2013 Class Blog

  • Red Cross/NAIA Collegiate Leadership Program 2013 Class

Arrival Day and Day 1 by Brittany Rooze

Brittany Rooze
Brittany Rooze Huntington University in Indiana

Hello everyone! My name is Brittany Rooze, and I am from a small town called Otterbein, IN. I go to school at Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana. In May of 2015, I will be graduating with two degrees: Accounting and Business Management. At HU, I am also an outside hitter on the volleyball team. I wouldn’t trade the student-athlete experience or my coaches and teammates for the world. When I am not studying, working, or playing volleyball I love to play any other sport, especially football, softball/baseball, and Urban Golf. For those of you who may not be familiar with Urban Golf, it is played with tennis balls and golf clubs. Random objects, doors, windows, you name it around campus are considered the “holes.” I also love to read and hang out with the most important people in my life: my family and friends.

Yesterday, June 2, 2013, the twelve of us student athletes arrived in Washington, DC. for the Red Cross/NAIA Collegiate Leadership Program. Some arrived as early as lunch time, and some, like me, did not arrive until after dark. I personally was the last student to show up flying in at 9:30PM and finally arriving at the GWU dorms around 10:30PM. My little brother graduated high school yesterday afternoon, so my Dad and I had to “jet” as soon as we could get our hugs and ‘congratulations’ in. Yesterday was also my first experience ever flying or even being in an airport. Check-in was extremely easy and all on a monitor screen. Then, we ate dinner and my dad handed me off at security. The flight was delayed almost an hour, but other than that, everything went extremely smoothly. The flight was the coolest experience I have ever had. I felt as if I were on an hour and a half amusement park ride! Once I arrived, we all gathered to debrief and layout the general overview of the plans for the next day and the rest of the 2 weeks.

7:45AM came pretty early this morning, but we were all very excited, anxious, and nervous for what lay ahead of us. We walked the block and a half to the American Red Cross National Headquarters together as a group and officially met Brian Hamil, the creator of this program. He welcomed us to the Red Cross and explained where the program came from, it’s purpose, and where it is headed.

Our first speaker of the morning was Roger Lowe. He is the Senior Vice President of Communications for the Red Cross. Although he was considered a guest speaker, the hour spent with him was really filled with interaction between everyone in the room. He introduced us to the five major lines of service in the Red Cross and the communications side of the organization. Our questions started firing from there. Mr. Lowe presented us with five of the most important criteria he looks for in an employee. The first attribute he looks for is someone who is willing to do what they are asked. He would also like someone who asks questions and has a good attitude. One thing I had never heard before today was, “Never leave an interview without a question.” Mr. Lowe suggests being someone people want to work with. Lastly, meet deadlines, be dependable, and be accurate. Being an accounting major, I do not know much about communications, so I thoroughly enjoyed expanding my horizons.

Our second speaker of the day was Shaun Gilmore, American Red Cross President of Biomedical Services. He began with an overview of the biomedical services which mainly consists of blood drives. He then went into a list of five leadership “do’s” and five leadership “don’ts”. Although I wrote many quotes down from Mr. Gilmore, I am going to share three that mean the most to me. Mr. Gilmore encouraged all of us in every assignment to “find what you need to be successful, and then figure out what you are going to do to stand out.” He also encouraged us to take on a diversity of assignments over the course of our careers. Lastly, he told a story that displayed that passion draws people in. I think this is true in all areas of life. After all, if every one of us here did not have a passion for the Red Cross and its mission to help those in dire need and save lives, we wouldn’t be here.

I cannot wait to see what the next two weeks has in store for us!

Day 2 by Cheyenne Eisenhour

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Cheyenne Eisenhour
Cheyenne Eisenhour McPherson College in Kansas

Hey everyone! My name is Cheyenne Eisenhour and I am from an extremely small town known as Stafford, Kansas. I currently go to school at McPherson College in McPherson, Kansas. In May of 2015 I will be graduating with two degrees: a major in physical education with an emphasis of sports management. At McPherson College I am also starting point guard for the women’s basketball team. Being a student-athlete is an amazing experience and I feel honored to represent not only my institution but my team. When I am not attending classes and practicing I enjoy working at Applebee’s, playing catch of any kind, being outdoors, going to the lake, running, and most definitely spending time with my family and friends.

