WCSU prepares students for leadership roles

DANBURY, CONN. — Four recent graduates of Western Connecticut State University became the first students at the university to complete the Leadership, Compassion and Creativity (LCCC) program.

Krista Verrastro of Oakville, Alexis Koukos of Danbury, Nicole Mair of Milford, and Francesca Golightly of New Fairfield earned the certificate by exploring values of leadership, compassion and creativity across all disciplines and with people from all communities. Students learn to lead sympathetically by understanding that people learn and succeed through different avenues of guidance. While the program is designed for students to complete in two to three years, these four students needed to work quickly since the program was created and introduced to students in the fall of 2015.

Verrastro, who majored in elementary education, took all 12 of the workshop courses.

“I’m planning to be a teacher, so I can implement much of what I learned in my career,” she said. “I wanted to be a more creative and compassionate leader, which is important when you are teaching. To thrive as a teacher, creativity is a necessity. My creativity has been enhanced in ways I never imagined.”

Mair, who majored in economics and was also this year’s undergraduate commencement speaker, said she learned to look on her past experiences with a new perspective and became more purposeful in pursuing her goals.

“The program will help me in my career because it allowed me to experience new leadership positions on campus,” Mair said. “It also taught me how important it is to continue learning in order to be an effective leader.”

Koukos graduated with a degree in accounting, but is taking a nontraditional career path and is looking for opportunities that will include her other passions of writing and teaching. She became interested in the LCCC program in its infancy stage of ideas and possibilities.

“As soon as the program began, I realized I had the opportunity to take some interesting classes that made me think differently and expanded my horizons,” Koukos said. “I attended workshops that taught me how to handle stress, understand the experiences of students with dyslexia and organize a toy drive for children in need. These experiences taught me compassion for everyone around me. Everyone is facing a battle that you may not know about; it is up to you to show that person kindness and compassion.”

The purpose of the LCCC program is to, among other things, establish a community of learners working together not only to better themselves, but also one another.

For more information on the program, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486 or to go http://www.wcsu.edu/leadership/.



Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.


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