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The newly established Honors Leadership Academy (HLA) welcomed its inaugural cohort of Group photo of the fall 2023 Honors Leadership Academy participantsGroup photo of the fall 2023 Honors Leadership Academy participantstwelve University of Alabama at Birmingham Honors College students this fall.  With the Leadership Link-up Luncheon, students began an important experiential learning feature of the program.

The celebratory luncheon recognized students for earning a leadership internship placement for the fall semester through their acceptance in the Honors Leadership Academy. Students had the opportunity to meet and “link” with their leadership mentors who will facilitate their leadership internship.

“The Honors Leadership Academy provides a unique experience that helps shape the lives of some of our best and brightest at UAB,” said Undré V. Phillips, Ph.D., program manager II for Honors Student Leadership and Engagement in the Honors College. “The Leadership Link-Up Luncheon is important because it transforms the academic program into a community empowered movement. As a ‘linked leadership family,’ we seek to develop the next generation of leaders who will influence the world through the values, virtues, and vision they develop along their leadership journey. Words have power. With this being the first cohort, the word "link" was intentionally chosen to symbolize the mutual benefit of our partners who not only teach our students but are strengthening their mentoring skills as leaders.”

As a first of its kind in Honors College history, the Honors Leadership Certificate was established to provide students with an opportunity to earn an academic credential that exhibits competence in ethical leadership skills that are transferable to future careers. The innovative curriculum provides an experience that is tailored to each student and develops their specific leadership strengths. Through experiential learning and dialogue among leadership mentors in the community, the certificate will provide access to life-long relationships as well as foundational skills that give students an edge in graduate school and job applications after earning their degree. Upon successful completion of the required coursework, students will graduate with an undergraduate certificate in leadership.

Group photo of the fall 2023 Honors Leadership Academy mentorsGroup photo of the fall 2023 Honors Leadership Academy mentors “I am excited about our Honors Leadership Academy and the opportunities it provides to our students,” said Shannon L. Blanton, dean of the UAB Honors College. “Our programming in the Honors College – from seminars and workshops to student events and mentoring –constantly highlights the importance of leadership and offers effective ways to become a leader. However, the Honors Leadership Academy will allow students to have an immersive experience with hands-on learning and the opportunity to earn an academic credential. Students will learn through their courses with faculty and in the community with leaders from local companies, government entities, and non-profit organizations. Students in the Honors Leadership Academy will be able to use the insights and experience they gain about leadership to make a difference in their lives and the lives of others.”
The Honors Leadership Academy inaugural cohort of students were matched with the following leadership mentors and companies during the fall 2023 semester:

Justin Bain (Accounting) and Makenzi Sedlacek (Information Systems) – NUCOR
Mentor: Katie Roberts, Human Resources Supervisor


Daniel Contreras (Immunology) – HICA (Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama)
Mentor: Carlos Javier Torres, M.S., Director of Programs and Community Partnerships

Oliver Hatley (Marketing) – Jones Valley Teaching Farm
Mentor: T. Marie King, Director of Youth Pathways

Fraser Higbe (Political Science) – Sylvia Swayne for House District 55
Mentor: Sylvia Swayne, Candidate for Alabama House of Representatives District 55

Naisha Kohli (Cancer Biology) – Southern Research
Mentor: Liz Johnson, PhD, STEM Student Experiences Lead

Anne Liu (Biomedical Sciences) – Impact Alabama
Mentor: Caroline Janeway, Alabama State Director

Faiza Mawani (Political Science) – STRIVE
Mentor: Archie Stewart, Program Director

Jhana Mosley (English) – Breakthrough Birmingham
Mentor: Mariohn Michel, Executive Director

Camryn Reese (Biomedical Sciences) and Cayla Wells (Biomedical Sciences) – FORGE Breast Cancer Survivor Center
Mentor: Meg Lovett, Community Outreach Coordinator

Elizabeth Salerno (Biology) – Greater Birmingham Humane Society
Mentor: Allison Black Cornelius, Chief Executive Director

To inquire about the Honors Leadership Academy and/or the Honors Leadership Certificate, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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