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Friday, September 20, 2013 - Students connect, prepare for career with “Leadership OU”
By Eric Reikowski, media relations assistant

Oakland University's Office of Alumni Engagement is launching a new program to help students make the transition from academia to the professional world. Dubbed “Leadership OU,” the initiative provides junior and senior students with an array of mentoring, leadership and networking opportunities in collaboration with OU alumni and community partners.

In a series of monthly presentations, government and business leaders – including several OU alumni – will discuss their careers and offer insights on how to succeed in the professional world.

“We wanted to create a program that presented students with connections to alumni and gave them a glimpse at what leadership looks like after graduation,” said Maria Willett, student engagement and outreach coordinator. “By networking with successful community leaders, students will be better prepared for the challenges they will face beyond the classroom.”

Leadership OU speakers include:

  • Bryan Barnett, SBA ’98, mayor of Rochester Hills
  • George Jackson, president and CEO of Detroit Economic Growth Corporation
  • Sheri Heiney, executive director of the Rochester Chamber of Commerce 
  • David McGhee, CAS ’05, congressional liaison for U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee
  • Razzaaq McConnor, SBA ’01, executive business planner for Chrysler Corporation. 

During the program – which runs from October 2013 through April 2014, students will be paired with a young alumni mentor who will share insights on their career field, occupation and leadership style. Mentoring opportunities include job shadowing, invitations to events, one-on-one meetings and other connections. Participants will also attend the 2013 OU Alumni Awards Banquet on Friday, Oct. 25.

A total of ten students will be selected to participate, and will each receive a $250 tuition stipend after successfully completing the program. Students who have achieved junior or senior status with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and have demonstrated student leadership and campus involvement are eligible to apply. Participants must remain in good academic standing throughout the program.

Students can apply online at Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 1. The ten students selected will be notified in mid-October. For additional information, contact Willett at (248) 364-6121 or

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