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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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June 16, 2024

Maroon and White Leadership Program fellows gain experience, advice from faculty members

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Photo by Graphic by Ben Schoenekase
Maroon and White Leadership

This week, an A&M leadership program will take in its next cohort of Aggies beginning their multi-semester journey through the program.
The Maroon and White Leadership Program, founded in 2014, provides students with a personalized leadership program designed to bring together and promote an Aggie’s individual leadership experiences. Fellows are assigned a faculty member as a personal coach to guide them while they receive education in leadership, participate in leadership trainings and practice the skills they learn.
Tearney Woodruff, program coordinator, has been involved since the program’s inception. She believes the program is different than an organization because it supplements what students are already doing on campus.
“We found that most students don’t really grow in college, they stay stagnant. They’re awesome leaders when they come to A&M, and they’re awesome leaders when they leave, but there’s not a lot of growth that occurs. So what research tells us is that when you’re paired with some sort of mentor, and you reflect, that’s actually what causes development,” Woodruff said. “The type of leaders they become are amazing. It’s amazing to see them have this lifelong commitment to learning and have a much more purposeful practice of leadership.”
Coryne Levine, management senior on the program’s advisory board, said she joined the program her freshman year to get the leadership help she needed to further her future career.
“It ended up being so much more than just a bullet point on my resume. I think what you learn through this program is very personalized to say the least,” Levine said. “You learn your own idea of what leadership is. It’s not just some title. It’s about how you can be a leader in every day of your life, how you can lead others, and how you can lead yourself.”
Coaches within the program get to know their assigned fellow well, and are able to see areas of leadership students can improve that they may not be able to see themselves. Jaclyn Upshaw-Brown is an adviser in the English Department and a second-year coach for the program.
“I think a lot of times you can get through college without really ever being asked to reflect on what you’re learning, and how you’re growing from experiences,” Upshaw-Brown said. “And so a lot of the Maroon and White Program is just encouraging students to start tying all of those experiences together and understanding who those experiences are turning them into as a leader.”
Megan Nicholson also serves as a member on the advisory board, and said she has gained self awareness from her experiences in the program.
 “You do not have to be in a leadership position to be in our program. You just have to have the desire to become a better leader,” Nicholson said. “You figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are. Before I did Maroon and White, I was in a leadership position, but I wasn’t intentional about it all, or about getting better.”
Woodruff said he believes college to be an important opportunity for students to have necessary leadership experiences while in a safer environment.
“Leaders are at the crux of everything important and exciting that’s going on in this world,” Woodruff said. “This is not another student organization. This is a place that can take you from where you are, to where you want to be. It just makes you better for the organizations you’re already involved in.”

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