AIFS Abroad Participants Present at Student Global Leadership Conference (SGLC) 2024

Creating future global leaders? We’re all about it. As an international education organization who has been providing the very best in study abroad and international internship programs for decades, we know a thing or two about co-curricular and experiential learning experiences that help students thrive. It’s our pleasure to provide our participants with as many academic and pre-professional development opportunities as possible, including participating in events like the annual Student Global Leadership Conference (SGLC).

Read on to learn more about this year’s Student Global Leadership Conference (SGLC) and our incredible student presenters.

What is the Student Global Leadership Conference (SGLC)?

The Student Global Leadership Conference (SGLC) is an annual conference in London, England hosted by FIE: Foundation for International Education. It was developed to bring people together who feel passionately about issues like sustainability, diversity and inclusion, social justice, and human rights.

Each year is focused on a different theme, 2024’s being “Leadership and Mental Health: Equal Opportunities to Thrive.” The annual SGLC features engaging keynotes and presentations, practical examples and takeaways for real world application, and networking opportunities with other students and leadership professionals.

Undergraduate and graduate students interested in learning about leadership are invited to attend, as well as higher education and study abroad professionals.

AIFS’ Involvement in SGLC

The 2024 Student Global Leadership Conference was sponsored by AIFS in partnership with FIE. In addition to members of our team in London being involved in the conference’s organizing committee, various AIFS Abroad participants from program locations worldwide were invited to write a paper and present in a joint panel on a topic related to the conference theme.

AIFS Abroad Student Participants at SGLC

AIFS Abroad student presenters share their experience at the 2024 Student Global Leadership Conference (SGLC) in London, England

Four AIFS Abroad participants from our Global Education Centers worldwide were selected to present at the Student Global Leadership Conference.

During their group presentation, students offered the audience insight into the crucial role that peer leadership plays in enhancing young adults’ mental health. They argue that the best people suited to lead young people are their peers who have a close insight into the mental health concerns which are most important to them. The students considered groups who may be especially vulnerable to mental health problems, including LGBTQ+ youth, neurodiverse students, children who have experienced trauma, and those with anxiety disorders. Each student completed a paper and presented their findings during the Conference, allowing them students to talk about themselves and their own struggles as part of the framework.

“We are invested in the topic we are discussing today for a number of reasons. First, we will each speak on a subject which feels personal to us. In some cases, this is because we are talking about an issue of mental health which has shaped or continues to shape the way we engage with the world. In others, it is the work we have done with peers and younger people around the topic. Second, each paper has a case study or project for the future at its center: we want to leave you with strategies of what can be done to produce better outcomes for the next generation of young people. We are aware that our generation gets stuck with a lot of labels; what we would like to argue today is that many of the mental health challenges which young people face today are not new, we just know how to name them. That’s perhaps why it’s so important for young people to have a voice when it comes to identifying the needs and best means of support for other young people.”

– Victoria Shafer

Topics Presented

aifs abroad students presenting at the Student Global Leadership Conference (SGLC) 2024 in London, england
Students Presenting at SGLC 2024

Read on to learn more about each AIFS Abroad student who participated in the 2024 Student Global Leadership Conference and the focus of their presentation.

Elaina (Ellie) Milano, University of Dayton, AIFS Abroad in Florence, Italy

ellie milano, aifs abroad in florence, italy student
Ellie Milano
Presentation: “Anxiety: The Underlying Challenges Facing Young Adults”

“I’m here today to talk about anxiety and the challenges aligned with that with young adults. I want to shine some light on the subject because I closely align with topic since I have anxiety and am constantly faced with the same challenges that a lot of other young adults face. While I discuss how businesses and people can handle these challenges, I am also attempting to pave a way for all the people feeling this discomfort with anxiety, and help keep this line of communication open for us all.”

– Elaina (Ellie) Milano

Victoria Shafer, University of Minnesota – Duluth, AIFS Abroad in Salzburg, Austria

Presentation: “Let’s Talk About Gender Identity”

“I am a Minnesota 4-H alumni. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a youth leadership program. My goal for you to take away from my talk is that if you are young person, speak up with your ideas to older people; and older people, make sure you listen to them.”

– Victoria Shafer

Catherine Lievi, Fairfield University, AIFS Abroad in London, England

Presentation: “Unveiling the Neurodivergent Leadership Advantage: ​A Dyslexic Perspective”

“Today I’ll be talking about neurodiversity and young people. I am myself dyslexic and speaking from my experiences. I’m hoping what I’ve learned can be used to help the next generation.”

Catherine Lievi

Emily Childress, University of Arkansas, AIFS Abroad in Rome, Italy

Presentation: “Building Resilience: Implementing Trauma-Informed Practices in Education for Student Wellbeing”

“I’m here today to talk about trauma and how to implement trauma sensitive schooling into school districts. I got drawn to this idea from working with children who have gone through trauma and seeing first-hand the impact that this can have on their ability to effectively learn in standardized school settings. It is ultimately my goal to influence young people; to help pave the way for schools to do better.”

– Emily Childress

AIFS Abroad Faculty Support

A key component of empowering student success in this initiative was the support and mentorship of Dr. Bianca Leggett, Director of Academic Affairs here at AIFS Abroad. Dr. Leggett was thrilled to provide participants with pre-conference online meetings and mentorship to foster a foundational team spirit, despite their geographical differences. Students also received personalized support from her through presentation development and in-depth discussions about leadership. She invited students to consider questions like:

  1. What kind of leader do I want to be?
  2. What are the most pressing problems regarding mental health that leaders are facing today?

During their time together in London for the Student Global Leadership Conference, Dr. Leggett also took students to London’s iconic landmark, The Shard, for a co-curricular learning opportunity. They discussed how the architect, Renzo Piano, intended the unfinished look of the building to signal humility and striving, while the outside reflects the changing weather and activity of the city. Additionally, they discussed how the local community interprets the building. For some, it is seen as forbidding and aggressive looking, representing the challenges of leadership and the importance of connection to the communities we serve. To others, it symbolizes a disconnection from some of London’s community, which could be interpreted as an icon of poor leadership. These discussions between faculty and student create unique and meaningful learning opportunities.

Join us in celebrating these four student leaders.

Presenting at an event like the Student Global Leadership Conference is no small feat. We are so proud of Emily, Catherine, Ellie, and Victoria for their incredible work individually and as a team. We look forward to seeing how they continue to develop as leaders.

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