Learning to Lead

Growing up on Long Island, Kristina Galang always dreamed about a career helping others. In high school, despite being the captain of her gymnastics team and an active community service participant, she still considered herself shy and a “follower.” That all changed when she joined Leadership House — a learning living community that shapes students’ academic and social experiences, and enhances personal development.

“The best thing about my freshman year.”

Before arriving on campus, Kristina was one of 30 first-year students selected for Leadership House. Kristina was initially drawn to the program as a way to meet new friends, but the experience went far beyond her expectations. “Once I got into Leadership House, I saw that I had the potential to be a leader.”

Discovering Her True Self

With a newfound social circle and the lessons learned through Leadership House, Kristina quickly thrived at UB. As her confidence blossomed, she opened herself up to new experiences, such as Relay for Life, the Polar Plunge and student clubs.

“There’s one activity at Leadership House where everyone stands in a circle – 40 of us or so – then five people go in the middle.” Everyone who isn’t in the middle has to turn around and close their eyes. “Then the instructors tell the people in the middle to reach out and touch somebody who made you smile, or inspires you, or is a mentor to you, or who you want to get closer to. People in the middle literally reach out and touch someone. I found that so uplifting.”

Even as an upperclassman, Kristina stays connected with her mentors at Leadership House. “If you’re passionate about something, they will help you,” noted Kristina, in talking about the variety of volunteering, networking and internship opportunities available.

kristina galang speaking about her experience at u b

I definitely see a difference in myself. I’ve gained confidence, and I’ve opened up more."

Learning One's Strengths

Of all the lessons she’s learned, the most important may be self-awareness. Through various personality tests, she identified her strengths and weakness – insight that she believes will be a valuable asset during interviews and in her career. Now she knows that she is “an includer,” someone who always pulls others in, and makes sure that nobody is left alone.

Pursuing Her Passion

Thanks to her newfound confidence and the leadership skills developed at UB, Kristina is ready to make an impact and fulfill her dream of working as an occupational therapist. “I want to work with kids,” she said. “They inspire me.”

Students interested in leadership and community service should contact:

Student Engagement

Student Life

University at Buffalo
235 Student Union, North Campus

Buffalo, NY 14260


Phone: (716) 645-6469