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OUAZ Students Develop Leadership at Phoenix Raceway


Students from Ottawa University-Arizona’s Leadership Development Program recently had the exclusive opportunity to volunteer at Phoenix Raceway for NASCAR Weekend. The students were able to work alongside personnel from the Raceway offices in departments such as marketing, sales, and event-day activities. During the weekend, they had access to all the different parts at the Raceway, including the suites, Victory Lane, and in-field areas. For some, it was their first time to the Raceway, and it was quite an experience for them to see the races and operations first-hand.

Freshman George Lopez, a Leadership Development student who hails from Phoenix, is currently pursuing both his BA and MA in Business Administration. The close proximity to where he graduated high school, as well as the specialized Pathway Program and learning environment, are what really drew him to OUAZ.

Lopez elaborated: “The Leadership program has really helped me take on opportunities and events that I didn't know would be so easily accessible to me. At NASCAR, I got to help at the suite level with organization and guiding people where they needed to be. Also, we got to be at the center of the track, where we continued those same tasks. That weekend really educated me on what being connected with people and what constant pursuit of opportunities can really do for you.”

Doug Doran, coordinator of the OUAZ Leadership Development Program, sends a special thank you to Jonathan Stone and Dr. Brian Sandusky for the introductions and networking opportunities made available to the leadership students.

The Leadership Development Program is a partnership with the city of Surprise that creates leadership, networking and soft skills opportunities by promoting local businesses. Russell Baker, Surprise economic development analyst, and Mike Hoover, the city’s economic development assistant director, have worked closely with Doran and the OUAZ students in the program.

In this select program, students gain the knowledge and skills to confidently lead in college and in their career. They learn about leadership styles through unprecedented opportunities to network with local, campus and community business leaders, including those responsible for operations at the city of Surprise. Through it all, students are able to build an impressive portfolio that showcases their leadership abilities.

Students also recently helped to lead Career Day on campus, assisting students and close to 40 local employers in conducting a very successful event. Another project called “Snacks with Surprise” was aimed at promoting community businesses. This project focused on a student’s ability to script and conduct a 30 to 40 second video showcasing a local business and its owner or manager. There have also been other one-of-a-kind projects, such as working with the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers training camp crews.

“The program is about giving students opportunities for gainful leadership experiences, in addition to providing development about leadership,” said Doran. “We have several other projects in the works for spring, including working more with multiple offices at the city of Surprise.”


About Ottawa University

Founded in 1865, Ottawa University prepares professional and liberal arts graduates for lifetimes of personal significance, vocational fulfillment and service to God and humanity as a Christ-inspired community of grace and open inquiry. Ottawa University is a comprehensive, not-for-profit educational institution, serving more than 4,500 students through its residential campuses in Ottawa, Kan., and Surprise, Ariz., and adult campuses in Overland Park, Kan.; Surprise, Ariz.; Brookfield, Wis.; and online. Visit for more information.

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