Diné College students attend national conference in Florida on student leadership

Miss Diné College Mariah Lee of Many Farms, Arizona, was one of the dozen Diné College students that attended the leadership conference. (Photo by Diné College)

Miss Diné College Mariah Lee of Many Farms, Arizona, was one of the dozen Diné College students that attended the leadership conference. (Photo by Diné College)

TSAILE, Ariz. —The Diné College peer mentors and student interns who attended a student leadership conference in Florida noted it was the first time some met so many students from other colleges and universities across the world.

The recent National Conference on Student Leadership (NCSL) was held in in Orlando, Florida and students called the conference amazing and great.

The conference gears its sessions around students gaining a better understanding of their skills and potential, allowing them to discover ways to strengthen campus groups and organizations, and explore using their leadership skills to make a greater impact on their campus communities and beyond.

Diné College administrators beamed about the learning opportunity — not only for the students, but for the life-long educational and professional bonds that were formed. The Diné College contingent participated last week.

“A group of Diné College’s peer mentors and student interns attended the 2018 (National Conference on Student Leadership),” said Reeverson Descheny, the director of career advancement at Diné College. “Our students were impressed with the 30-plus highly interactive sessions designed to stimulate innovation and develop knowledge and skills to be an engaging leader.

One of the dozen or so Diné College students that attended was the reigning Miss Diné College, Mariah Lee, of Many Farms, Arizona.

“I am happy and honored to have represented not only the college, but the entire Navajo Nation. I got so many compliments from the people there,” Lee said. “They were interested and asked various questions about the Navajo culture and I did my best to give them explanations. I even taught some of them how to say hello in Navajo. I met people from Puerto Rico, Kenya and Japan.”

Lee, a peer mentor and Many Farms High School graduate, said the Leadership Conference allowed her to gain much information about how and what a leader can do to help people succeed.

“Every workshop I attended taught me how to be a better leader, by showing me the traits that make a good individual become a good leader,” Lee said. “I’m grateful for this opportunity to attend, to learn, to mix with diverse individuals from different colleges and universities. Also I’m thankful for being able to represent the college I go to, most importantly, to represent the Navajo Nation and its people. I’m proud to represent the college and our great nation. This conference is something we should try to establish in our Nation itself. I hope to return one day as a guest speaker or something of that sort.”

“I’m so proud of our students. This is a tremendous opportunity for them to network with their peers from all over the world, in both an academic and social sense,” said Diné College Vice President of External Affairs Marie Nez.

Diné College peer mentor Crystanya Begay said she met people from across the nation and other countries and learned about their schools and she listened to the speakers and what other participants in the conference had to say.

“The workshops are short but so full of information,” Begay said. “One workshop that stood out to me was called Selling Yourself as A Leader: The Art of Persuasion. In the workshop, we formed groups to determine the qualities of leaders and salespeople and we learned that their qualities are actually the same. The person leading the workshop said we sell ourselves everyday by telling people who we are and what we do. That made total sense to me. The workshop taught me the qualities of a leader, the expectations of an elevator pitch and the importance of perception.”

Information provided by Diné College

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