Palmer Award Finalist: Kimberly Elmendorf

071D8A58-A682-4D47-8073-B94CB1AF6270Now that we’ve announced this year’s Palmer Award recipient, TahLea Wright, we are excited to share more LeaderShape goodness by highlighting the finalists for this year’s award. We have three Institute graduates to tell you about, starting with Kimberly Elmendorf from the University of Central Oklahoma.

Kimberly cares deeply about suicide prevention and campus sexual assault prevention. And she has demonstrated a commitment to her vision in so many ways this past year.

As a volunteer with the Crisis Textline, Kimberly participated in 34 hours of training and now serves as a Crisis Counselor for the organization. Through this training, she has learned how to talk with a person who is feeling suicidal, assess their risk, and connect them to resources that will help them where they are at in their lives.

At UCO, Kimberly is a Peer Health Leader. In this role, Kimberly has contributed to a weeklong sexual assault prevention campaign, helped to provide events that teach students to recognize the signs of suicide,  promoted counseling as a mental health tool, and is working to break the stigma of getting help.


Kimberly is also a part of the Institute of Hope. As a member of this organization, Kimberly puts on programs to provide hope to sexual assault survivors, such as a sponsoring a panel of that included their title IX coordinator, an employee from the YWCA, and two survivors. The program provided a safe space to have open and honest discussion with the option to anonymously text questions to the panel.

Please join us in thanking Kimberly for the work she has done on her vision and in the areas of suicide prevention and campus sexual assault prevention so far.

Meet the Interns: Sundas

This summer two new interns have joined our Community Engagement team. We introduced you to Mary Kate yesterday, and today we’re excited for you to learn about Sundas as well! If you are heading to the national session of the Institute on July 28, Sundas will be there serving as the On-Site Coordinator the session. For now, we hope you enjoy getting to know more about her here.

IMG-8842Hello everyone! My name is Sundas Shahid and I am very excited to be part of the Community Engagement team at LeaderShape! I recently graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) with Bachelor of Arts in Strategic Communication and Photographic Arts. My time at UCO was filled with life long memories and friendships. Throughout my undergraduate collegiate career, I was fortunate to be involved on campus. Some of my involvement included being part of the Student Programming Board executive team, Orientation Leader, Leaders of Tomorrow leadership council, multicultural honor society president and served as the On-Site Coordinator for UCO’s Institute session by LeaderShape. These experiences helped shape me into the person and leader that I am today which is why I decided to continue my education and pursuing Masters of Higher Education and Student Affairs at Loyola University Chicago.

I was born and raised in Saudi Arabia and my parents are from Pakistan, so growing up I got to be part of a unique mix of cultures. My family and I moved to United States mid-summer of 2006 so that we could get the best education as possible. My wonderful family consists of my parents, two older brothers, two older sisters, and one younger sister, making me the middle child of the family! I am a big corny jokes and corgi dog enthusiast!


How did you get connected to LeaderShape?
When I was a sophomore, one of my advisors strongly encouraged me to attend the Institute. Little did I know how much that experience was going to impact me for the long run. The following year I was honored and selected to serve as the session’s On-Site Coordinator, making this as one of my first major executive positions on campus. This experience taught me so much about what it means to be a leader and helped me gain so much confidence. The next year, I was very fortunate to get an opportunity to serve as the On-Site Coordinator again. LeaderShape transformed my college experience and helped me connect with so many individuals who not only lead but also live with integrity. 

What is something from your involvement with LeaderShape that you continue to apply or work towards in your life? 
One of the biggest things that stuck with me after all my experiences through LeaderShape is the foundation of the value of one, the power of all. LeaderShape taught me the importance of empowerment of others while also building ourselves. Every day I remind myself that evolving others happy best the we evolve ourselves.

If you could speak to everyone in the world at the same time, what would you say?
I would take this opportunity to encourage everyone to spread more kindness around us. To take every moment we have and be resilience.

Meet the Interns: Shelby

Just last fall, two new interns joined us in our work at LeaderShape. They are focusing on community engagement and marketing and have spent the past couple of months laying the groundwork for some exciting opportunities that will kick off in February (stay tuned!).

Although much of what they do is behind the scenes work, we want to put them front and center so you can learn more about them. Last week we introduced Precious. Now it’s time to meet Shelby.

Shelby_ConnorsCenterHi, I’m Shelby! I was born and raised in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. I am a senior at the University of Central Oklahoma, double majoring in Dance Performance and Strategic Communications, with a minor in Leadership. (Go Bronchos!) On campus, I have been involved with several student organization including New Broncho Orientation, Sigma Kappa Sorority, Homecoming Activities Board, the Big Event, the Leaders of Tomorrow, and the Kaleidoscope Dance Company. Additionally, I serve as the Marketing Intern for the office of Student Engagement. My hobbies include dancing, traveling, reading, writing, design, baking, and being outdoors.


How did you get connected to LeaderShape?
I got connected to LeaderShape in March of 2014 when I was asked to be an On-Site Coordinator for UCO’s first session of the Institute. In preparation, I had the privilege to attend the national session of the Institute in Boston, MA in May of 2014.

What is something from your involvement from LeaderShape that you continue to apply or work towards in your life?
One of the most valuable takeaways I have from LeaderShape is the notion of living in possibility. This simple idea has changed my perspective on what it means to lead others and how to encourage them to live out their dreams.

If you could speak to everyone in the world at the same time, what would you say?
If I had the opportunity to speak to everyone in the world at the same time, I would simply tell them to realize how fleeting their life is. I would encourage them to serve the people they love, pursue their passions, and to be kind to one another.

Could you share a quote that you find particularly motivating or inspiring?
“A ship in harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are for.” William G.T. Shedd
“It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.” Albus Dumbledore