After a long eventful day yesterday of settling in and touring the amazing D.C., this morning came very early for me. A group of us got up around 6:15 this morning and headed to the Red Cross fitness facility. After working out and getting ready, we made our way down to Starbucks for a little pick me up, where not surprisingly we ran into the majority of the group. Around 9:00 this morning we all gathered in the conference room with Brian Hamil and had a debriefing of Monday. Brian gave us a glimpse into his personal life and let us know the five key points to life that he tells his children: Be an active listener with your eyes and your ears, don’t fail to express gratitude, don’t make a virtue of your flaws, don’t make excuses, and lastly, you don’t have to win at everything. Brian also made an extremely intelligent point that has had the most impact on me so far in my experience, that there is in fact a huge difference between a captain and a leader.

Our second speaker was Mrs. Anna Marie Larson, Red Cross Board of Governors member. I could literally type a book over her inspirational input that she shared with us. Anna had the entire class locked in and engaged in every little detail she was saying. She gave us a task to write down all the times we felt accomplished so at other times when we start to doubt ourselves, we can look back and reflect on how we felt and why. She left a major impact on us, stating that we need to find who we truly are, and even if we don’t do anything else with our lives, finding out who we truly are is a major accomplishment itself. For the hour-and-a-half I was lucky enough to spend in Anna’s presence, I felt like I had grown already as a leader and as a person.

In the afternoon our group had the chance to listen to Georgetown Univerity professor Mr. Israel Negron. He gave us some extremely helpful advice about how to prepare for interviews, and also how to write a professional cover letter. He had a very diverse career background, which I found very helpful because I have already had many job experiences in many different fields. Israel put out on the table that we absolutely cannot be afraid to take chances and risks in life, and always keep your options open.

Our last speaker of the day was Gloria Huang, the Senior Social Engagement Specialist. She showed us the ins and outs of the social media area of the Red Cross, and truly how important it is it to the growth of the Red Cross. She gave us extremely helpful tips on how to start our own Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. accounts for our campuses and also our local chapters. I am most definitely going to take these tips back to my campus, and I hope to eventually have each and every faculty, staff, and student a member of each social media group.

After the business part of the day was over, we all went back to the dorms to change, and off to Zumba we went. For me, Zumba was the most exciting part of the day. Watching everyone, especially the boys “shake their stuff” helped us all unwind and really get comfortable with one another. After Zumba we all had our first group experience on the metro together. Although very intimidating at first, we all got to the mall safely, and that of course is the most important aspect. After the mall we got the chance to stop by Coney Island and grab some delicious ice cream.

It was only the second day, but it already feels like we are a family. I am super pumped to see what these next couple weeks have in store for us. This is an amazing experience and one I will never forget.

Day 3 by Connor Hausauer

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Connor Hausauer
Connor Hausauer Carroll College in Montana

My name is Connor Hausauer. I was born and raised in Bozeman, Montana, but moved to Helena, Montana to attend school at Carroll College. At Carroll College I play golf on the varsity team, where I am fortunate to be surrounded by amazing teammates. Aside from golf, I love to ski, fish, mountain bike, and enjoy anything outside in the beautiful state of Montana.

Today, we were fortunate to have three guest speakers join us and share valuable knowledge that our group will utilize to create and promote successful blood drives.

Kathy Waldman, Senior Vice President of Quality and Regulatory Affairs, was our first guest and she taught us about blood at the cellular level. In Kathy’s presentation, our group learned how a single blood donation can save up to three lives by separately distributing the red blood cells, platelets, and plasma. We also learned about the importance of continuous blood donation support because blood platelets have a shelf life of just five days. She continued to teach about the process of testing and distributing the blood before it reaches the transfusion recipients. I anticipate using some of the knowledge Ms. Waldman shared with us to promote successful blood drives.

Our next presenter was John Taylor, Senior Vice President of Regional Operations, who talked to our group about the business aspect of the Red Cross. I found this particularly intriguing because I had formerly not considered the business side of non-profit organizations. He informed us that the Red Cross claims 40% of the nation’s blood donations: more than any other organization. Mr. Taylor also discussed the process of blood distribution and how the Red Cross fairly distributes blood to both small and large hospitals.

Cameron Branock, Red Cross/NAIA Collegiate Leadership Program alum and current Red Cross Donor Recruitment Supervisor was our last guest and he talked to us about some successful techniques for organizing and running successful blood drives. I found his timeline for blood drive organization and setup to be exceptionally helpful and relevant. Mr. Branock helped demonstrate the extensive work needed to organize a successful blood drive, but his unique methods of doing so will be beneficial as our group begins to organize these events.

