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May 5, 2022

Diller Teen Fellow Miami Alum Cecilia Edelberg Shares Her Experience

Meet Cecilia (Ceci) Edelberg, a Diller Teen Miami alum whose experience as a Diller Teen Fellow impacted her long after the culmination of the program.

Ceci grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina and moved with her family to Miami, where she graduated at the top of her class from Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School. She was the Student Body President, the President of Model UN, and the Editor-in-Chief of the school newspaper. She is an alum of Diller Miami’s Cohort 6 and volunteered at Maccabi Tzair (a Jewish youth group based in Latin America) where she served as a counselor for three years, as a counselor in the school of future counselors, and as a member of the executive board.

Ceci is currently a rising sophomore at the University of Florida (UF), studying public relations with a concentration in Latin American studies. On campus, Ceci is a member of the Alpha Epsilon Phi Sorority and serves as her chapter’s DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) Programming Chair. She has a number of leadership roles including Assistant Managing Director of UF Alpha Productions, Florida’s largest student-run public relations firm; Director of Public Relations of the Hispanic Student Association (I); Director of Leaders of Change, a freshman leadership program through UF Hillel; and Vice Chair of Communications of Chomp the Vote, a student government agency that aims to increase civic engagement.

We sat down with Ceci so she could share her thoughts on the program.

Ceci, what does it mean to you to be a leader?

“My definition of leadership prioritizes kindness and empathy. I believe that the best leaders are people who act as mentors and are able to help develop new leaders and the growth of others. A good leader knows and understands that they are not the smartest or the most important person in the room and are driven to guide others with compassion, empathy and understanding.

What did you gain from your Diller Teen Fellows experience?

Though the list could go on and on, there are two monumental things that I gained from Diller. The first is an unbelievable community. I have friends that I made through Diller all over the world and we can connect like no time has passed, even if years have gone by. I have not had an experience in any other Jewish organization like the one I had as a Diller Teen Fellow. I am able to connect to old friends and new people that participated in my year or others because of our strong common thread.

The second thing I gained from Diller was a result of the individualization of the Diller Fellowship. All of the other Fellows in my Cohort were excellent. Everyone held leadership positions, were active participants in their communities, good students, etc. and we received not much more than positive affirmation in all the other spaces that we were in. My time in Diller was the first the first time that I received genuine and constructive feedback from staff and from my peers that exercised my self-awareness and allowed me to really grow. As a Diller Teen Fellow, I learned a lot of things hands-on, like the importance of listening to others, how to give and receive feedback, and how to cope with challenges and persist through frustration. And I got to learn these lessons in 10th grade. I do not know who I would be today if I had not had that experience.

How did your Diller Fellowship year impact what you’re doing and where are you are now?

Diller gave me the confidence to explore all of the opportunities available to me and to decide how, when and where I can best use my time, energy and skills to maximize my impact. I am able to walk into interviews and articulate my thoughts and ideas eloquently and address my shortcomings or opportunities for growth.

There are about 15 Diller alumni on the University of Florida campus from Miami, including my sorority President, and the sense of connection and community we have is very special. We have been able to find a real Jewish home on campus with an incredible foundation built on our lasting connection with Israel, our relationships with the cohort in Yerucham and our shared experience of the Diller Teen Fellows program.

I am extremely grateful for my experience as a Diller Teen Fellow, and it will stay with me for my whole life.

Don’t miss your chance to have a transformative year. Applications for Diller Teen Fellows are open through Tuesday, May 31. Visit dillermiami.org for eligibility information and to learn more. Miami Diller Teen Fellows is an immersive leadership program operated by the Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education (CAJE), a Federation subsidiary.

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