Engage - Claremont Lincoln University

A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with One Step

This student post was written by M.A. Ethical Leadership alumna, Kathy Trujillo.
Please see author bio at the end of post.


I recall reading the advertisement, “Take the next step in creating positive social change and learn about CLU’s online master’s programs.”  I felt I was finished with my formal schooling, but the thought of being part of something so new and innovative beckoned to me.  I questioned my sanity.  I had spent the past 20 years piecing together two associate’s degrees and a Bachelor’s degree and had told myself I was done. The CLU program somehow felt like a different journey, and I enrolled.

The first step was a class in mindfulness.  Each subsequent move created space, awareness, and motivation.  For someone who was “done,” walking meditations, journaling and visioning my role in shaping a compelling future for my community was inspiring.  The exploration of self, leadership and followership styles had me marching to a different tune.  I changed careers and began putting my CLU curriculum to work in the public school system. The steps became leaps as I formulated my Capstone Action Project and found myself in a leadership role within my community.  I was creating positive social change and finishing my coursework.

During this process, I had also been the lucky recipient of a lottery permit from the National Park Service.  I would be climbing the iconic Half Dome cables one day after I finished my degree program.  As soon as I submitted my final assignment, I packed my bags and arrived at Yosemite National Park.  The next day, with feelings of pride and accomplishment, I took another first step towards my next goal.  Hiking nearly 5000 feet above the valley floor, I made it to the top, and I ceremoniously threw my mortarboard high into the air.

There are times in our lives when we may feel “done,” or that the cost of money, time or energy is too great.  These are the times when we should heed the famous Chinese proverb and take that one first step.


Kathy Trujillo completed her journey of a Master’s in Ethical Leadership from Claremont Lincoln University in September.

She is currently employed by the Nevada Department of Education at her alma mater in her hometown.  As a Safe School Professional she works with the student body to prevent suicide and bullying behaviors.  In her effort to “be the change,” she capitalizes on her optimism to work towards creating a positive school climate, a safe and respectful learning environment and building student leaders.  Giving back to her community and the youth is one of the greatest joys in her life.

Student Contributor

We invite featured student contributors to write a submission for Engage. Learn about the featured student contributor at the end of each individual blog post.

Want to be a student contributor for Engage? We and our readers would love to read your submissions on driving positive social change. Contact us at info@claremontlincoln.edu.

Claremont Core

Claremont Lincoln University

Add comment

Get Our Latest Blogs in Your Inbox

Subscribe to our blog newsletter to receive all the latest updates from Engage.