After our presenters, our group had the opportunity to analyze our local blood drive data. Looking at past years, our group noticed that some of our representing schools were already successful in blood drive donations, and some of the schools didn’t have a donation program yet. As a group, our mission is to meet donation goals where Red Cross programs are already established on campuses, and begin donation programs where they are nonexistent.

After our presentations and analysis of our schools’ data we had the opportunity to go to the Pentagon City Mall. In preparation for tomorrow’s Nationals baseball game, I believe we all left the mall with at least one bag of Washington Nationals’ apparel.

Day 4 by Tyler Nance

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Tyler Nance
Tyler Nance Benedictine College in Kansas

Hey guys! My name is Tyler Nance. I currently play wide receiver at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. The place I call home is about three hours away just west of Wichita Kansas known as Goddard. I went to Bishop Carroll High School where I played football, basketball, and ran track. I graduated in 2011 and now I am at Benedictine studying Athletic Training and planning on eventually applying for Physical Therapy school. When the opportunity to apply for the Red Cross/NAIA Leadership Program came up, there was no hesitation for me. I wanted to get more involved on my campus and what better way to do than through the promotion of blood drives. This experience is definitely one for the books and I could not be more grateful for the people who have given me the opportunity to be a part of such an amazing organization.

Thursday June 6th: the routine is beginning to become normal. Wake up around 8, shower, get ready, eat breakfast, and walk to the headquarters around 9. When we arrived at the Red Cross it was a little different because Randon and Julie (our mentors from the 2011 class) weren’t there. Instead, Tim O’Malley, founder of Fios Consulting was there to lead a workshop about diversity and cultural competency

The diversity workshop was unlike any workshop I have ever been a part of. We started out by talking about assumptions, how they are made, and why we make them. Mr. O’Malley went on to explain that there is a difference between having judgment and passing judgment and what we can do to avoid assumptions. Incorporated into the workshop were many different activities as well. The first one being a “where I am from” poem that we inserted parts of our childhood and families into a template to describe where we came from and how we were raised. The next activity we were divided into 3 groups and given a set of rules for a card game. Right before we started Mr. O’Malley said we couldn’t talk. After one game the winner moved up a table and losers moved down. After 3 games and once everyone could talk the havoc broke loose. Everyone was complaining about others not playing by the rules or not knowing how to play. It turned out that the rules for every table were slightly different. He used this method to show us how it is like when we start new jobs and how should people deal with new ideas and rules. After the activity and talking about the tolerance scale, he wrapped up the workshop with a quote from Ken Kesey. “It’s easy to count the seed in the apple but impossible to count the numbers of apples in the seed.”

The workshop ended around 12:30 and we went to grab some lunch on our own. Connor, Cheyenne, Jamie, Tiffani, and I all went down the block to try one of the food vendors. I got a spicy chicken gyro which was delicious and Connor got the chicken on rice. Unfortunately Connor and I were the only ones who thought the food was delicious!

When we got back some us sent out some thank you emails and waited for everyone else to get back.

Once everyone was back Randon and Julie did their presentation, sharing with us how they went about promoting blood drives on their campus. They informed us of what worked for them and what we need to look out for. Everything from 12 weeks before the blood drive to the day after and how to write thank you notes to donors.

Once the presentations were over we got together in our groups to begin to prepare for the projects we will have to present at the end of next week. With plenty of fresh ideas written down on paper we all had a good start and quickly headed back to the dorms to change and get ready for the game.

I would go on to explain how the game was but unfortunately it got rained out. Even though the game was cancelled we still had the opportunity to meet Laura Potter, the Washington Nationals VP of Communications and overlooks 4 divisions. She was awesome to listen to being that she was a D1 athlete and expressed that hard work can go a long ways. After listening to her and filling our stomachs with expensive ball park food we sat under the balcony waiting for the rain to stop. Around 7 o’clock they announced that the game was cancelled. Even though there wasn’t a game, seeing the stadium and being able to go up in the press box was an experience in itself.

The day is over but the night is still young. I think we are going to try to get some people to throw the light up Frisbee around. Peace out!

Day 5 by Sara Allen

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Sara Allen
Sara Allen Culver-Stockton College in Missouri

Hello Everyone! My name is Sara Allen and being a “military kid” I am from all over the United States. This fall I will be entering my junior year at Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Missouri. In May of 2015, I will be graduating with my Elementary Education major, along with my math and social studies middle school endorsements. I love being a student-athlete and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world! At C-SC, I play soccer and in this past season I played almost every position except forward and goalkeeper. When I am not play soccer or studying, I spend my free time hanging out with sorority sisters, reading, or working.

