Story by Lindsay McNeish
Communication studies sophomore Mahalia Henschel is a people person.
People are the driving force behind Henschel choosing to major in communication studies. People are the reason she has the hope of changing current social systems. People are why she is deeply involved in her local community.
“I want to be a driving force in an organization that can raise people to be better than I am or better than I hope to be,” said Henschel.
Henschel is interested in bettering the workplace and changing systems like law and politics. She hopes to use her communication studies degree as a tool to impact these systems from a non-traditional angle.
How will she do this? With communication. “Communication is critical in making our world a better place,” said Henschel.
She hopes to reduce systemic inequalities among marginalized communities by advocating for and leading change, particularly by one day being a thoughtful and inspiring workplace supervisor or program director.
Henschel believes CSU is doing a good job starting conversations with people from all backgrounds to start talking about systemic inequalities. From in-class discussions to university-wide events, the dialogue on campus is open.
“Even though the classroom sometimes lacks diversity, we’re still willing to have conversations about diversity with professors who are capable of speaking about it,” said Henschel. “Some of my friends at other universities don’t have this experience, so I really value that CSU is invested in that.”
In addition to majoring in communication studies, Henschel is minoring in leadership studies through the President’s Leadership Program. The minor is structured to learn about leadership from an individual perspective to a global perspective. The first year involves learning about different identities–getting to know yourself to better lead others. The second year focuses on community leadership and the third year global leadership.
After a few semesters in the program, Henschel reflects on her leadership style. She emphasizes leading with compassion and kindness, generating goodwill towards everyone.
“Being able to laugh with someone no matter what they look like and no matter what they’re doing has really helped me as a leader,” said Henschel.
Henschel hopes that her passion for leading with kindness will have a ripple effect through the people she impacts. At this point in her life, she’s focused on leadership in her immediate Fort Collins community, but will continue to grow.
Henschel would love to “change the world.” And she is. “My world is who I interact with daily,” said Henschel.
She hopes her daily acts of kindness, and the positive changes she sparks in the workplace will radiate outward, making all the “worlds” she encounters a better place.