COSAM News Articles 2022 January COSAM Leaders attend 2022 CIVSA Student Development Institute in Washington, D.C.

COSAM Leaders attend 2022 CIVSA Student Development Institute in Washington, D.C.

Published: 01/18/2022

By: Leslie Leak

From Jan. 6-8, 2022, three students from the COSAM Leaders student organization, accompanied by two COSAM faculty and staff, attended the 2022 Collegiate Information & Visitor Services Association (CIVSA) Student Development Institute in Washington, D.C. In conference sessions, COSAM Leaders learned valuable ways that the student organization can increase its diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, as well as ways to increase its social media presence.

COSAM Leaders in attendance were Ashleigh Patterson, current COSAM Leaders president majoring in biomedical sciences (pre-med); Elizabeth Ledbetter, COSAM Leaders incoming president double majoring in biomedical sciences and neuroscience (pre-med); and Caleb Alford, incoming COSAM Leaders vice president majoring in biomedical sciences (pre-dental). Robert Boyd, associate dean for academic affairs and COSAM Leaders faculty advisor, and William Blakeley, COSAM Student Services recruitment and scholarship coordinator, accompanied the students at the conference.

Patterson described the CIVSA Student Development Institute sessions as informative and relevant to the student organization’s goals. “Information sessions were hosted by ambassadors from different universities around the country such as Wichita State University and the University of Tennessee, and they gave specific information for student ambassadors who give tours of their universities,” said Patterson. “Most of the sessions we attended included diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) breakout sessions. DEI is our organization’s main focus this year.”

Patterson stated that COSAM Leaders’ two biggest takeaways from the sessions included a focus on increasing diversity in the student organization and on increasing the organization’s social media presence.

“COSAM Leaders already have plans to implement much of the information we gained from the sessions. We will be meeting with Associate Dean for Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity Kimberly Mulligan soon to discuss incorporating DEI training in our fall retreat and general meetings. We also learned ways we can incorporate more inclusive and positive language on our COSAM campus tours,” said Patterson.

This year, COSAM Leaders are also focused on social media rebranding and increasing its social media presence to strengthen recruiting efforts. “We attended sessions on how to recruit prospective college students and current students to our group, and we learned social media techniques that we can implement like virtual tour stops and takeovers from current members. Sessions also focused on how to maintain group cohesion, how to lead post-Covid, and how to get others involved in volunteering and outreach efforts,” said Patterson.

Patterson said this was the first year COSAM Leaders got to attend CIVSA’s Student Development Institute, and they plan to return to next year’s conference in Denver, CO.

During the trip, Patterson said they were also able to spend time sightseeing, taking in several historical landmarks around D.C. while braving a 14-degree wind chill factor. “We were able to see most of the monuments, the White House, the U.S. Capitol, the Museum of Natural History, and the Library of Congress. We had to run behind the Washington Monument to get a break from the wind!”

COSAM Leaders are a group of 18-22 COSAM juniors and seniors that serve as the official student representatives of the college. As official hosts and hostesses, COSAM Leaders provide tours of COSAM with prospective students and their families. They are also involved in various activities and opportunities to interact with COSAM faculty and staff such as hosting former astronauts, presenting awards at Science Olympiads, interacting with board members, recruiting prospective students, meeting potential donors, participating in COSAM’s golf tournament, and engaging with COSAM alumni.

Applications are currently open for rising juniors and seniors who are interested in serving as COSAM Leaders. Student candidates must be enrolled in COSAM and have a 3.0 GPA to apply. Interested students can complete an application at the AU Involve website under “Forms” now through Feb. 11, 2022.

For questions related to COSAM Leaders, please contact COSAM Leaders President Ashleigh Patterson at

To stay up to date on COSAM Leaders applications, interviews, and happenings, check them out on Instagram at @cosamleaders.


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