Woah! We are having an awesome time here in D.C! Today has been a fantastic day for speakers. To start the day off, Marvin Steele and Jacqueline Godfrey from Government Relations spoke to us about their positions on Capitol Hill as American Red Cross Lobbyists. They were able to provide us with great insight on strategic ways of getting other people involved with a cause. Next Thursday we will be going to Capitol Hill for a tour thanks to these two!

Next we spoke by phone with our Donor Recruitment Representatives and discussed the blood drives at our college, plans we have for the future, and past challenges they have run into. This phone call was extremely crucial to our success as we plan our future blood drives. It was awesome to connect with someone, share my experience so far, and have somebody be just as excited as I am about blood drives! I cannot wait to get back to school to share all my new ideas!

Dr. Richard J. Benjamin, Chief Medical Officer, was our next presenter. During lunch he spoke with us about how donating blood affects athletes and the process our body goes through to replenish the nutrients our blood provides us with. He also shared the guidelines High Schools have to abide by in order to reduce negative reactions to donating. Donating blood only takes 15% of your total blood circulation. For an athlete to feel completely healthy it takes about up to 24 hours. Dr. Benjamin provided us with similar information to better inform our own student-athletes so they can donate blood!

From then on we were jammed packed with speakers including Hanna Malak who has already gone through the program and successfully completed blood drives at his school. Hanna showed us the acronym C.O.M.P.E.T.E; each letter stands for a different point to apply to our blood drive campaign. Next was Nathan Groce who is the Manager of Brand Marketing. During Nathan Groce’s presentation, we learned ways to enhance our resumes and present ourselves in a professional setting. At the end of the workday Amy Daly and her team came and spoke to us about how to create and implement a Red Cross club. We learned ways to implement an effective Red Cross Youth Club at our college. Today was an extremely informational and effective day at the Red Cross!

Afterwards we went at Tonic with Brian Hamil and Jennifer Lourie, who used to be the program manager, joined us. Brian generously paid for our dinner. We are so thankful for him! If you ever get the chance to go to Washington D.C, go to Tonic, they seriously have FANTASTIC tater tots, like the best! Then a group of us headed down to famous Georgetown Cupcakes, AKA D.C Cupcakes! Surprisingly they weren’t even packed, but they sure were 5 minutes after we got there! Now we are sitting in the basement of our dorm playing cards to end a great night!

Days 6 and 7 by Karleigh Creighton

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Karleigh Creighton
Karleigh Creighton Madonna University in Michigan

Hi! I’m Karleigh Creighton from Farmington Hills, Michigan. I am studying Public Relations at Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan and I play softball for the Crusaders. This summer I am the Public Relations intern for Sweet Dreamzzz, a non-profit organization in Detroit that works to help teach at-risk children about proper sleep and increase their academic and overall wellbeing. In addition to softball, school and work, I love to spend time with my family and friends and coach the 10U NFWB travel softball team.

I am writing today, about our amazing weekend here in Washington DC! We experienced the sites of the city with the help of our expert tour guide, Jennifer Lourie, and had a special dinner with Lori Thomas from the NAIA.

On Saturday morning we headed out at 10 a.m., eager and excited for our five hour tour! We landed first at Union Station where we learned its arches symbolize its primary function as a gateway for the city and its ceiling contains 70 lbs. of 22 karat gold leaf. Gold leaf is gold that is beaten into extremely thin sheets. We also learned that the land of Washington DC used to be a swamp!

We left Union Station to see the Christopher Columbus Monument, the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, the National Gallery of Art, the United States Botanical Garden and the Old Post Office tower. Personally, I liked seeing the Library of Congress the best. Getting to see the Main Reading Room from the Gallery was amazing! It was absolutely beautiful and mind-blowing to think about the type of literature kept there and the prominence of the authors. I also loved this part of tour because I recognized the Main Reading Room from a scene in “National Treasure!”

The United States Botanical Garden was breathtaking! I loved that each room was a different climate. We walked through a desert, Hawaii and the Jungle all in one day! I know Sara, Savannah and I enjoyed the kid’s park the most. We got to water flowers and hide out in a bamboo forest!

We finished our tour at the Old Post Office and what a great way to end it! After climbing what felt like a hundred flights of stairs, we made it to the top of the tower and the view was spectacular! We could see the entire city and it was one of the most gorgeous things I have ever seen! For dinner on Saturday we ate at Lime. It was a fun Mexican Restaurant on the other side of town and was definitely a fan favorite!

