Responsible leadership in action

Campus shot of students going to class.

Photo by Anibal Ortiz

Claremont McKenna College students reflect and embody the College’s mission to prepare students for thoughtful and productive lives and responsible leadership in business, government, and the professions.

They also are key contributors themselves to shaping CMC’s mission from taking on roles as responsible leaders in student government, to leading research as institute and center fellows, to seeking and implementing solutions to real-world problems inside and outside of the classroom.

In their own words, three CMC students who exemplify responsible leadership share their academic journeys, as well as how they each define the CMC experience and mission, including the Open Academy, the ethos behind CMC’s tight-knit community, and what makes CMC stand out amongst other liberal arts colleges.

Zane Yamamoto ’24
Major: PPE and Economics
President, Associated Students of Claremont McKenna College (ASCMC)

Zane Yamamoto ’24.

“I was struck by how unique CMC’s mission was, and how seriously folks —from trustees to faculty to staff — carry out and implement long-range plans in their day-to-day tasks. I think constructive dialogue is such an important element of CMC’s commitments as an institution and for ASCMC to promote as student leaders, but also people who are there to facilitate student connections … [such as creating] the spaces where students can debate and discuss contentious controversial issues, and be able to do so in a respectful way that preserves the kind of unique CMC community and dialogue that we have. And I think that also goes in tandem with our commitments to the Open Academy for expression and our unique kind of ethos as a liberal arts college.”

Meghna Pamula ’25
Major: Data Science and Government 
Research Assistant, Economic Journalism Program, Lowe Institute of Political Economy
Student Manager, Kravis Lab for Social Impact
Research Assistant, Gould Center for Humanistic Studies

Meghna Pamula ’25.

“Being a responsible leader feels like putting ethical considerations at the forefront of a lot of the things that you do, and putting the communities that you’re part of, and the people you may be leading, before your own interest. CMC’s Dean of Students, for example, and other people who work in those types of positions, are very open to talking directly to students. It really makes a difference …. The student resources and opportunities are among the most notable things about CMC. Even if you don’t actively look for them, there are so many opportunities everywhere. I’ve been able to explore more interdisciplinary interests, creativity, and especially visual arts, which for me has always been something that I'm passionate about, although that’s not what I'm studying here at CMC.”

Julissa Ponce ’24
Major: Economics-Accounting
Robert Day Scholar
VP, Claremont Accounting Association
Romero Success Coach

Julissa Ponce ’24.

“Finance professionals have so many different ways to make a positive impact in the world. And to me, it’s been really meaningful to have my Accounting professors emphasize the importance of environmental, social and governance practices when it comes to making investment decisions. I decided to take the FEI (Financial Economics Institute)’s FinTech Practicum class fall semester, because I wanted to see how the academic knowledge I learned in the classroom was translatable into solutions within the finance industry, and get hands-on, real-world experience. Coming into CMC, I knew the College was professionally oriented. And the alumni are so invested in wanting students to succeed. So becoming a Romero Success Coach was just one way for me to pay forward all of the support that I have received during my time here.”

— Anne Bergman
— Video Produced by Anibal Ortiz


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