Dr. David M. Rosch

Ddmroschave Rosch serves as an Assistant Professor in the Agricultural Education program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His particular areas of interest include college student leadership development and the effects of leadership programs and courses on development. Dave has spent much of his professional career helping to educate future leaders on the skills required for effectiveness in contemporary society.

He has worked at the University of Illinois since 2006, beginning at the Illinois Leadership Center and became faculty in the Agricultural Education program in 2011.  There, he currently teaches leadership theory and methods courses and conducts research in emerging adult leadership development.  He also has served in a variety of capacities in the International Leadership Association, the Association of Leadership Educators, as a Co-lead Facilitator for LeaderShape and co-chair of the National Leadership Symposium, and is currently the curriculum chair for the Leadership Education Academy.

Originally from New York, Dave graduated from Binghamton University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Sociology, where he was involved as a Resident Advisor, Orientation Leader, and was the captain of the Men’s Ultimate Frisbee Team.  Dave received a Master’s Degree from Colorado State University in Student Affairs in Higher Education, where he working in university housing and advising student governance organizations.  Dave has a PhD in Higher Postsecondary Education from Syracuse University, where his dissertation was “The Effects of Campus Involvement on Socially Responsible Leadership Development.”

Jenn Smist


Jenn Smist is a Ph.D. student in the Higher Education within the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Jenn also currently works at the University of Illinois in Residential Life as the Program Director for the Weston Exploration and LEADS Living Learning Communities and teaches an introductory leadership course.

Jenn received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Boston University. She served two years as an AmeriCorps VISTA with Massachusetts Campus Compact before receiving a Master of Arts degree in Counseling and Personnel Services from the University of Maryland. Prior to moving to Illinois, she worked at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Jenn’s research interests include college student leadership development and leadership instructor development. In her work with the Illinois Leader Lab, Jenn is working with Dr. Rosch on a nation longitudinal study of student leadership development through participation in the LeaderShape Institute.


Nicole Nelson


Nicole Nelson is a second year graduate student in the Agricultural Education program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Animal Sciences at the University of Illinois, along with a Minor in Leadership Studies.

Her career goal is to work with high school or college students to increase their personal and leadership development through participating in study abroad experiences. She is focused on registered student organizations and the impact that participation has on leadership development.


Timothy Callahan


Tim Callahan is a senior studying Agricultural Leadership Education with a minor in Business. He aspires to be a leadership trainer and educator, and his passion is working with developing other people.

Aside from being an undergraduate member of the Illinois Leader Lab research team, Tim works for the Illinois Leadership Center and serve on the DGS Leaders Advisory Board. Tim aims to help Dr. Rosch and the rest of the lab prepare for the upcoming year of research as well as complete is second undergraduate research project.


Nigel Smucker


Nigel Smucker is a senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is working towards a double major in Statistics and Communication with minors in Leadership Studies and Public Relations. He aspires to enter the world of sports analytics and podcasting .

When he is not spending time in the Illinois Leader Lab, Nigel works at the Illinois Leadership Center as one of the Graf Interns in charge of their I-Programs team. He also plays on the Illinois Men’s Ultimate Frisbee team. Nigel is eager to learn more about the impact of leadership in a student’s academic career.



 Olivia Schifferer


Olivia Schifferer is a second year undergraduate student double majoring in Industrial Organizational Psychology and Organizational Communication with a minor in Leadership Studies. After receiving her bachelor’s degree, she plans to attend graduate school for her Master’s degree in Labor and Employment Relations. Olivia plans to enter the field of Human Resources upon graduation.

Apart from her studies, Olivia works at the Illinois Leadership Center as a leadership paraprofessional. She also dedicates time to raising awareness and funds for suicide prevention. Olivia is excited to be a part of our research team as well as work on many undergraduate research projects over the next few years.

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