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Dear Graduates,

I admire your purposeful engagement with diligence amid many challenges due to the pandemic during your time at BLI. You have learned and also taught us how to meet the uncertainties of our time with grace, courage, kindness, and compassion. I hope you draw inspiration from your reservoir of resilience and strength to navigate future challenges with poise and fortitude to find innovative new solutions to the “big questions” of your times as mindful leaders transforming and empowering your communities. Congratulations! Go Blue!!

Ram Mahalingam, Ph.D.
Director, Barger Leadership Institute

Barger Leadership Institute
Class of 2022

It is with great pride that we announce the Barger Leadership Graduates who have participated in our advanced leadership programming!

Leadership Certificate at the University of Michigan. In collaboration with M-LEAD, the BLI piloted its first semester of the Leadership Certificate this Winter semester. The Leadership Certificate was created to recognize exceptional student leaders on campus who involve themselves in experiential, class-based, and service leadership learning. This year's graduating seniors are:

  • Darica Brazier
  • Kaitlyn Colyer 
  • Sydney Moore
  • Alaa Shahin
  • Magda Wojtara 

The Mindful Leader Fellows comprehensively explored the potential of mindfulness and the principles of dignity to transform how we both think about and practice leadership. Participants developed a personal 'toolkit' of interpersonal and leadership skills and practices that guide their journey to become compassionate, engaged, mindful leaders. This year's graduating seniors are:

  • Kirsten Birman
  • Darica Brazier
  • Bradley Dominguez
  • Jenny Gurung
  • Stephane Fuerst
  • Kathy Pham
  • Juhui Oh

Program Assistants at the BLI serve as the liaisons between the BLI's professional staff and its student members, allowing the Institute to maintain a close connection to the community that we serve. These students deepen their leadership and professional development by working to learn in a fast-paced, collaborative team environment. This year's graduating seniors are:

  • Darica Brazier 
  • Meiru Chen
  • Kaitlyn Colyer
  • Bradley Dominguez
  • Jenny Gurung
  • Michelle Lee
  • Juhui Oh
  • Kathy Pham

Peer Facilitators at the BLI mentor fellow students to develop their leadership, by instructing the BLI leadership courses. These students play a significant role in developing course content, leading discussions, modeling the habits, and supporting student project teams. This year's graduating seniors are:

  • Kaitlyn Colyer
  • Alysa Gould
  • Michelle Lee
  • Yulisa Ortiz
  • Caroline Slack 
  • Rashi Watwani
  • Jake Weissman 
  • Magda Wojtara 
  • Julie Wooldridge 

The Capstone Experience at the BLI supports undergrads with the exploration and development of their ideas. Teams are supported in designing and implementing evidence-based projects that seek to bring about small (and big) wins for the complex, ambiguous problems that exist in our deeply interconnected world. In this 8-month-long experience, BLI provided teams with funding, mentorship, training, and opportunities to master effective leadership habits. This year's graduating seniors are:

  • Adam Aguilar 
  • Breanna Boersma
  • Conor Flood
  • Navdeep Kaur 
  • Maithelee Sathe 
  • Magda Wojtara

On April 12 the BLI hosted our first graduation event to recognize seniors who have participated and contributed to the BLI community.
Here are a few highlights.

Dear BLI Graduates,

Congratulations on your accomplishments and on your upcoming graduation! This is a major milestone in your lives. So I hope you won't rush through it. Take a moment to reflect on where you were when you started at UM, what you have learned, and where you want to go next--and why. As a member of the BLI community, you have had the opportunity to understand the value of mindfulness, and I hope this is a moment when you can be truly present, with your peers and mentors, and others who have helped you get here. This is a big "life moment."

While definitions of leadership can sometimes focus on the leader, I think it is important to focus on the verb at the heart of the words 'leadership' and 'leader': 'to lead.' Leadership is about inspiring others; it is about motivating people toward a shared goal in support of a shared mission. As leaders, may you continue to think about how you can inspire and both foster and celebrate the accomplishments of others. May you lead with wisdom, integrity, and grace.

Congratulations again, and Go Blue!

Anne Curzan
Dean, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts

Favorite BLI Memories

My favorite memory was the pumpkin carving event, where we ate breakfast food and just got to talk and have a good laugh with everyone. The BLI space was super spooky and looked like we were in a scene from Coraline! Anytime I'm at the BLI I feel at home because of the warm people, pro-staff, and the space! - Jenny Gurung

My favorite BLI memory is the 2021 Mindful Leader Retreat. We had a relaxing weekend, made lots of beautiful art, and had wonderful conversations with each other! - Kaitlyn Colyer

I really enjoyed Capstone Bootcamp! The session on "Entering, Engaging, and Exiting Community" from the Ginsberg Center was very insightful. I also learned a lot of important technical/professional skills throughout the program, as well as how to be a more mindful leader. These lessons helped me a lot both within the Capstone program and beyond through my personal career endeavors. - Maithelee Sathe

BLI Graduation Celebration! I enjoyed every moment of it. It was great meeting and seeing everybody in person, as well as their amazing projects. THANK YOU - Alaa Shahin

Overall, I just really enjoyed the way the leadership certificate gave me time to reflect on my experiences in college. In particular, we had to take the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) and talk about our results in both a group and individual session. It was enlightening to see where I fell on the Intercultural Development Continuum, and how I can continue to improve upon myself. And after spending four years at the University learning and growing, it made me critically contemplate how my background still unconsciously affects my behavior. - Sydney Moore

Everything at the Mindful Leader Retreat was so much fun! One morning, I walked down to the lake and saw the sunrise and it was such a beautiful sight. - Kirsten Birman

Detroit Retreat, Eastern Market! - Rashi Watwani