ignite that gave it to me.”


Loc Luong (’17)
Communications Studies major

Ignite-LocLoc describes himself as being shy and timid before joining the Ignite Leadership program, and he never thought he could be a leader whom people would look up to or respect. He credits Ignite for giving him the right tools and mentorship to help him grow, including in his involvement with the Concordia Hmong Unity Student Association (CHUSA).

After graduation, Loc plans to pursue a master’s degree in student affairs, envisioning a career in a college setting as an academic, study abroad or student life advisor.

“You don’t want to stay the same person your whole life. The Ignite program developed me into a leader I could never have imagined myself becoming,” says Loc. “It’s hard to put into words what this program has done for me, but it has helped me find my leadership skills and abilities.”


Molly Vukelich (’17)
Biology major

Ignite-MollyMolly earned a degree in oceanography from the Naval Academy, spent six and a half years in the Navy, and was training to become a pilot when her service was completed. She believes leadership can be continually developed—and that the more learning she can do about the factors that go into making an inspiring and effective leader, the better prepared she’ll be in the future. At Concordia, she appreciates the diversity of the student body and thinks Ignite provides a great environment to ask questions and gain new understandings of students’ unique experiences and perspectives.

Molly has many passions, including a strong interest in international relations, and plans to take a year off before attending graduate school.

“Each leadership scenario presents new challenges, and how you react to those challenges will make the difference. The Ignite program familiarizes students with different skill sets that enable them to approach tasks from different angles,” says Molly. “That’s why this program is so unique. It teaches students about different aspects of leadership and how to implement skills in order to lead in different environments.”

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