Dr. Elizabeth Gilbert

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I am a first-generation student, I am a person of multiracial descent, and I am a woman. I am also a four-term elected student leader, and I am one of the few, and in some cases, only person with these identities to ever serve in my leadership roles at the University of Northern Colorado. The development and configuration of these identities throughout my undergraduate tenure posed significant tension as I navigated college as both a private student and a public leader with responsibilities and relational ties to multiple campus populations whose perception and reception of one another often incites conflict. I reflect on my journey of multiple identity development in the context of elected campus student leadership and place my micro-level experience in the context of macro-level changes in our political and social campus landscape that have occurred during my time on campus, including four Student Senate administrations, two University Presidents, and increased student political activism and civic engagement. My reflection is grounded in theory within the current body of literature related to the experiences of college students, people of color, and campus student leaders related to the issues of identity and leadership development. I include David Kolb’s (1984) Experiential Learning Model, Corey Seemiller’s (2014) Student Leadership Competencies, Komive’s (2005) Leadership Identity Development Theory, and national nonprofit Break Away’s Active Citizen Continuum. Recommendations to leverage these experiences after my undergraduate career as a career professional and citizen of my community conclude this work.

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