Driving Change in Higher Education.

Abby Ledvina

Are you currently involved in community or volunteer work? If so, what types of projects? I currently do a number of different community and volunteer work. I am living and working in Hanoi, Vietnam. I chose this place because of the high demand for foreign teachers.  Outside of the classroom I work individually with students to improve their English for school, work and future careers.   

What is your current job? I am an English teacher at LANGMaster. I work with Vietnamese college students who are learning English to further their careers and provide for a better life for themselves and their families.  We help build confidence and a good mindset to strive beyond their self-limitations. They will be the future leaders in companies, organizations and nonprofits. As they start their careers, they will need to have a good foundation for when they encounter the challenges they will be facing in the future. 

Where did you attend college? Inver Hills Community College for my associate’s degree. University of Wisconsin-Green Bay for my bachelor’s degree.

What was your major? Human Biology

What position(s) did you hold while in MSCSA? I was the Presidents’ Group Chair and the Student Senate President at Inver Hills Community College.

What drew you to become involved in MSCSA? My advisor Brent Glass. Also my desire to travel and meet people. MSCSA offered a variety of opportunities to travel around the state for conferences and meetings. My deep desire to see Minnesota and the people that make up the communities was a huge pull.  But I also knew I wanted to work with students and give them opportunities to develop themselves beyond the classroom. As a student myself, MSCSA gave me the chance to develop my own leadership skills while working with other college students to advocate for higher education. The leadership and networking conferences that MSCSA offered helped me build skills in leadership, time management, advocacy and student development.  

What did you learn from your experience in MSCSA that positioned you for future success? MSCSA provided me with many experiences working with a diverse groups of people. It gave me a chance to explore my interests in higher education and use my voice at a political level to work for students. I was also privileged to be able to help MSCSA look for the future buildings and sit on the fiscal committee. This gave me the opportunity to see the inner workings of an organization.  

What advice would you like to share with current/future members? Get involved in as much as you can. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and take leadership roles. There will be many lessons to be learned along the way and when you put yourself out there, the possibilities are endless. And remember to follow your dreams. When you are doing what makes you happy, you not only benefit yourself but you can have a huge impact on those around you.  

What was your proudest MSCSA moment? My proudest moment was being elected to Presidents’ Group Chair. I was very wary of being in front of large groups of people.  When I had to go in front of everyone to answer questions about why I was best suited for the position, I was extremely nervous. I am proud to say that I did it and from that day forward have faced that similar fear over and over again. It helped me build confidence in myself.  

What leader inspires you? There are a number of different leaders that inspire me from Martin Luther King to Mother Theresa. However, I find a lot of my inspiration from the students I meet. They have passion, energy and big dreams for making a better future. They work hard in their studies and find creative ways to solve problems. It is inspiring to see their determination and dedication to improving themselves to provide for their families. It is these small acts that build up and make a difference. 

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