Gugeeta Cheetram, a second year Human services major at Guttman Community College, has been a model student leader and an incredible addition to the energy within the Student Leadership and Campus Life office. I have worked with her directly as both her supervisor through our work study program, where she serves as Office Assistant, and as advisor, where she has served as both the inaugural president of the SPARK Club and a Student Government Association secretary.
Her growth, these past two years have been meteoric. In my 20+ years working in education with students, Gugeeta's path to leadership has been exceptional. All of her work is grounded in service to her community, her peers, and her college. She has stepped up when asked to represent the Guttman student perspective before various panels and stakeholders and each time she has demonstrated through the power of her words, the impact that leadership has had on her life and ability to be a good student and servant leader. All of her efforts are to ensure that the needs of the students are met and that Guttman continues to fight to put student interests and needs at the forefront of our decision making.
Within my family education is extremely valuable because having access to higher education was not an option for my grandparents or parents, but it was possible for me. Throughout my education, I have encountered many different opportunities to be the advocate for students and had the support system of my teachers. Being actively involved on a college campus as a student leader has fueled my interest in civic engagement greatly. During my tenure as a student leader, I have been able to advocate on behalf of student's rights, volunteering to help build a better community and attending CUNY-wide conferences. These experiences are some of the many ways I have found to encourage the power within myself.
The following quote from Miguel Centeno, Vice Chair National Urban Fellow Inc., given during the Emerging Leadership Conference 2018, "leadership is a selfless job; a selfless duty. The moment you become selfish you are no longer a leader", touched my heart. It has shaped my behavior and commitment to foster selflessness. This is the character trait I am most fond of.