Cook Leadership Academy honors its 2023 fellows

Fellows of Cook Leadership Academy 2023 class pose for a photo
The 2023 cohort of fellows for the Cook Leadership Academy and members of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies pose for a photo following the graduation celebration.
Image credit - Emily Zoladz

The Cook Leadership Academy recognized its cohort of fellows for 2023 during its graduation celebration on April 27 at the DeVos Center on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus.

Dana Eardley, a 2016 graduate of the academy, spoke to students about how the CLA meshed with her interdisciplinary studies degree with an emphasis in food systems. Eardley said the CLA offered an opportunity for collaboration with other students who shared similar visions.

“I was just enamored by the community,” Eardley said. “I was working alongside students from so many different backgrounds and walks of life. I finally found all the other people who chose the path that no one else had followed.”

Eardley, executive director of the Fulton Street Farmers Market, said the Cook Leadership Academy gave her the conviction and determination to find her own pathway, navigating into a career that aligned with her personal values. 

“Through the leadership talks and through our reflections working with mentors, I was able to hone in on my story and the why behind what I was doing,” Eardley said. “I feel so strongly that the leadership skills that I gained through the academy allowed me to have confidence to step into a field that basically didn't exist and to step into a career that was kind of undefined.”

The Cook Leadership Academy’s Winter 2023 fellows include: Hannah Beatus, Matthew Bristol, Jeremy Burns, Ke’Asha Cargill, Dawson Coats, Lydia Cooper, Charlotte Doran, Megan Healy, Faith Kidd, Mason Kolanowski, Emma Loveland, Michell Luciano, Jocelyn Medina, Mary Claire Meimers, Brady Mills, Ali Mohamed, Kimberly Nutt, Joseph Ohaeche, Joseph Oosterman, David Pevic, Evan Potter, Anamika Risal, Meghan Scott, Noah Steffen, Ezri Sutter, Aidan Takace, Kathryn Thornton, Christina Vann, Jessie Webb, Amanda Witsaman and Olivia Witsaman.

The Fall 2023 fellows include: Kian Barnes, Samuel Jacobs and Mackenzie Johnson.


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