FYLEA poised for a productive year


David Campbell/University Photographer

First row (L-R): Jaylen Thomas, Janica Brooks, Morgan Lang, Jayden Sloan, Kishun Williams, Courtney Conners. Second row (L-R): Ayanna Williams, D’Asia Lashley, Grace Dozier, Dasani Stallworth, Jeremi Moore, Curtis Watson, Dylan Stallworth, Aaron Shanks. Third row (L-R): Amir McKinstry, Desmond Paster, Austtin Poindexter, Monet Jenkins, Mariah Turner, Haven Primm, Celeste Frazier, Patrick Evans

Nefsa'Hyatt Brown, Editor-in-Chief

Entering its sixth year of existence on the campus of Alabama State University, the First Year Leadership Empowerment Academy (FYLEA) recognized its largest class as 27 incoming freshmen began their journey to becoming campus leaders.
Directed by Kenneth Dean, J.D., FYLEA has produced a number of campus leaders from Student Government Association (SGA) vice presidents, chief Golden Ambassadors (GA), campus newspaper editors-in-chief, and presidents of various organizations.

According to Dean, the program is designed to develop the leadership skills of students who believe they are already student leaders and tailor their leadership skills for Alabama State University.

“The program is designed to help students understand the many definitions, theories and concepts surrounding leadership, so that when they enter leadership roles on the campus, they will be able to handle them with ease,” Dean said. “During the first semester we also go into an in-depth history of the university and some of its struggles because we believe that you have to know where you have been to really know where you are going.”

Dean said the second semester is geared toward parliamentary procedure, learning the policies of The Pilot, and a tremendous emphasis is placed on court cases and legal decisions that made a difference in the legacy of Alabama State University such as the Knight v. State of Alabama ruling.

Despite it being early in the semester, the 2019-20 class expressed their excitement about being selected for the program and what they hope to learn from being apart of FYLEA.

“I’ve always considered myself a leader, I’ve always walked in a leader’s path but I think in order to know where I am going at the university and to be the change that I seek, I have to learn more about the university and leadership,” said Jeremi Moore, a recreational therapy major, explaining his expectation to learn more about the university and hone his personal leadership skills so that he can reach his highest potential.”

Following Moore, Birmingham, Ala. native Ayanna Williams hopes that FYLEA will give her the platform to become not only a better leader but a more sociable person.

“I’m more of a shy person but I’ve also done a lot of leadership things and I believe [FYLEA] will help me become a better leader for when I become a physical therapist,” said Williams.

During a recent reception for the new 2023 class, Vice President of Student Affairs Davida L. Haywood, Ph.D offered this advice to the new FYLEA students.

“Programs like this take me back many years when I sat in your seat and I always tell students be conscious of who’s watching you because there are those of us who sit on the other side who see potential in so many of you,” Haywood said.
“There’s a spark, there’s something different about you and it’s our responsibility, while you are here under our care, to nurture that. I hope you will be open to this experience.  The most important thing I hope you take from this experience is a love for this institution, a love for its history, its past, its present and its future that you are apart of.”

Hoping to get more involved, Monet Jenkins who also aspires to become a physical therapist expressed her excitement in learning more about the history of the university through FYLEA.

“I joined FYLEA because I wanted to be involved in school and trying new things …stepping out of my comfort zone especially from being out of town,” Jenkins said.

After being recommended by a former FYLEA student, Student Body Vice President Tyler Rice, Mobile, Ala. native Dylan Stallworth hopes to gain connections with like minded individuals that he can surround himself with. Furthermore, Stallworth is excited to learn more about the campus he is calling home for the next four years.