Sunday was our free day! A group of us attended church in the morning. The service was held in a movie theatre, featured a rock band and Donald Miller provided an inspirational sermon. After church, the majority of the group headed to the pool. I know they had a great time relaxing and taking a day off after our very fun and busy week!

Sara, Samantha and I decided to head out and explore the sites of DC that we had not seen yet. Being metro pros, we took the blue line and got off at Arlington where we saw the Women in Military Service Memorial, as well as the Arlington Cemetery. The Women in Military Service Memorial is one of my favorite things we have seen so far; it was also very emotional.

We took the metro back towards the National Mall and saw the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. All three of these monuments were magnificent! I liked the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial the best and these sites were well worth the long walk, tired legs and sore feet!

We were blessed with the opportunity to have dinner at Bertucci’s with Lori Thomas on Sunday night.

I never thought I would ever appreciate this city as much as I do! I have absolutely loved every minute of my experience here and am very excited for the upcoming week! I know that we all have grown as athletes, leaders and people and will be forever grateful for this opportunity!

Red Cross/NAIA 2013 class

Day 8 by Tiffani Marshall

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Tiffani Marshall
Tiffani Marshall Lindenwood Univeristy - Belleville in Illinois

Hi there! My name is Tiffani Marshall and I am from the small town of Chester Illinois, the “Home of Popeye!” I am currently attending Lindenwood University-Belleville in Belleville Illinois. I am a part of the volleyball team and play middle hitter, hoping to transition to right-side or out-side soon. In 2015 I will be graduating with a degree in psychology, and also all of my pre-nursing classes needed to attend Goldfarb Nursing School. Before starting my journey as a nurse or psychologist I would really like to join the Peace Corps. I like to travel and be out in the nice weather, even though I burn most of the time.

Today, June 10th was the start of a new week for all of us in the Red Cross/ NAIA Collegiate Leadership Program. As usual Monday mornings go, there was a struggle to wake up from the long weekend that had just past. Despite the fight to open my eyes, it felt normal to wake up and iron my clothes for the work day ahead. Since it has been over a week now that we have been guests here in DC, the lifestyle of so many here is becoming more like our own. I remember the last Monday morning we woke up too early, were too late to get coffee, and the hustle and bustle of the city was foreign to us. That has all changed now.

After returning to the Red Cross National Headquarters we discovered there was a change of pace. The previous week were speakers advocating for the Red Cross, and teaching us all about the blood drives we will be hosting when we return back to our campuses. Today was different; Lori Thomas from the NAIA came to teach us all about the 5 core values of the Champions of Character program. Self-respect, Sportsmanship, Integrity, Responsibility, and Servant Leadership were the main aspects covered today.

Personally this association has been new on my campus. Lindenwood University- Belleville transitioned to NAIA only 1 year ago. So when Lori Thomas asked the group, “What are the 5 core values of the Champions of Character program?” I was at a loss for words. Being such a new school I was very interested in the program the NAIA created, and Lori was educating us on. We went through many activities and power points that perfectly explained these values, and also made it easier to remember because they really do apply to us as student-athletes. Lori also mentioned many new aspects of the NAIA that will be coming soon. Including a “Live 5” program that helps students with the transition from year to year, encouraging them to keep living the core values in all aspects of their life.

Just going through the training of these core values I know I have grown as an individual and a leader. Living these values everyday will help me as an individual to find success in my life, and also hopefully showing by example for my fellow peers at Lindenwood will help them as well.

I have enjoyed my time here in Washington DC, and I know there is more to come. Meeting all of these fantastic people and learning so much, all I can say is I will soak up all that I can and love the ride.

Day 9 by Samantha Bryant

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Samantha Bryant
Samantha Bryant St. Louis College of Pharmacy in Missouri

Hello everyone! My name is Samantha Marie Bryant and I am from Northeast Missouri. Notice how I gave you a region and not the specific name of a town? Simply put, I come from a small farming community and I grew up in Knox County.

Being the ambitious farmer’s daughter I am, I quickly decided to further my education at St. Louis College of Pharmacy with hopes of graduating in 2017 with a Doctorate of Pharmacy. This monumental decision was made with a heavy heart, thought, and prayer. About the time I was determining what career path to pursue; my brother was diagnosed with leukemia for the second time in his life. His relapse was unpredicted, but through medicine, countless transfusions, and prayer he survived.

