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QU Pre-Matriculation Program: Leadership and Lupus


Day 1: It’s About You! - Exploring your Leadership attributes based on the book, YOU GOT THIS, KID!  Words of Advice for Young Leaders

Through the first week of our Pre-Matriculation program we tackled our students’ leadership attributes connected through the YOU GOT THIS, KID!: Words of Advice for Young Leaders book. We discussed how leadership all begins with knowing yourself; your strengths and weaknesses so that you can build your confidence and lead others. By knowing yourself and the attributes that form the person you are, you can become an effective and authentic leader. Some core leadership attributes are:


  • Self Confidence: You must believe in yourself before you are able to lead others. Our book provides advice on building confidence through small victories and consistent effort. 

  • Resilience: Leaders often must face challenges and adversity. Being able to bounce back from this and continue working toward your goals will allow you to be a great young leader.

  • Inspiration: A true leader inspires others. By knowing the people you are leading and what they are passionate about, you can guide and motivate them toward success. 



Our Day 1 Speakers:



Chuck Saia is a co-founder of YGTK!, author of YOU GOT THIS, KID!: Words of Advice for Young Leaders, and a senior partner at Deloitte. Chuck is a philanthropist who focuses many efforts on lupus research.









Dr. Courtney McGinnis is a professor at Quinnipiac University, teaching Biology and Medical Sciences. She focuses on Anatomy and Physiology, is a trained toxicologist, and a board member here at YGTK!.








Karin Wagner, founder of Invigorate, a place that provides resources for those with autoimmune diseases. She herself has been battling lupus for 16 years and is a co-founder of YGTK!

Understanding Environmental Toxins and how they impact patients with Auto-immune Disease

Environmental toxins can be found everywhere. In the air we breathe as well as the food and water we consume. For those with autoimmune diseases these toxins can worsen their symptoms and trigger flare-ups. We must understand the implications of these toxins to be able to manage autoimmune conditions and improve patients' lives. Three types of environmental toxins are:


  • Heavy Metals: Mercury, cadmium and lead can interfere with the functions of the immune system.

  • Pesticides: Typically found in non-organic produce, pesticides can aggravate autoimmune symptoms.

  • Industrial Chemicals: Pollutants from manufacturing processes can contribute to both the development and worsening of autoimmune diseases.


Day 2: It’s not all About You! - Exploring your Leadership Attributes Based on YOU GOT THIS, KID!  Words of Advice for Young Leaders

In the second week of our Pre-Matriculation program we were able to talk with a Lupus patient panel. Our speakers included Karin Wagner, Amy Szoke, and Chris Burton. We dove into the details of a life with lupus and how relationships in peoples’ lives and with their doctors truly anchor them through their battle. Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can affect various parts of the body. Our panel was able to speak about their experiences with Lupus and how to manage symptoms and how the disease can affect lives.


Meet Our Panel:




Karin Wagner, founder of Invigorate, a place that provides resources for those with autoimmune diseases. She herself has been battling lupus for 16 years and is a co-founder of YGTK!









Chris Burton, a writer and Lupus advocate from Brooklyn, has been living with lupus for 12 years. He raises awareness and provides support as an ambassador for the Lupus Foundation of America.








Amy Szoke is an administrator at Temple Emanuel-El of Palm Beach and a board member here at YGTK!. She has been living with lupus for over 20 years after being diagnosed while pregnant with her first daughter.





Doctor-Patient Relationships

The relationship between a doctor and their patient is highly important. It requires open and honest communication about symptoms, concerns and options for treatment plans. A patient and their doctor must be able to trust one another to work together and be confident that what they are doing is the best option. They must work together to make decisions and plan out treatments.

Support Systems




The students in our program have been highly engaged and involved in our discussions. Through our first two weeks we have been able to discuss a multitude of topics that will play a part in their lives. From the attributes that form their leadership style to the importance of strong relationships with their patients especially those who are going through tough battles. Our students have participated and shown a passion for the topics that we have been going over. We are excited to continue to work with these bright, young minds and share information and ideas to foster knowledge and awareness about autoimmune diseases and leadership.

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