Student applicants sought for Presidential Leadership Academy

January 20, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Presidential Leadership Academy will be accepting applications and faculty/staff nominations for the spring 2015 class until 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 30. For those interested in learning more, an information session will be held from 5 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 22, in C-9, Atherton Hall.

Each spring, the Academy selects 30 rising sophomores (current freshmen who will be sophomores next semester) at the University Park campus for its incoming class.

The program is designed to promote and cultivate values that are critical to the full development of Penn State’s undergraduates, including civility, philanthropy, respect for diversity and student engagement.

“Students in The Presidential Leadership Academy have the opportunity to meet weekly with the President of the University and the dean of the Schreyer Honors College.

-- Melissa Doberstein, director of The Presidential Leadership Academy

“Students in The Presidential Leadership Academy have the opportunity to meet weekly with the President of the University and the dean of the Schreyer Honors College as well as leaders across campus and the nation who share their experiences, particularly on tough decisions they have had to make," said Melissa Doberstein, director of The Presidential Leadership Academy.

"They also have a unique opportunity to discuss topics and issues that are significant on a campus, national and global level to develop critical thinking skills to grow as a leader.” 

With each class limited to 30 students, the PLA provides integrated coursework, hosts leadership seminars, promotes civic engagement through community participation and sponsors educational trips. Past trips have included the Grand Canyon, San Francisco, Boston and Washington, D.C. In March, the class will be traveling to Puerto Rico to examine leadership perspectives from historical, political and cultural aspects. The trip will also include a visit to El Yunque National Forest, the Bioluminescent Bay and the Arecibo Observatory.

The three-year leadership development program also includes a two-credit honors class taught by Penn State President Eric Barron and a three-credit honors course taught by Schreyer Honors College Dean Christian Brady.

“The leadership academy allowed me to surround myself with extremely thoughtful students, amazing teachers like President Erickson and Dean Brady, mentors who stayed connected through lunches and dinners as well as trips around the country to meet distinguished professionals. I was able to learn a lot about myself, build my confidence and prepare to be a leader in my community,” said Eli Kariv, a senior majoring in marketing and current academy member.

Selection is based on a student's academic achievements, leadership potential and commitment to critical thinking exhibited during the applicant's first year at Penn State. A minimum 3.2 grade-point average is required for selection. 

Students admitted into the academy are drawn from across the University. Admission is not exclusive to students in the Schreyer Honors College.

For more information about the program and application process visit Faculty and staff are encouraged to nominate qualified students here

Last Updated January 22, 2015