It is now my goal in life to give back to those that gave so much to me. This coming school year I will receive a white coat, enter into the professional program, and begin contributing to the mission of the American Red Cross. As you can imagine, a majority of my time is spent studying and when I am not studying I am at church, a Student Alumni Association event, knitting hats for the local cancer center, or running. This year I will be running cross country and mastering the nine or so track events I’ll be doing. Thanks coach!

All in all, the entire program has been an absolutely wonderful experience, but today was possibly the climax of the Red Cross/NAIA Leadership Program. The 2013 class was busy today with several incredible events, they included: the Networking Breakfast, speaking with the CEO of the Red Cross Biomedical Services Midwest Region, words of advice from and lunch with a famous Red Crosser, and meeting the American Red Cross President and CEO. The people that visited the 2013 class today had a great impact on the success of the program and we appreciated every moment shared with them.

Beginning the morning with the networking breakfast meant that we would need to wake up early and travel to headquarters at 7:30 a.m. instead of the usual 8:45 a.m. As soon as Red Crossers arrived at the breakfast waking up early was no longer a negative thing anymore, but a great thing, because we got the opportunity to meet new people and discuss their careers, stories, and motivations. Just by glancing around the room I could see that everyone had a wonderful time and really enjoyed one another’s company. The breakfast was a great learning experience and for some of us, it was our first time ever at a networking event!

Soon thereafter, the breakfast lulled down to only a few people and the 2013 class. We then got the chance to listen to Tricia Quinn, CEO of the Red Cross Midwest Blood Services Region, explain and break down the aspects of the biomedical service of the Red Cross. Ms. Quinn also implanted the idea of “grabbing the brass ring” and by this she meant that life will present you with opportunities and you should never be afraid to take a leap to achieve your goals. There will be times that we all have a chance to do something great, like Ms. Quinn suggested, it only makes sense to take chances - through risks goals can be achieved.

Shortly after learning to take chances, the 2013 class was introduced to Nadia Mitchem, Red Cross Director of Volunteer Partnerships. Nadia shared what she knows now that she wished she knew when she was graduating from college.

The tips and lessons learned from these two speakers confirmed what previous lessons had taught us and to really see our importance to the Red Cross.

Later after these speakers, the lunch bell began to ring and Mr. Brian Boyle arrived. Mr. Boyle was in the room for approximately five minutes just getting settled in, when his video began to play. For those that haven’t seen it or heard about Brian’s story I recommend you watch it. I took a quick look around the room to see the majority of my peers fighting to hold back tears. After hearing the story, a fire was lit within each one of us and it only seemed to fuel our ambitions. Meeting with the National Volunteer Spokesperson for the American Red Cross literally compares to meeting a celebrity. We certainly will not be forgetting our time with Mr. Boyle anytime soon!

The day was concluded by walking to the 17th Street building to meet with the President and CEO of the American Red Cross, Gail McGovern. It was such a blessing for us to have the opportunity to meet with someone as passionate as we aspire to be. In the brief moments spent with Mrs. McGovern it was easy to see the vast amount of love and care she dedicates to the Red Cross. We enjoyed learning about her journey through careers to get to where she is today; after asking a few questions, the 2013 class truly became ready to serve as ambassadors to the Red Cross.

The days have gone by incredibly fast and in a few short days we will be heading our own ways back to our college campuses to make a difference. We all came here not knowing what to expect, what the little Red Cross pin truly stands for, and whether or not we have what it takes to be genuine leaders. I can honestly say that I am forever changed by my experience here in Washington at National Headquarters, and I cannot wait to go back a stronger leader and a better person.

Day 10 by Audrey Eisentrout

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Audrey Eisentrout
Audrey Eisentrout Point Park University in Pennsylvania

Hello friends! My name is Audrey Eisentrout and I am a Biological Sciences major and a softball player at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA. I am originally from Cumberland, MD, a small town just two measly hours away from this great city of D.C. At school, I am a member of the leadership team for The Body Christian Fellowship, the Honors Program and the Green and Gold Society. I work as a tutor for biology and chemistry, and have been a genetics lab assistant. I have been earning some volunteer hours with a local physical therapy clinic in hopes of going to PT school after my undergraduate work. I babysit for 3 children during the summer, and I value spending time with family and friends of all ages.

This Wednesday morning began with a trip to the metro station to start our journey to the Newseum. After several of us finished a shot of caffeine from Starbucks and finally realized it was not just a “new museum,” we were ready to begin a morning of discovery. The first film we viewed as a group, learning about the evolution of journalism throughout the ages. As a science geek, I tend to forget the impact and importance these words leave. The film featured a story of the first investigative journalist, a woman named Nellie Bly, who went undercover in a women’s insane asylum to reveal its injustices. Another film I viewed featured the amazing and tragic coverage of 9/11. I couldn’t help but feel a little pride for the influence our country has due to the First Amendment.

