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Alumni Success Stories

We love to hear from our alumni!


Former School of Leadership Studies Graduate Assistant Brentni Henderson-King Receives the University College Outstanding Graduate Student Award


Since the Certificate in Leadership Studies was formed in 2003, we have many students whom, after their days at WKU, have gone on to successful careers in their fields of study.  Below are just several of the successful alumni who either have an Undergraduate Certificate, a Graduate Certificate, a Bachelor's Degree or a Master's Degree in Leadership.


cody norris

cody norris

- Cody Norris


In my position, the most useful, informative, and applicable material has been culled from LEAD 500, Northouse, & my personal favorite, Kouzes & Posner. Now, I have an infinite thankfulness for all the content of LEAD 500 & LEAD 600.

-- Wanda Hogan '09 Nursing Graduate Student


During the fall of 2005, I had the opportunity to take my first leadership class at WKU as a graduate student. It was entitled LEAD 500, and instructed by John Baker. I knew this type of environment was going to allow me to learn valuable lessons from diverse cultures, management mentalities, and effective leadership. One project that instilled patience and calmness mentally encompassed employees from Logan Aluminum who attended our class and intentionally caused havoc in a "mock meeting." Regardless of how irate we as students became as "leaders" of the meeting, we were instructed to remain professional and lead a productive engagement. In one semester of various discussions, projects, and papers, I began to feel a sense of growth personally, professionally, and civically."

"In spring 2005, I became employed in The Office of Equal Opportunity/504/ADA Compliance at Western Kentucky University (WKU) and was accepted to begin my graduate studies by pursuing a Master of Arts in Administrative Dynamics. This program focused on leadership, psychology, and communication, and seemed to provide professional development from a leader's perspective.


-Joshua Hayes ('08)


The Leadership Certificate has played a key role in helping me become a better leader in my personal and professional life. Currently , I am Assistant Director for the WKU national and International Debate Team. The team is comprised of over 50 students and my leadership training has helped me to better deal with settling disputes between students, motivating students and staff, and rewarding them for a job well done. Since completing the Graduate Leadership pro-gram, I have helped guide the team [to achieve] two National, three International, and three State Championships in collegiate speech and debate.


- Jace Lux ('04)


The Leadership Certificate coupled with my MA in Organization has provided insight on understanding organizations, people, and myself. Currently, I am Director of Discover College at Owensboro Community and Technical College which requires partnering with 14 area high schools to create and deliver innovative dual enrollment programs for our region. I also serve as an adjunct faculty member at OCTC where I teach Basic Public Speaking; I plan to teach Interpersonal Communication through the Owensboro Sister Cities program in the Czech Re-public during Summer 2008. Since graduating and beginning my career, I have been elected to serve on the City Council in my small home-town of Calhoun, Kentucky. For my past two terms on the council, I have been the youngest member and received the most votes in the polls during my two election campaigns. It has been a rewarding experience to use my communication and leadership skills to serve my hometown. Finally, the Leadership Certificate helped to shape my current doctoral work in Educational Leadership through the WKU and U of L Cooperative Doctoral Program. I am near course completion and look to be-gin researching the power of communication skills of women in community colleges. Through education, I learned to challenge the status quo and I found the self-belief, values, and determination to carry out my vision as a leader in my community and career field.


-Stacy Edds-Ellis ('04)


I am working with a Pakistani multi-national company, Azgard 9 LTD, based in Lahore, Pakistan. I joined this company in May 2006 as Senior Administration Manager at the Spinning Unit. In August 2006, I was given additional responsibilities of Human Resource Manager at the same site.  In August 2007, I was transferred to the Garments Units near Lahore as Human Resource Manager in Training and Development, where we have around 5000 employees.  From January to May in 2006, I also served as Lecturer at the University of Punjab. This whole success was achieved due to proper training, counseling, and coaching from the Communication department and the Leadership Center at WKU. I thank you all for creating a positive difference in my life. GO WKU!


-Syed Mahmood Hussain Gardezi ('05)


Upon completing the graduate Leadership Certificate in January 2005, I immediately felt its impact. That February, my husband and I traveled to Melbourne, Australia, so I could serve as a Rotary Goodwill Ambassadorial scholar. We spent the next ten months immersed in Australian culture while I pursued a Master of Arts in Media Studies at La Trobe University. The skills I garnered in the certificate program proved to be invaluable. Instantaneously, I employed the cultural sensitivity and awareness I gained from Multinational Business Communication. I used presentation skills honed through various courses when I made over 15 presentations to Rotary clubs about Kentucky history and culture. However, the certificate's largest impact can best be seen through my service work in Melbourne. Five other ambassadorial scholars and I organized a benefit evening for St. Jude, a private school in Tanzania combating poverty through education. The months of preparation were easier for me because I had learned to recognize leader- ship styles in others and adapt my own style to suit the situation. With a group of highly motivated people, it could have easily been all chiefs and no Indians! In the end, we raised over $12,000 for St. Jude, and the school was able to purchase a generator they had long needed. My husband and I are back in the US and living in Worcester, MA. He works as an assistant football coach at the College of the Holy Cross, and I am a conference coordinator at UMASS Medical School. I am still involved in Rotary and relish every opportunity to use my leadership and communication skills!

brit maz

-Brittney Maslowski ('05)


I obtained a Master's degree in 2006 from Western Kentucky University in Administrative Dynamics in addition to two graduate certificates, one in Leadership Studies and one in Organizational Communication. While working as a graduate assistant in the Center for Leadership Excellence at WKU, I learned by being immersed in the leadership field, especially focusing on organizational leadership and the ethical implications of leadership in general. The Leadership Certificate helped me and many other students to improve our leadership skills. As a result I became President of the WKU Latino-American Student Association for two academic periods (2005-2006). I am currently a first year PhD student in Organizational Leadership and Supervision at Purdue University. I will always be grateful for the CLE at WKU for helping me to believe in my self as a leader and also as a follower. I definitely value the Leadership Certificate; it helped me learn more about my capabilities and my dreams, and over-all to let the leader inside of me develop and I learned to express myself as a good leader. The Leadership Certificate strengthened my commitment to workforce development and shaped my professional plans of improving organizational work environment and helping managers and supervisors to become great ethical leaders.


-Johana Lopez ('06)

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 Last Modified 2/7/18