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First CSM Students Graduate from Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. Leadership Academy, Earn State Recognition, Scholarships

December 14, 2021

First CSM Students Graduate from Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. Leadership Academy, Earn State Recognition, Scholarships

From left are academy graduates Laura Lopez McNulty, Kristine Williams, Abby Sellner and Rhey Mesowski.

The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) marked Senate President Emeritus Thomas V. “Mike” Miller Jr. Public Service Day this month by recognizing the first graduates of CSM’s Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. Leadership Academy. In addition, students gathered at the Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. Center for Leadership to write holiday cards to the region’s veterans and donate food to CSM’s new walk-in Hawk Food Pantry.

The Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. Center for Leadership was established in 2019 at CSM’s Prince Frederick Campus to recognize and elevate CSM students and members of the community who exhibit incredible leadership ability and inspire it in others. Through initiatives to encourage and develop their talents, the center supports students, faculty, and rising community leaders as they grapple with the challenges facing this and future generations. The center honors the memory and legacy of the late state senator for his five decades of service – and with the mission of building an inclusive and engaged community through education, civic engagement, and social responsibility. 

One way the center supports students is through the college’s leadership academy dedicated in his name. The academy’s vision is to foster the development of ethical, responsible, civic-minded student leaders through education, empowerment and a commitment to service. Upon completion of the academy, students earn a CSM Certificate of Completion and are eligible to apply for the Maryland Community College Leadership Certification.

CSM students who completed the first academy and earned scholarships for their scholarly work are Laura Lopez McNulty of La Plata, Kristine Williams of Leonardtown, Abby Sellner of Huntingtown, and Rhey Mesowski of Lexington Park.

To earn the achievement, the students completed a series of learning objectives that included identifying, articulating, and outlining personal values, motivation, and core beliefs; studying leadership characteristics and the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion; and performing community service. Each module introduced concepts using readings and videos, provided self-assessments to help students understand their own characteristics and strengths, and ended with the foundation for the development of an ethical, transformational leader. The college’s Student Life team supported students in the leadership certification process. 

“You are the change-makers,” CSM Communication Professor and Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. Center for Leadership Chair Denise Gilmer-Knudson told the students. “This is a wonderful day of celebration and service in honor of Senator Miller and I’m sure these young leaders will continue his tradition of civic engagement, integrity, social responsibility and service to Southern Maryland.”

“I am so grateful for this opportunity,” said McNulty. “My experience with the academy has helped me be a better advocate for those in need in my community.”

The Senate President Emeritus Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. Public Service Day was declared by resolution of the Chesapeake Beach Town Council and by proclamation of the Calvert County Board of County Commissioners on Dec. 3, 2020 in recognition of the late senator’s distinguished five decades of public service, and his birthday.

To view photos of the day’s events, visit https://csmphoto.zenfolio.com/p662433712.

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