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NASA fellow visits campus

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By Rachel Konieczny

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“I think we all have opportunities in life to do what we are supposed to do or stretch our boundaries and go beyond that, and I think she did that.”
That’s how Connie Whitcomb described Jane Robinson Gilbride, ’80, this year’s Leader in Residence. Gilbride, an earth science teacher and STEM advocate, recently collaborated with the late Nobel Laureate Dr. Herbert Hauptman and was selected as an educational fellow at NASA.
According to Whitcomb, director of the Career and Professional Readiness Center, the class of 1963 gave the university a five-year donation in 2012 to establish the Leader in Residence program, aimed at cultivating leadership for students.
“It was their hope that high-achieving alumni would be invited to spend several days on our campus conferring, teaching and interacting with various academic and student groups,” Whitcomb said of the program.
Emily Izydorczak, a sophomore education major, said she was excited to have the opportunity to attend the leadership dinner and meet Gilbride.
“The topics that Gilbride explored derived from her personal experiences—experiences that I hope to have,” Izydorczak said. “While hearing about the effect of leadership on Ms. Gilbride’s career, future educators in the audience are able to understand what it means and what it takes to embrace a leadership role in our profession.”
The program, in its fourth year, rotates the presentation subject, tailoring each toward a different academic school, with this year being the School of Education. The selection committee, with the consultation of the dean of the School of Education, selected Gilbride, said Whitcomb.
Whitcomb said each year of the program has been different from the previous year.
“There are underlying themes of leadership that resonate with all of our leaders in residence, present and past,” Whitcomb said. “They come from different fields, they come from different backgrounds. Their demonstration of what leadership means to them and how they embody that in their life is unique to the person.”
Whitcomb said the program has selected a variety of leaders in residence.
“We have drawn from really diverse backgrounds, from government backgrounds to non-for-profit education backgrounds to corporate backgrounds, so everyone brings a different perspective on leadership,” Whitcomb said. “I think it’s fair to say that the heart of it is for the selected Leader in Residence to also be able to articulate how their Bonaventure experience really prepared them and contributed to their ability to excel in their field.”
Izydorczak said she is interested in learning about Gilbride’s experience of being an educational consultant and writing science-based children’s books.
“I gained an insight on becoming a positive and thoughtful leader in and out of the classroom,” Izydorczak said. “I was interested in seeing how her passions drove her to embrace leadership roles.”
Gilbride’s presentation, titled “Empathy and Understanding: Getting Students to Eagerly Follow and Imprint,” takes place today at 10:30 a.m. in the Jones Board of Trustees Room in Doyle Hall.

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