Are leaders born or made?

Researchers at the US Military Academy at West Point studied brain scans of 103 volunteers, ranging in rank from officer cadet to major. The researchers claim that they found neural networks of those deemed “leaders” that were different from the rest. The study was published in the Journal of Applied Psychology this year.

Forbes (which presumably knows a thing or two about leadership) thinks that leadership capability falls along a bell curve – some people are born leaders, some are in the middle of the curve, and some, alas, will never be very good leaders.

What does a natural leader look like? We at Project Lever place our bet on Chris Ghadban from Tufts University. Chris exudes confidence and calculated optimism. Since his freshman year, he held various leadership roles in multiple organizations, including the School of Engineering Curriculum Committee, International Club, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, among others. He also served as the Education Committee Chair of the TCU Senate.

This past year, Chris organized a team of Tufts scientists to participate in the iGEM competition, a synthetic biology competition out of MIT. Participation fees ran into tens of thousands, but Chris was undeterred. Together with his founding partner Petar Todorov, Chris recruited the team, led a sophisticated campaign to raise the money from Tufts Community Union Senate, and even secured a meeting with Tufts President Anthony Monaco. If this is not example of great campus leadership, we don’t know what is!

Ultimately, great leaders don’t just do things; they inspire others to follow their path. This summer and beyond, Chris will be leading Project Lever effort to connect student leaders around the country in an effort to improve undergraduate research. Chris will lead student leaders plan to organize conferences, discover new research superstars, hold campus panels on leadership, and much more.

Please extend our warmest welcome to Chris Ghadban, our inaugural Lever Student President!