Worcester, MA -- Two Worcester State junior student-athletes, Angela Grassetti and Terrence Gibson, recently participated in the NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum from November 7-10 held in Providence, Rhode Island.
Along with WSU Assistant to the Athletic Director for Academic Support, Kelly Downs, the trio were among more than 350 student-athletes who were identified as leaders on their campuses and 125 athletics professionals from all corners of the Northeast region.
The forum was designed for student-athletes to discuss key issues collectively and to provide them with an opportunity to enhance personal awareness and leadership skills to positively impact their development at both the campus and conference levels.
Student-athletes were exposed to different subjects such as behavioral styles, branding, issues regarding social media, decision making, emotional intelligence and values. Each subject was designed to help make the student-athletes more effective leaders and motivators when they went back to their respective campuses.
Regarding the experience, Grassetti said that she took a lot away from the Leadership Forum as a team captain of the women's lacrosse team.
"I learned a lot about how to be a good leader," said Grassetti. "Being a leader isn't just about being outgoing and loud. It's also about listening to what other people have to say.
"We learned a lot about about different styles of leadership: Yours, other peoples, how different they are and how you can try to work together."
Gibson, one of the captains on the men's indoor and outdoor track and field team, said that he took a lot away from the guest speakers - Herren and DuBose. He mentioned that he was enthralled by Herren, who talked about his life dealing with substance abuse and DuBose, who contracted meningococcal meningitis and was told she had to have all four limbs amputated just before the end of her freshman year of college.
"Listening to a story like Herren's was someone who was on top of the world and then it was taken away just like that," said Gibson, with a snap of his fingers. "You really can't take anything for granted. You have to be grateful for what you have.
"I was amazed that DuBose never complained once about her situation. She was so cheerful and enthusiastic with a smile on her face the whole time. Her story makes me think twice about being late for practice because of what she has to do just to get up and ready in the morning with prosthetics and make-up."
Grassetti also was intrigued by what DuBose had to say about being true to yourself.
"She stressed how important it was to be yourself," said Grassetti. "You are your own leader. You have to be comfortable in your own skin. Despite her illness and situation, she never changed the kind of person she was."
As the Vice President of the Worcester State Student Athlete Advisory committee (SAAC), Grassetti said she took back a couple of ideas that she wanted to try to incorporate for the upcoming year.
"I gathered a lot of ideas about how to get SAAC more involved in the community - especially with Special Olympics - and about how we can try to get the campus more involved as a department," said Grassetti.
Gibson talked about how he met a lot of new faces and how he wanted to try to bring the Worcester State community closer together.
"I made a lot of new friends in a three day period and met people who I hardly knew at all," said Gibson. "I want to try to take back the idea of spreading the same camaraderie for our athletics teams on campus so that we can get to know each other a lot better.
"Along with supporting what SAAC is trying to do to improve school spirit, I think we need to have a pep rally or an event or two like that. Once everyone knows each other we'll be that much more inclined to support each other and to go to each others games."
Grassetti made a strong point when she mentioned what kind of leadership role she wanted to assume on the women's lacrosse team this spring.
"I now understand a little bit more about what kind of leader I am and about the different styles of my other co captains. I now know how we can do a better job of working together and how we can try to make our season successful," said Grassetti.
Pictured Top (Left to Right): Angela Grassetti, Terrence Gibson and Kelly Downs
Pictured Below: MASCAC student-athletes and representatives at NCAA Leadership Forum