Students reflect on the National Student Leadership Conference at Berkeley

Students aboard the US West Coast study tour recently participated in the National Student Leadership Conference program at Berkeley. Over several days, students engaged in psychology and neuroscience, business and entrepreneurship, engineering and medicine and healthcare sessions.

The National Student Leadership Conference allows international students from Years 9-12 to gain a sense of what further study and a career in these fields could look like and, for our students, was a fantastic opportunity to deep-dive into their favoured subjects.

The sessions, led by leadership facilitator, Mike Walsh, saw students work collaboratively on projects with like-minded individuals from across the globe and learn the UC Berkeley characteristics of leadership.

During the psychology and neuroscience sessions, students enjoyed guest speakers including a marriage therapist, art therapist and neurobiologist. Meanwhile, during the business and entrepreneurship sessions, students were required to prepare a stakeholder analysis presentation in conjunction with a product pitch.

“These tasks taught us to work collaboratively and negotiate with other brands to gain deals that were in the best interests of all parties involved,” said Year 11 student, Shaurya Prabhakar. “We also engaged in various activities including a talent show and social media madness challenge, which saw us apply our leadership knowledge and build meaningful connections with others.”

Year 11 student, Rupert Archer, attended the engineering sessions, which saw students learn practical skills including soldering and programming.

“Mike Walsh taught us effective ways to lead groups and we were encouraged to put those skills to practise during team projects, such as while building a remote-control car from PVC pipe,” said Rupert. “Overall, the program has prepared us to become future leaders at our chosen universities.”

For Year 11 student, Haley Yang, the program was at first intimidating. However, throughout the process, she developed new friendships and formed strong and meaningful bonds with those she worked with in the medicine and healthcare sessions.

“During the National Leadership Conference program, we had access to medical institutions where we practised medical skills on dummies and learned about possible medical pathways for future careers, including research,” said Haley. “Overall, the program allowed us to learn more about our passions, build on our networking and social skills and lead by example.”

In addition to their industry-specific sessions, students attended leadership lectures, during which they developed their communication and leadership skills. These skills will see them through the remainder of their journey at Clarendon and position them to succeed in their chosen pathway when they graduate.

As students soak up the final days of their study tour before departing on Friday, they immersed themselves in the local culture while attending a baseball match between the Seattle Mariners and San Francisco Giants. Ballarat Clarendon College was formally welcomed by the Giants, appearing on the big screen during the match.

We are proud of our students for making the most of all opportunities while on their tour, particularly during the conference. We look forward to welcoming them back to campus next week and learning more about their experiences.