WSU Presidential Leadership Fellows Host Open House

OGDEN, Utah – Weber State University’s Presidential Leadership Fellows will host an open house event for the campus community to meet the current and alumni fellows on Nov. 10 from 4-5 p.m in the Shepherd Union Atrium. Established in 2018, the program helps students strengthen their leadership skills and deepen their engagement by supporting and representing the president and the university at campus and community events.

“By sharing their experiences and perspectives, the fellows help us to share the powerful impact of their Weber State experience with stakeholders at all levels,” said Brad Mortensen, WSU president. “Their insights as current students also provide informative guidance for university leaders in our decision-making and strategy to serve students better.”

Mariia Volkanova, who is majoring in both health promotion and history, is one of the many students who has benefited from being part of the program, gaining the confidence and skills needed to be an effective leader in her community.

After moving to Utah with her family from Ukraine, a friend introduced Volkanova to WSU, and she fell in love with the campus community. At the time, she thought college would be a possibility only for her young son, but through the friend’s help, she discovered the many opportunities WSU had to offer and was able to begin her educational journey in 2015.

“Becoming a student and earning a degree was one of the biggest desires of my heart,” Volkanova said. “When I found out I was eligible for FAFSA and could start my education at WSU, it was one of the happiest days of my life.”

Volkanova joined Weber State almost six years ago, studying diligently to maintain an almost perfect GPA while also taking care of her family and participating in many extracurricular activities. Her grit and dedication have not gone unnoticed by her faculty and peers.

One of Volkanova’s professors recognized her potential and recommended her for the Presidential Leadership Fellows program. After applying and going through the interview process, Volkanova was accepted and joined the 2020-21 cohort of fellows.

“This amazing program helped me develop new leadership skills and learn a lot of helpful information about professional and personal growth,” she said. “We also did a fundraiser for A Center for Grieving Children in Ogden, which made me very happy and gave me experience in fundraising and community engagement.”

Approximately 12 students are chosen each year. Participants are expected to maintain a strong GPA, as well as demonstrate a commitment to their academic pursuits and to be louder and prouder about their educational experience at Weber State.

Throughout the year, the group attends meetings and events with WSU President Brad Mortensen, giving them a unique platform to share their experience with university stakeholders, such as the Board of Trustees, local government officials and the community.

“The fellows program is another example of how Weber State gives students a unique, wholesome learning experience that will prepare them for countless academic, leadership and career opportunities,” said Steven Richardson, Presidential Leadership Fellows’ principal advisor.

The Nov. 10 open house is also an opportunity for the fellows to put into action what they learned at the prior month's meeting about networking. All are welcome to attend.

For more information about the Presidential Leadership Fellows, visit

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Steven Richardson, Presidential Leadership Fellows’ principal advisor
801-626-7454 •


Shaylee Stevens, Office of Marketing & Communications
801-626-7948 •