Students from the Jo Wilson Leadership Institute at Benedictine University at Mesa enhance their education by experiencing the inner workings of government

April 15, 2015

Mesa, Arizona ~ Guadalupe Martinez learned that having a passion to serve and being a good listener are key components to civil service.

Martinez, a freshman who is majoring in Management and Organizational Behavior at Benedictine University at Mesa, job shadowed City of Mesa councilman David Luna on January 26. Martinez plans to apply some of the organizational conduct and business etiquette she observed to her own career pursuits.

“I had some preconceptions about being a council member, which consisted of long hours at the office and even longer city council meetings,” Martinez said. “Once I shadowed Mr. Luna, I learned that being a council member is only a part-time job as he also works for Mesa Public Schools. He clarified for me that there are different council members for each district.”

Martinez is one of 17 participants in the University’s Jo Wilson Leadership Institute, a premier program designed to impart leadership skills to highly scholared students. Martinez’s job shadowing experience demonstrated the level of knowledge and leadership skills required to serve a diverse community with disparate interests.

“As a council member, Mr. Luna’s mission is to unify the community and make Mesa even better,” Martinez said. “What I took from shadowing him is that if I want something done in the community, the city council members are always there to listen.

“Moreover, I need to have a passion for what I do, because it doesn't matter how much I have on my plate as long as I love it,” she added. “Finally, as a college student, I need to network. I have met several new people from the community who could help me down the road with more volunteer opportunities and internships.”

Through its academic programs and the Jo Wilson Leadership Institute, Benedictine University at Mesa provides a values-based education, combining classroom achievement with hands-on experiences and community service.

Students are encouraged to be active on campus and within the community to enhance learning and develop holistically as citizens and global leaders.

Martinez believes the service components of her education provide vital experiences.

“Another service activity I performed through the leadership program was serving as a volunteer on the Mesa United Way panel, where I assessed various agencies,” she said. “Mesa United Way assists with the financial aspects for various agencies in the City of Mesa that are trying to help better our community.

“For example, Arizona Brainfood is an organization that gives a backpack with food for the weekend to about 50 of the neediest children in every Mesa elementary school. They sought funding help from Mesa United Way so they can continue feeding children and help them be more productive at school.

“Through this, I was given the opportunity to help my community,” Martinez added. “All of the Mesa United Way panel members were professionals, including one who offered to be a reference for me.”

For more information about Benedictine University at Mesa, please visit ben.edu/mesa or contact us at mesa@ben.edu or (602) 888-5533. The University is accepting applications for fall 2015 enrollment.

Benedictine University at Mesa is a branch campus of Benedictine University, an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago. Founded in 1887, Benedictine is ranked No. 1 among the country’s fastest-growing campuses between 2002-2012 in The Chronicle of Higher Education’s list of private nonprofit doctoral institutions, and Forbes magazine named Benedictine among “America’s Top Colleges” for the fourth consecutive year in 2014.

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