With over 650 student organizations and numerous leadership positions at the University of Maryland, there are innumerable opportunities for finding a group that is compatible for you. However, obtaining a leadership role at one of UMD’s student-led organizations requires immense passion and commitment.
While getting involved with leadership roles is a diverting way to grow your social circle on campus, it is also an important method of demonstrating commitment to a group or organization. When it comes to applying for a career following graduation, a leadership role you obtained in your undergraduate education can be effective in making an application compelling to employers.
Torie Tran is a sophomore psychology major at the University of Maryland. Tran currently holds the role of vice president of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) for two organizations at UMD, through joining the executive board for both The Women's Network and Alpha Phi.
Leadership positions are commonly taken advantage of due to the long term professional benefits and experience in which they provide. Tran is planning to get her Ph.D. in clinical psychology and believes that both of her roles align with what her future career will entail.
“I think people should get involved with executive positions because it gives them a sense of responsibility and knowing that they have a job to do,” Tran said.
Earlier this semester, when an opportunity for the position of vice president of DEI opened up for The Women's Network, Tran decided to apply and shortly after received notice that she had been accepted for the position.
The Women's Network is the largest collegiate women's networking organization in North America and operates on over 120 college campuses, including the University of Maryland. Obtaining a leadership position with a large scale organization such as The Women's Network, is a valuable method of gaining access to a network of connections and resources.
Payton Furr is a senior operation management and business analytics major with a minor in leadership studies. Furr has recently been elected as vice president of The Women's Network, moving up from her former position as vice president of finance with the organization which she held last year. According to Furr, her two positions on the executive board have been effective in showcasing the confidence she has as a professional.
“I wanted to have as many experiences and involvement opportunities, showing and highlighting my leadership skills and a variety of different roles,” Furr said.
Both Tran and Furr feel being a part of the executive board has improved their skill when it comes to making important decisions for the betterment of the group and leading as a role model to others.
Though clubs and organizations such as The Women's Network provide many opportunities to get involved with leadership roles, UMD Greek life is another outlet that allows for students to apply for executive board positions.
UMD’s fraternity and sorority community is home to 52 chapters across four governing councils. Last spring, Tran was initiated as a member of Alpha Phi, a chapter within the Panhellenic Association that offers a network of leadership opportunities.
Tran also obtains a DEI position for Alpha Phi where she is given additional opportunities to create a positive impact on her campus community. Part of Tran’s position requires her to oversee and lead several appointed positions including the director of Diversity and the director of Community Engagement. Sophomore animal science major Ellie Muñoz, was appointed as the director of diversity at Alpha Phi. Appointed positions, though typically not as large of a commitment as an executive position, are an additional way to show involvement and leadership in an organization.
Muñoz works closely with Tran and recognizes the importance of their positions in creating an inclusive and aware chapter environment.
“It's really important that as a traditionally white organization, we have a position such as Torie’s on the executive board. Torie creates a space for people of different cultures and ethnicities to feel included and heard,” Muñoz said.
The advantages that result from acquiring a leadership position are numerous. Regardless of the variation of leadership role you are seeking, you are destined to discover a position that fits your liking within the dense opportunities available at the University of Maryland.
“Once you jump into a new opportunity, everything else kind of falls into place. You want to succeed in your position because you're surrounded by other successful people in their positions,” said Furr.