RIC Represented Among College Leadership Rhode Island Class of 2013
From left, Dave Chéry, Ratha Sen ’12, Stephanie Marie Jimenez and Susan Anderson.
If leaders aren’t born, they’re made by the College Leadership Rhode Island (CLRI) program.
The program’s class of 2013 recently held its graduation ceremony in the Governor’s State Room at the Rhode Island State House. Among the 31 graduates in attendance were RIC students Susan Anderson, Dave Chéry and Stephanie Marie Jimenez, along with RIC alumnus Ratha Sen ‘12.
Through CLRI, a community leadership development organization, emerging leaders explore Rhode Island history as they learn about the state’s nonprofit, for-profit and government sectors. To prepare for future employment in some of Rhode Island’s top companies, students are trained in such critical work skills as public speaking, team building, etiquette and networking. They also are reminded of the importance of community advocacy and learn to translate their volunteer experiences into résumé builders. Most importantly, they are encouraged to identify and nurture their individual strengths so that they may become better leaders.
Selected by her peers to be class speaker at the graduation, Sen spoke about the first great leaders in her life – her parents.
“My parents came here as refugees, fleeing from the genocide in Cambodia,” she said, adding that they came here afraid of the unknown, unversed in English and unaccustomed to American culture. Though they struggled to adjust to American life and lived with chronic illnesses, their priority was to make sure that their children had what they needed to be successful," Sen explained.
“Now that I am older, I realize all the struggles my parents went through in order for us to live the American Dream. I owe it all to my parents, and I am showing them that all their hard work and sacrifices were not a waste,” she said.
Sen holds a bachelor’s degree from RIC in health education with a concentration in community health. She is enrolled at Salve Regina University, where she is working toward a master’s degree in health care administration and management. A former intern with the Division of Community Family, Health and Equity at the Department of Health, Sen said the guidance she received from her mentor and boss, executive director Ana Novais, helped her develop a passion for public health issues in Rhode Island.
Like her CLRI classmates, she expressed a commitment to improving her life and the lives of other Rhode Islanders, ending her speech with a quote by Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of committed and thoughtful people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Among family, friends and dignitaries at the ceremony was RIC President Nancy Carriuolo. “I was proud to be present at the College Leadership Rhode Island graduation ceremony,” she said. “I am confident that our RIC students and our alumni will move into leadership positions in Rhode Island in years to come."