The LeaderShape Experience


by 2012 LeaderShape Institute graduates Sonam Aidasani, T'14, Lindsey Huth, T'15 & Ciera Price, T'14

Thumbnail is an experience open to all Duke Students – one that we would highly recommend. All of us, especially here at Duke, have worked extremely hard to get where we are, and although being at Duke is an amazing accomplishment in its own right, it is only the first step. We are repeatedly told by administrators, professors, friends and family that now is our time to grow as people; to discover who we really are and what we stand for. The dilemma, however, that most college students struggle with is: “How do we do that?” How do we find what we love and believe in? One of the various ways students can begin to address this question is through attending The LeaderShape Institute. LeaderShape is an experience that fosters that growth and challenges you individually in a very powerful way.

Over the course of one week during the summer, LeaderShape is an intense time of friendship and personal growth. It encourages you to dream big and not settle. However, contrary to many leadership experiences, LeaderShape also provides its participants with the tools needed to put their dreams into action. LeaderShape’s vision is to create a just, caring, and thriving world where all lead with integrity. This is taught by asking students to first understand what matters to them and then to stretch beyond what they feel is possible to attain their goals. We are taught to do this in a way that honors the virtues we believe in. While at LeaderShape we also develop personal connections with faculty, staff and community members who are there to support the visions we map out for the world we want to live in.

For many of us, LeaderShape reignited our passions and encouraged us to push for the things we believe in. The tasks undertaken at LeaderShape will most definitely test you. You will be prompted to truly think about how you are living now and how that life corresponds with the future you want, not only for yourself, but for the generations to come. This is an opportunity to step away from the stressors of the campus environment, step outside yourself, and make the changes you want see.

We came back to Duke charged and changed! We made amazing connections, and we each had a plan. Some people are changing their majors; some are starting new initiatives; others are taking risks academically and personally; but most importantly, all are learning that real differences start small, and only require a vision and a healthy disregard for the impossible. 

On behalf of all the LeaderShape graduates and staff, we strongly recommend you encourage your student to apply. It is definitely an experience they will be proud to be a part of.