One section of the Newseum featured the 5 freedoms of the First Amendment. I honestly couldn’t quote them off the top of my head, but they are freedoms that I exercise daily. The right to freedom of speech, religion, petition, assembly and press are vital to my life as an American. Thank you forefathers! These five freedoms have allowed the people to choose, injustices to be mended, and truth to be told.

After grubbing on some yummy food in the cafeteria and shopping for some souvenirs, we bid our dear friend Hanna good-bye. He has been such a great connection for us all, and a perfect example of someone who has taken on the mission of the Red Cross for life as an employee. Thanks for all the practical advice and the awesome way you’ve engaged in our group Hanna!

It was then time to head back to the office to work on our group and individual projects, scheduled for presentation on Friday. My group has been secretly conspiring something awesome, and I cannot wait to reveal our hard work. I am also so excited to see what my peers have constructed and created!

Mr. Chris Hrounda, the Executive Vice President of Biomedical Services here at the Red Cross came to share some information and advice to our group this afternoon. I am continually amazed at the processes taken to provide safe, effective and plentiful blood supplies to hospitals across America. He reminded us that diversity in skills, flexibility, and getting out of your comfort zone are crucial in success. My nerdy side was intrigued by the Research and Development department of BioMed and the amazing advances they are working at daily, such as growing red blood cells from stem cells and creating cell therapy for cancer patients. We all could leave with one takeaway point – control your attitude, ethic and effort, and good things will eventually happen to you.

After indulging in some buy one, get one free Sprinkles cupcake and some Five Guys burgers for dinner while others spent some precious time at Arlington cemetery, I was able to take an inspirational run around this beautiful city. I was blown away with appreciation for my country, my family, and especially this opportunity. I have been able to stand on steps that presidents have spoken on, run on sidewalks that perhaps heroes like Brian Boyle have trained on, and sat in a organization’s building that has helped countless lives since its beginnings. I am so thankful for the chance to make my own history with the 7th class of the Red Cross/NAIA Collegiate Leadership team!

Day 11 by 1 by Jamie Zimmerer

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Jamie Zimmerer
Jamie Zimmerer College of St. Mary in Nebraska

Hello! My name is Jamie Zimmerer and I am from “the good life” of Nebraska. I grew up in a small town called Plattsmouth but I currently go to school in Omaha, Nebraska at College of Saint Mary. In May of 2016 I will graduate with a masters degree in occupational therapy. Along with being a full time student I take pride in being on the College of Saint Mary softball team where I pitch and play in the outfield. It is such a great experience to be on this team and it also inspires me to be a better student in the classroom as well. I work a lot during the school year at an assisted living facility and at my school gym. In my very limited amount of free time, I love spending time with my family, friends, and of course my 4 puppies!

Where did the time go? Today was our second to last day of the program! Today we all had such a great opportunity to go visit Capitol Hill. This is something I have never gotten to experience before so I was looking forward to going here all week! The Capitol building is remarkable on the outside but words cannot even describe how breathtaking it looks like on the inside. We walked into the visitor center and it was full of statues from different states across the United States. The one that stood out the most to me was one from Hawaii. It was a man with a gold robe with a staff in his hand and a gold crown on his head. He was holding what looked to be ivy leaves in his free hand. The label underneath him said he was the first king of all Hawaii. It was the most colorful and eye-catching statue I saw all day.

We all lined up and entered the Capitol movie theater, where they showed us a 13 minute movie that explained the history of the Capitol building and all the struggles that they had to over come for the building to be where it is at today. After the movie concluded, we got matched up with a tour guide that handed each one of us a funky looking headphone and an amplifier. These allowed us to hear the tour guide the whole tour without her trying to yell over all the many other tours that were going on.

She showed us to a room with a huge dome at the top. The artwork there is immaculate! There was painting after painting around the room, which started from the floor all the way to the top of the dome. We learned about the history behind the paintings, it was crazy to imagine that someone could have painted something that looked so perfect. After that we were led to the old House of Representatives meeting room but it now is converted to a statuary hall. I got to see Nebraska’s one statue in the Capitol of William Jennings Bryant. We ended the tour in the crypt room that encased statues of the original 13 colonies of the United States. When we got back to the main floor of the Capitol, we were led to watch the Senate and the House of Representatives in action. I was shocked by the lack of Senators and Representatives present for the meetings and most of the time while in the two sessions I was very confused by what was going on.

