MCC-Maple Woods team wins collaboration award at Washburn leadership competition

Advisor Emily Fairchild (from left) with Eric Grospitch, vice president for student life at Washburn University, and MCC-Maple Woods team members Ashly Madison, Madeline Mapes, Alex Derrickson, Jennifer Jensen and Cheyenne Thomas

A five-student team from Metropolitan Community College-Maple Woods won the Team Collaboration Award, college division, at the recent Leadership Challenge Event at Washburn University in Topeka.

The April 5-6 event is a leadership competition for high school and college students. The teams react to a simulated incident in which the outcome depends on the leadership decisions made.

This year, the simulation exercise involved a college hazing incident. Students on the collegiate teams filled roles as dean of students, director of student activities, residential life coordinator, director of university relations and director of health services.

Students had to explore the circumstances that led to the hazing incident, suggest discipline for those involved, propose new educational programs, communicate messages with college constituents and more. This year’s challenge had 36 teams participating, nine of which were college teams.

The MCC-Maple Woods team was made up of Alex Derrickson, Jennifer Jensen, Ashly Madison, Madeline Mapes and Cheyenne Thomas. This was the second consecutive year Maple Woods sent a team to the event.

Team advisor Emily Fairchild, Campus Life & Leadership coordinator at Maple Woods, says the collaboration award was meaningful for several reasons.

For one thing, most college teams at the event are formed from student organizations or classes focused on business and leadership. But students have to apply to be on Maple Woods’ team, and they come from a variety of areas.

This year’s members included a Career Services Ambassador (Jensen), SGA treasurer (Derrickson) and club president (Madison, who leads the Environmental Club). One was a participant in the MCC LEADS Student Leadership Academy (Thomas). Two are student employees on campus (Mapes and Madison).

And “like many students on our MCC campuses, they also hold outside jobs, and two students are single moms,” Fairchild says.

During the simulation, the MCC-Maple Woods team members “shared information with each other in their different leadership roles and made an effort to ensure that all voices on the team were heard,” Fairchild says.

Among the judges’ comments:

  • “The team does show they are interested in each other’s information when it is shared. They are very encouraging to each other. This really is a great team! They listen to each other and allow each to speak and not interrupt.”
  • “I love the way this group wants to hear from everyone! They listen to each other well and lift each other up.”
  • “I’m extremely impressed by this team’s ability to work together. They encouraged one another to share ideas. They remained positive and supportive throughout. When it looked like they may not meet a deadline they adjusted and did what it took together to be successful. As part of a team at work, we have something to learn from how this team collaborated and supported each other.”
Team members with their collaboration award