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Student Leadership Research Collaborative Empowers Future Leaders

Student Leadership Research Collaborative Empowers Future Leaders
Megan Anthony

Six Canal Winchester High School students are developing their leadership skills as part of the Student Leadership Research Collaborative, an opportunity offered to local students through The Ohio State University. The participants—Zainab Waseem, Ava Riddle, Gabriella Sims, Kylen Martino, Chance Newsome, and Alakee Badaru—are in the first year of a journey to become change leaders in their schools and communities through the program.

The SLRC provides students with a structured platform to research, discuss, and solve issues they identify. The CWHS group researched inequitable access to graphing calculators and the impact that can have on science and math grades. They presented their findings and proposed solutions on May 14 through a capstone project and oral presentation to a crowd of more than 300 Central Ohio high school students, district, and special guests from the Ohio School Board Association, as well as Superintendent Kiya Hunt and Principal Steve Cvetanovich.

Through the SLRC program, participants learn essential skills and form valuable relationships, enabling them to lead effectively. This school year, the Collaborative included eight sessions of hands-on activities, simulations, and work groups designed to foster collaboration and innovative thinking. The program was created by OSU Instructional Facilitator Dr. Keith Bell and is co-run with Dr. Adam Voight, an Associate Professor of Educational Studies, Research, and Technology at Cleveland State University.

Additionally, students will be able to share ideas with peers from other districts, learn from youth advocates, community experts, and school administrators, and work closely with The Ohio State University, student mentors, and district teams.
This year marks the beginning of a two-year journey for our students. In Year 1, the focus is on Leadership, Research, and Advocacy. High school sophomores and juniors investigate issues at their schools using Youth Participatory Action Research methods and other quantitative and qualitative research techniques. 

As the students move into Year 2, the emphasis shifts to authentic action. Next year’s juniors and seniors will put their ideas into action and mentor new Collaborative students. Participants will learn to raise awareness about their research and influence decision-makers to act on their recommendations. They will also conduct statewide research in partnership with the First Year Student Leadership Initiative students, with support from the Kirwan Institute at OSU.

This initiative is a fantastic opportunity for our students to develop leadership skills, engage in meaningful research, and make a tangible impact on their schools and communities. We are excited to see the positive changes that Zainab, Ava, Gabriella, Kylen, Chance, and Alakee will bring through their participation in the Student Leadership Research Collaborative!