One major thing I learned today is that I need to brush up on my American government. Well we are off to grab some lunch now, Savannah will tell about the rest of our day! This truly has been an amazing experience and I am very grateful for this opportunity. I wouldn’t trade the memories I made here for anything!

Day 11 Part 2 by Savannah Stigers

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Savannah Stigers
Savannah Stigers Midway College in Kentucky

Hi y’all! I’m Savannah Stigers from Frankfort, Kentucky. I go to Midway College in Midway, Kentucky and run cross country and track and also play softball. In May 2015 I will be graduating with my bachelor’s degree of nursing. When I’m not studying or busy with practices, I like to hang out with my friends and family, go fishing, go camping, and watch movies. I am also involved in providing home health care for an elderly couple in Midway. When I first found out about this program, I thought it looked like an awesome experience where I could learn a lot of new leadership skills and more about the American Red Cross. As the second week is coming to an end, I would of never imagined that I could gain so much confidence in myself and new leadership skills that can help me host a blood drive on my campus.

After lunch, we strolled down the sidewalks to get back on the metro to head back to the dorm. When we got back to the dorm, overcoming the devastation that Zumba was cancelled for the night, we all split off into our groups to work on our projects. After a few hours on the projects, some people decided to go work out and others decided to take a nap. We all agreed on meeting at the elevators on our floor at seven, to go meet Brian for a pizza dinner at his hotel. It was bittersweet knowing that this was the last time our whole group would be together having dinner. After some pizza eating contests, playing card games, and talking about each others lives, it seems we have known one another for years. We then headed back to the dorms to finalize some projects and started the sad packing process.

Packing and finalizing projects was the original plan, but it turned into Randon sending out a message to everyone asking if they would like to go play ultimate Frisbee. Before I knew it, we were all walking to a field by the Washington Monument to go play some ultimate Frisbee. Some people were better than others and we had a lot of pretty hardcore/funny falls, but overall we had a great time all hanging out with one another. We slowly walked back to the dorm, being exhausted from our full game of ultimate Frisbee. When we arrived back at the dorm, some did the final touches on their project and others got ready for bed. Overall, it was a great day, with lots of great people. I am so fortunate to of had this experience and excited to see what the future has in store for all 12 of us!

Day 12 by Karli Myers

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Karli Myers
Karli Myers Davenport University in Michigan

Hello! My name is Karli Myers. I was born and raised in the small town of Cedar Springs, Michigan. I go to Davenport University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where I am pursuing my Sports Marketing Degree. I am on the softball team at Davenport. We won our conference tournament this year and went to Lindsey Wilson College for Nationals!

When I’m not at school, I am at home where I like to ride my horse, Classy. Also, I like to hunt, fish, snowmobile, 4-wheel and lay out on the beach.

Sadly, today was our last day at the Red Cross Headquarters. Each group presented on two separate topics to the class. One topic was on conflicts and solutions of a blood drive. The other was about what methods can be used to get volunteers at blood drives. Overall, Tyler Nance, Tiffani Marshall and Sam Bryant had the best presentation overall.

We also spent some time talking about our own individual experiences. Each of us learned something different and new that we’re going to be able to take back to our campuses.

Then, it was time to say goodbye to Brian, starting the rest of the goodbyes that were going to follow. He bid us his best in our journey and we all made a promise to him to keep in touch. He asked me to send him a copy of my softball schedule so he could come see a game. He is our greatest fan in this journey and will be our biggest cheerleader.

Next, the group decided to head to the Jefferson Monument where there was paddle boating. We "accidently" took our life jackets off to get a tan, but were pulled over by the “Paddle Boat Police.” As we were paddling back, we had some people on the bank take our picture and we all got a glimpse of how awful our orange life jackets looked.

As we head off to our last dinner together, I know we are going to laugh about the good stuff, the bad stuff and how much Julie hates mustard. From day one to day twelve, we have all changed and grown. We are now a family; we are intertwined by the experiences of these last twelve days. We have helped each other through obstacles, wonder and knowledge that we couldn’t have learned from anyone else. The family we created is unlike any other family we have had before. We have accepted each other for our strengths and weaknesses. This family is one that will live in our hearts, pictures and the occasional Snap Chat.

My final words to my amazing Red Crossers are,

I love you my beautiful friends! Can’t wait to see the amazing things you do!