Leadership Series: A Student’s Perspective










A leader I admire is Michelle Obama, former First Lady of the United States. Michelle grew up in a blue-collar home in Chicago and went to Princeton for her undergraduate degree in sociology. She then attended Harvard Law School and graduated in 1988. 

As we move towards racial and gender equality, we have made progress – especially in the past few years with the #BlackLivesMatter movement. However, Mrs. Obama was applying to colleges almost 50 years before this. I cannot imagine her discrimination struggles as she was working towards her degree. Yet, in almost every picture of Michelle, from childhood pictures to now, she is smiling just as big as she is here, as the first black First Lady of the United States.

“Michelle Obama is a leader I admire. From her infectious smile to her hands-on approach to solving complex problems in America, she is a leader who gets things done. “

Let’s Move! Initiative 

While serving as First Lady, she got the right to work with an issue she saw as very pressing – childhood obesity. The Let’s Move! campaign worked with schools to provide healthier options for children nationwide. Not only do I love her initiative in taking on this challenge, but I love how involved she got. She went to schools all over the U.S. and worked with the kids to teach them about healthy eating habits and the importance of exercise. Amongst all the criticism she received for this campaign, she smiled and made it fun for everyone. 

Focus on Family

Michelle makes a point to keep her family one of her top priorities. Her ability to keep a healthy work-life balance while holding such prestigious job titles is another reason I greatly admire her. She makes sure that her family is taken care of and loved. 

Approachable and Relatable

In 2018, she released Becoming, a memoir of her life that was given the Grammy Award for Best Audio Book, Narration, and Storytelling. Giving people an opportunity to get to know Michelle and her story has resulted in rave reviews. 

While these are just a few highlights of Michelle Obama’s accomplishments, her life is splattered with beautiful examples of leadership, service, and advocacy. She constantly defies expectations and works to leave the world a better place than she found it. I strive to have the attitude and drive that she does.

Melissa Shanklin

Melissa is a graduate of Utah Valley University with a diverse background in healthcare, social media marketing, customer service, and hospitality. These experiences have allowed her to develop a unique set of skills that can be effectively applied to a variety of industries. She is a quick learner, adaptable, and able to work well under pressure. With a strong work ethic and a passion for getting things done, she takes pride in her work and is committed to delivering exceptional results. In her free time, Melissa enjoys playing board games, spending time with her nieces and nephews, and staying up-to-date with the latest trends and sharing funny memes and posts with friends and family on social media.