Saturday, July 04

Brookdale Newsroom

BUILD Leadership Program Welcomes First Class

Brookdale staff and administrators came together on Oct. 29 to welcome the inaugural class of the Brookdale United In Leadership Development (BUILD) program.

During an official meet-and-greet on the Lincroft campus, Brookdale President Dr. Maureen Murphy congratulated the students on being selected for the unique program, which uses collaborative workshops to promote leadership, communication skills and personal development.

“We are all very excited about this program,” Murphy said. “I just know that this is going to great experience for everyone involved.”

The BUILD program, coordinated by Student Life and Activities Assistant Director Jill Donovan and Career Services Director Sarah McElroy, is a collaborative initiative funded by the Brookdale Innovation Grant (BIG) program.


Students in the new BUILD program sit down for a meet-and-greet on Oct. 29.

Nearly 30 students were selected from pool of 70 applicants to work with faculty, staff and administrators throughout the year on a wide range of leadership-oriented topics.

Each student participates in four, one-hour foundational workshops with Donovan and McElroy on topics such as leadership theory, conflict resolution and group dynamics.

Students are also able to select four other workshops offered by Brookdale faculty and staff in their various areas of expertise.

The goal, Donovan said, is to provide even the busiest Brookdale students with an opportunity to grow, get involved and develop valuable skills that will serve them for years to come.

“They are getting to see a different side of Brookdale,” she said. “They are connecting with staff, faculty and administrators on a different level. They are really getting to know each other. Most of them are so busy and so pressed for time that they not involved in anything else, but this program gives them that opportunity. And who wouldn’t benefit from learning to be a more effective leader?”

Brookdale culinary student Frances Gatungay said the lessons taught in the workshops will be invaluable to her as she works toward a career as an executive chef.

“I’m going to be looking for a full-time job soon, and this is definitely going to help with my career” said Gatungay, who also works as a student assistant at Brookdale. “They are building us to become leaders. You learn a lot about yourself and how you deal with others.”

Also on hand to welcome the students were Laura Qaissaunee, Brookdale’s Director of Grants and Institutional Development, and Brookdale Grants Coordinator Dinneen Jackson Peleskey.

Qaissaunee and Peleskey administer the annual BIG Grant program, which funds innovative projects across all areas of the college and supports creative ideas suggested by faculty and staff.

Funded by the college and private donors, BIG grants are expected to fund between seven and ten different projects like BUILD this year, each designed to create positive change and improve the learning experience at Brookdale.

More information on BUILD is available here.

Click here for more photos of the meet-and-greet event.