As a biomedical engineering major, Jake Caldwell is a born problem-solver. At UB, he has developed an unexpected skill that will forever be a valuable asset.
As a freshman, Jake took part in Leadership House, where he lived on the third floor of Dewey Hall with other students interested in leadership and service. The yearlong commitment also included a leadership class each semester. The experience opened Jake’s eyes to what it means to be a leader. “The first and foremost thing I learned is that there are so many different kinds of leadership, so many ways to go about it. We’re all set in our own narcissistic ways. Leadership House broadened my views, and helped me recognize my leadership skills—and the skills of others.”
The training Jake gained through Leadership House has opened the doors to leadership opportunities all across campus. He was a student assistant for engineering department’s freshman seminar, became a resident assistance in the Honors College at Governor’s, and was elected Vice President of the Mock Trial Club. As with many participants in Leadership House, he has returned as a mentor to support the development of future student leaders.
Jake believes in the power of leadership at UB—and beyond. “The leadership programs are creating the foundation for other efforts on campus. We can all only go so far ourselves individually. But when you can unite a larger force, a common cause, directed energy, under a single person, the products as we’ve seen through history are just immense and incredible. Having that leader, that person who’s willing to spark true change, is the catalyst our society thrives on."
As he prepares for his career in engineering, Jake expects his leadership training and communication skills to pay substantial dividends. “Engineers often get a bad rap for sitting in their cubicle all day, not doing much.” But an engineer with leadership skills can stand out among his or her peers. “Every project has a team leader that guides skills and abilities of those around him to achieve the overall goals,” noted Jake, who believes that his heightened sense of leadership will allow him to better interact with coworkers, and approach problems with a better view of the big picture.