Illinois State students are taking the future into their hands through the ISULeads program. The ISULeads Leadership Certificate Program was developed at Illinois State and is one of the few leadership certificate programs in the state. The program is open to students from all majors and incorporates learning from campus and community experiences into three pillars: civic engagement, global perspectives, and leadership.

Leadership Specialist Skylar Guimond said that ISULeads is a way to accentuate the great experience that Illinois State students are already having.

“The great thing is that ISULeads will look completely different for each student,” he said. “I call it a ‘choose your own adventure’ program. Students apply their learning to whatever it is they enjoy being a part of most.”

Senior Spanish major Luisa Trapaga ’18 said the most rewarding part of ISULeads is applying the lessons you learn from the program in the real world.

“It isn’t just talking or writing about what needs to be done, but actually doing it. You are always practicing leadership.”

Senior elementary education major Morgan Snead ’18 said that ISULeads has redefined what being a leader means to her.

“Before I thought that a leader was the one who spoke the loudest, always made the decisions, always shined the brightest,” she said. “Now, I understand leaders also encourage others to share their voices.”

Each student involved in ISULeads has a mentor who they meet frequently. According to Guimond, their contributions to the program are essential.

“The one on one, mentoring relationships give students personalized attention to help them reflect and grow to become better leaders,” he said.

Trapaga said that supporting leadership programs like ISULeads which give students a competitive edge will ensure even more Redbirds will be successful leaders in the workforce.

“The experience I have gotten from completing the pillars will help me as I seek other opportunities,” she said.

Leadership development is an increasingly critical component in preparing students for future success, which is why it is a core objective in Redbirds Rising. To learn how you can invest in creating transformative learning opportunities for ISU students, call (309) 438-8184 or visit