CEL fellows active ‘where theory meets practice’

  • August 24, 2020
  • By WashU Olin Business School
  • 3 minute read

The CEL Fellowship is a leadership opportunity for students who have previously participated in a CEL program and would like to apply their skills to both mentor students and lead a project to impact the center as a whole.

This blog post was compiled by members of the staff from the Center for Experiential Learning and these students: Kayla Greene, BSBA 2022; Charles Gutierrez, MBA 2021; Frankie Hong, MSF 2020; Alex Ignatius, MBA 2021; Hannah Levin, MBA/MSW 2021; Laura Obermeyer, PMBA 2022; Deniz Ozen, BSBA 2021; and Alyssa Pauly, BSBA 2021. Each fellow shares part of their perspective below.

CEL fellows have grown personally and professionally through their engagement with the CEL thus far.

“The CEL provided me support, coaching and guidance for self-reflection that has resulted in immense personal and professional development,” says Hannah. Kayla also notes “I have definitely become a more curious, effective, and action-oriented student and teammate.”

Charles shares that serving as a CEL practicum team lead last semester was the most valuable and rewarding experience in his time at Olin thus far.

Being able to take the lessons and skills learned from courses and past experiences and applying them to real-world business problems was an awesome opportunity to grow as a leader and professional.  

Charles Gutierrez

Alex emphasizes Charles’s point as she worked with a client during the pandemic, stating, “I gained experience in navigating a client crisis, unified a team after we transitioned to remote work, and learned how to take a large and ambiguous problem and break it down.” Deniz shares her experience challenged her to get a “deeper understanding of my values and goals.”

CEL fellows are pursuing this leadership for different reasons.

For Frankie, “the CEL Fellowship provides a great opportunity to maintain engagement with the authentic business world.” Alex adds, “the CEL injects you into the center of a company’s most pressing and complex problems.” Hannah enjoys the team component stating, “Oftentimes, school can feel like a solo endeavor, where we work toward growing our own knowledge and receiving our own grades. The CEL allows us to learn and grow collectively.”

Charles’s involvement last year helped him understand effective leadership as he worked to empower others to bring the best version of themselves to their work. Alyssa would like to encourage others to broaden their perspective as she learned we “cannot ‘fix’ a problem without first understanding and empathizing with the individual experiencing it.”

Additionally, each fellow has specific goals as they move forward in the semester.

Hannah and Alex want to continue to build strong community partnerships on respect, mutuality and a shared vision, and are passionate about delivering best-in-class recommendations to our clients. While Frankie “loves working with people from different cultural backgrounds and unique working styles and is happy to convey the voices from the SMP community to gain a practical team-based consulting experience in the US.”

Laura is eager to engage, noting the effect of the pandemic in that “the CEL will have to go the extra mile,” and Kayla looks forward to “gain some more responsibility and experience in the coordination and managerial side of consulting based problems,” which is exactly what the CEL will need during this time.

Alyssa seeks to leave her mark on the CEL, stating that “the CEL is a place that encourages its students to challenge the current systems and implement the change they want to see at Olin.” Deniz is also excited to continue to “transform my leadership, problem-solving and crisis management and communication skills.” Laura notes “now more than ever, a community focus is of utmost importance to me.”

Each member of the CEL community is committed to a successful and challenging year ahead as together we engage in the space where theory meets practice. We look forward to connecting soon!

For more information on any of our programs, please visit the Center for Experiential Learning website.

Pictured above, clockwise from top left: Kayla Greene, Charles Gutierrez, Frankie Hong, Alex Ignatius, Alyssa Pauly, Laura Obermeyer, Deniz Ozen and Hannah Levin.

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Washington University in Saint Louis

WashU Olin Business School

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