According to Meriam-Webster, leadership is the power or ability to lead other people.  According to junior Josh Collier, Presidential Scholar and actuarial science major, leadership is a little more complex than that.  To Collier, it’s about exploring new things and having the confidence to regularly take risks, something he says he learned through his involvement in the Honors Program.

“Being a Presidential Scholar has opened many doors for me, and because leaders around campus have been willing to take a chance on me, I have been granted limitless, unique opportunities I may not otherwise have,” Collier says.

One of these opportunities is serving as an Honors Community Assistant and Recruitment Ambassador.  As a Recruitment Ambassador, Collier has the opportunity to meet with prospective students and their families to share his experience in Honors, and how he has grown as both a leader and a student as a result.  “Anyone that knows me knows that I am not a shy person!  I enjoy speaking with people that I may not know well, or at all.  This role has been a perfect venue for me to show and grow my strengths,” Collier says.

Collier explored his leadership skills in the classroom as well, specifically through his participation in the Leadership in Action Presidential Scholars Seminar.  “Each Presidential Scholar Seminar I have taken has easily been one of my favorite classes that semester,” says Collier.  “The small class size has both allowed the professors to genuinely get to know each student, and encouraged a more Socratic environment.”

Josh holding drill

Collier hard at work for Habitat for Humanity in Winder, Georgia as part of Honors Alternative Spring Break.

Collier may have been a self-described “safe leader” in high school, but due to great experiences like Honors Alternative Spring Break, he says he now feels prepared to step out of his comfort zone and take advantage of his time in college.

“My current goal is to get the absolute most out of my four years at Illinois State,” Collier says.  He’s well on his way to doing just that…and paving the way for future students to do the same.