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The Next Step for Rising Campus Leaders

Congratulations to our ASCEND Retreat 2018 Cohort! We are excited to see what these amazing student leaders will do with their time at Vanderbilt. Thank you for all of your hard work, and we hope to see you around campus!

ASCEND Retreat 2018 Cohort

Justin Banks
Susmita Chennareddy
Caleb Larmey
Pancho Mackin-Plankey
Rachel Miles
Simon Obi
Carter Powers
Sangami Pugazenthi
Jesse Pullen
Swarna Sakshi
Ruiy Shah
Carter Williams
Dallas Wilson
Brandon Wong


ASCEND’s Program Model has Changed!

Previously, ASCEND has been a 9-week cohort-based program where students meet weekly and address a different aspect of the Social Change Model of Leadership. To further align with the University and Dean of Students Priorities, our office will be offering more coaching and personalized developmental experiences. As part of this shift in focus, ASCEND has transitioned to an overnight leadership retreat and students will have an opportunity to continue their relationship with our staff through one-on-one and organizational coaching. Rising juniors and campus leaders will remain the target audience for this experience. Our ideal participant would also include someone who is intentionally investing in their personal growth, while also looking to invest in others.

Through ASCEND, students will:

  1. Develop skills that will allow students to become more impactful leaders in their current and future roles
  2. Engage in self-inquiry and reflection
  3. Discover strategies to improve peer accountability within organizations
  4. Build relationships among student leaders to promote collaboration and address larger campus issues
  5. Create a free and open space to discuss current issues in your organizations and how to resolve them

Application Process and Time Commitment

Applications for the 2018 ASCEND Cohort will be available on Anchor Link on March 12 and are due April 2 at midnight. Students will be notified of next steps in the application process by April 4. Next steps include a group interview. Decisions will be communicated by April 18. The overnight retreat will take place on September 7-8. Following the retreat, one-on-one and organizational coaching will be offered, but not required. We hope you will consider joining us and apply for ASCEND 2018!

Please contact Keaton Smith at  with any questions about ASCEND.




Congratulations to our Fall 2017 ASCEND cohort!

Nick Belsten Agatha Fenech Lo Meisel
Mitesh Bhalani Stephanie Julitz Kyle Money
Henry Bristol Lanier Langdale Connor Morency
Somto Dimobi Julia Mancini Ayo Sanusi


















Congratulations to our Fall 2016 Cohort!

We enjoyed working alongside these 13 student leaders across Vanderbilt’s campus to research and discuss relevant themes in effort to create social change within Vanderbilt’s campus culture.

Thanks to Mary Casey, Kathryn Speckels, Elizabeth Winter, Olivia Solow-Niederman, Alison Andrade, Derek Brody, Madison Maderious, Simone Charley, Zachary Kleiman, Kenya Wright, Andrew Brodsky, Briana Francois, and Robert Travis! 

Congratulations to our Fall 2015 Cohort!

We had a fantastic group of 13 students start and complete the ASCEND program! These student leaders represented a diverse range of student organizations across Vanderbilt’s campus and will continue to make a huge impact in their student organizations and the greater Vanderbilt campus.

Thanks to Caley Caito, Taylor Gutierrez, Ariana Fowler, Kevin Calamari, Allee Smith, Annie Carforo, Maggie King, Jennifer Chou, Jude Cohen, Musbah Shaheen, Joe Zehentbauer, Courtney Squires, and Benjamin Kitchens for participating and presenting fantastic capstone presentations!

 What do your peers think about ASCEND?

“ASCEND was the first time in my life that I was encouraged not to lead or perform, but, rather, to sit down and think about how I lead and how I perform. That space for reflection was critical in recognizing my flaws and honing my skills as a leader.”

“This was absolutely a fantastic program, and I am so happy I got to be a part of it. Thank you!”

“I loved hearing about leadership from real-world leaders at Vanderbilt and beyond (when else can you have a one-on-one conversation with a Provost??). I also really benefited from hearing from fellow students in the cohort on how THEY led their respective organizations. It’s easy to get swept up in your own clubs and commitments in the day-to-day grind, and ASCEND was a place to really open up and connect with a broader campus.”