Skip to main content
Sign In

National Character and Leader Symposium

Courage Through Adversity

From February 21 to 22, Derrick Gallegos, Tamara Thevarajah, and Kaysie Walter attended the National Character and Leader Symposium at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. The symposium theme was “The Silver Lining: Courage Through Adversity”. The students were assigned cadets as hosts to spend time with, eat with, and room with.

Derrick’s host, Cadet John Miller, is also a falconer and showed Derrick where the mascots were kept and trained. Aside from getting to meet a falcon, Derrick made friends with the Fighting Fourth squadron and even went Blue’s Dancing.

During the symposium, Tamara went to different breakout sessions about how to lead. While it sounded redundant for her to say that she learned about character and leadership at a character and leadership symposium, that’s exactly what she did.

As someone interested in international work, Tamara listened to a speaker talk about how he interacted with people in other countries. “He would just buy a travel book and relate to people on their level,” Tamara said.

After the breakout sessions, Tamara and Kaysie attended the student consortium together, which consisted of 6 students at a table to discuss their different perspectives. The tables were made up of visitors and hosts, civilians and cadets. Most of the talk centered on careers and the cadets related much of the topics back to their military life.

Tamara and Kaysie shared their experiences as pre-med students with the cadets. While pre-med students often competed with each other to be the best, the cadets worked together, “Like a big family,” Tamara said, “because of the fact they have to trust each other with their lives.”

When asked about what she took away from the event, Tamara focused on the people she met there. “Despite all the respectability of the cadets, they were still really nice, able to have fun, and the Academy was much more of a fun place than I ever thought before.”

University Honors and Leadership Program

Phone: 303-315-7838 • Fax: 303-315-7836

Street Address: 1047 Ninth Street Park • Mailing Address: Campus Box 199, PO Box 173364, Denver, CO 80217-3364


© The Regents of the University of Colorado, a body corporate. All rights reserved.

Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. All trademarks are registered property of the University. Used by permission only.