Xiomara (CieCie) Leonard2017-12-14T19:14:30+00:00

Project Description

NIRSA Elections
NIRSA Elections

Candidate for Region IV Student Leader

Xiomara (CieCie) Leonard
Texas A&M University- Commerce

Biography/Summary Resume

Xiomara Leonard, also known as CieCie, started her journey in collegiate recreation at the University of Florida by joining the competitive cheerleading club while receiving her degree in applied physiology and kinesiology. She then found their fitness program and fell in love. She worked her way up the fitness totem pole where she last received the position of Program Assistant for Strength and Conditioning. In that year, she joined the NIRSA family and began to attend and present at these conferences. CieCie is now the current Fitness and Wellness Graduate Assistant at Texas A&M University – Commerce earning her master’s in exercise science.

Please provide a statement of your personal views on the role and contributions of collegiate recreation in higher education and the impact it has had on your personal development.

College is a time when students learn and define who they are and grow into people that will take on their world’s greatest challenges. It is also the time where they are most vulnerable to good and bad influences. Collegiate recreation contributes well to the higher education of these students in a positive manner. In my opinion, it offers them a place of inclusion, relationship building, improvement in leadership, and experience with healthy competition. Through all its programs, collegiate recreation embraces this inclusion through diversity by finding activities for members of all different backgrounds. This provides the education of acceptance and inclusivity for these students to absorb. This then allows them to understand how to form relationships with those like and unlike themselves. Collegiate recreation also assists in opportunities for growth in leadership by shaping students to be situational leaders. A situational leader is one who adjusts their leadership style to fit its followers’ needs or causes the leader to become the follower.

Last, with healthy competition these members are exposed to conflict management and other soft skills that no classroom can teach. I truly believe that collegiate recreation aids and supports students in the growth of students’ higher education by challenging them through different opportunities, experiences, and environments that cannot be replicated by other campus departments. In my personal development, collegiate recreation has pushed me to seek opportunity, handle stress with grace, be restorative and form relationships, and network more comfortably. Through different departments of recreation, I have learned that opportunity to grow is not just going to “land in your lap.” Improvement is something you must find and want through different experiences. Moreover, my mentors and colleagues in recreation have taught me to see stress as an obstacle that can easily be tamed. Through perseverance and focus, stress is nothing that can’t be overcome.

Additionally, I have seen that one of my strengths is to be restorative. Being restorative means that one enjoys solving issues and conflict. My experience has enhanced this strength of mine. Likewise, it has granted me countless occasions to form meaningful relationships with my students, colleagues, and superiors that are invaluable. All in all, collegiate recreation has helped me and others to acquire soft skills and values that will help them define who they are and become true professionals to take on any task at hand.

In describing your contributions to the Member Network, NIRSA, and the students, identify how your involvement and experiences meet the position criteria and qualify you to serve NIRSA in this role.

I have had the privilege of being a part of the NIRSA family for about a year now. In my undergrad experiences, I could mentor a few students to become part of the NIRSA network and now I have had the opportunity to guide more students around NIRSA and involve them to a greater extent by becoming a graduate assistant. Within my position as a program assistant in my undergrad, I was directly supervising 123 students and led trainings for 300+ students at a time. With such a large group of students, I was able to keep constant communication as well as collaborate with a wide range of students in other areas of collegiate recreation such as competitive sports and facilities. In both my undergraduate and graduate experience I was and can design, plan, and coordinate events in and outside of my area of expertise. Some examples are group fitness events, adventure races, or events outside of our campus recreation walls.

Recently, I implemented an outreach system that brings group fitness classes to and holds them for student organizations across campus. Being a graduate assistant has allowed me to facilitate monthly and bi-weekly meetings as well as trainings with all my staff. Furthermore, within NIRSA, I was just able to present at our Region IV conference twice this year and attend student Lead-On. It was a great experience speaking to professionals and students. I really felt I grabbed their attention with my fancy ice breakers and spark activities and kept them engaged with my passion for each topic. It was also very rewarding to develop our own values in the Student Lead-On with other students in Region IV. To summarize, my communication, ability to engage, dedication, responsibility, and passion to challenge myself and others in and outside of NIRSA helps me to form partnerships and promote student development.

As a Student Leader of NIRSA, you have the opportunity to leave a lasting impact on the field of collegiate recreation. What skills, talents, and perspectives would you bring to the Student Leadership Team?

My entire life I continue to evolve as a leader. Whether it was through my club cheerleading vice presidency, volunteering, being a UCA cheerleading staffer, a circus professional, or my leadership in campus recreation, all have helped me grow, discover, connect, lead, and play. These experiences have allowed me to expand on my talent to be restorative, my skill to relate, and my strength of individualization. Being restorative has proven my love to solve problems. When those around me have a breakdown, I become energized. This talent has shown them I really love bringing things back together and back to life. This talent is perfect to assist other NIRSA leaders with issues they may be facing and aid in the collaboration among state, leader, and students throughout the NIRSA family. My ability to relate describes my attitude towards relationships. I truly find a thrill in relating to people and helping others relate to each other. I believe this strength will thrive when helping students make those connections among their peers throughout Region IV as well as professionals. This also speaks for my desire to communicate and be reliable for those who need it. In using this strength, I am able to assist in the pairing of mentors, promote student involvement throughout NIRSA and collaborate and communicate to other leaders.

Finally, my sense of individualization. This perspective is not one most have. I strive to focus on the individual and what makes them unique, how they are motivated, how they think, and how they build relationships. This explains my ability to tailor my teaching style to those around me and pick out those who are a great asset to the team. This perspective would do well in the selection and supervision of other student leaders. By recognizing other leader’s strengths, we can maximize productivity and gain more movement throughout NIRSA especially in Region IV.

NIRSA Elections: Xiomara (CieCie) Leonard