Drake University students study leadership in the Bahamas

A group of Drake University students will travel to the Bahamas over January Term for a leadership course on the high seas.

Leadership at Sea is a blend of classroom and experiential learning focusing on leadership development, team building, and seamanship. Twenty students will participate in the course, which is being held for its sixth consecutive year. The experience is highlighted by a trip aboard the Liberty Clipper—a gaff-rigged, square-masted sailboat that becomes students’ classroom as they take command of the ship on the Atlantic Ocean.

Another important tradition is the students’ support of the Bahamas Marathon and Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K. Approximately half the students participate in the marathon while others serve as volunteer to staff water stations and coordinate race logistics. This will be the sixth year that Drake participates in the marathon.

“Our students’ involvement in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and Marathon Bahamas is a unique opportunity to participate in a meaningful event while visiting Nassau,” Sturm-Smith said. “Whether as racers or water station volunteers, their involvement opens a new window into the culture and people of the Bahamas through experiential learning. I know it has been a highlight in previous years, and am so pleased this event continues to be a tradition of the Leadership at Sea travel seminar.”

Also during the trip, scheduled for January 8-20, students will learn from officials from the American Embassy and Bahamian government, meet with faculty and students at the University of the Bahamas, complete a historical tour of Nassau, and tour a major cruise liner. The course will teach students to apply leadership in a new environment, to work in teams, to communicate and manage conflicts, and to sail.

This year’s trip is led by Melissa Sturm-Smith, associate provost for academic excellence and student success, and Chad Cardani-Trollinger, visiting instructor of leadership education and development.

“The Bahamas is such an amazing place, and being able to participate and cheer the marathon runners on during the race was a great experience for myself and the whole LEAD at Sea class,” said Emily Lammers, a third-year pharmacy student who participated in the class in January 2017. “I will forever cherish the memories I made in Nassau and aboard the Liberty Clipper!”