Presidential Leadership Academy Applications and Nominations Open for 2022

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pennsylvania — Each year, 30 freshmen from the Penn State University Park campus are selected to become members of the Presidential Leadership Academy (PLA).

Founded with a principal gift from Edward R. and Helen S. Hintz in 2009, PLA was created for students to develop critical thinking skills and educate them to understand the complexity and variability of current events and global issues. . A fundamental tenet of APL is that the world rarely operates at extremes and it is the space in between – the gray area, where leadership is developed and defined.

“The PLA is an amazing opportunity for students. The most unique aspect is that students share a class not only with the president [Eric] Barron, but also to hold discussions with peers from different points of view,” Presidential Leadership Academy Director Melissa Doberstein said. “Each cohort has students from all academic backgrounds, and all students share their own unique experiences and backgrounds with each other. In addition to classes, the opportunity to participate in field trips, network, and hear from a wide range of speakers, APL strives to enhance each student’s learning. »

In addition to program courses, students attend leadership seminars, engage in community programs, and, when travel is permitted, participate in fully-funded field trips scheduled during each academic semester that aim to make the light on social, political and environmental issues outside the University.

The President of Penn State teaches a weekly seminar for sophomores. Additional courses focused on leadership development are led by Schreyer Honors College Dean Patrick T. Mather and Doberstein. The final year in PLA ends with a capstone experience and an e-portfolio project.

“PLA has given me a wide range of extremely close friends and relationships,” said Amanda Mohamed, a third-year student studying labor and human resources, global and international studies, and Spanish.

“In addition to courses with access to high-level officials, different programs and immersive trips, I had the opportunity to do an internship for the PLA and to acquire important experiences to advance my career. I have met many alumni through the internship and helped PLA students make those same connections. Networking with people is a skill I learned to develop through PLA,” Mohamed said.

PLA has supported Mohamed with large grants to help fund his college experiences. For example, she received a scholarship to go to Hawaii to work in a bee sanctuary and was able to afford a new laptop with the help of the APL.

Anton Aluquin, a third-year student studying immunology and infectious diseases, found working with real-world political issues to be the most impactful part of his PLA experience.

“Getting a taste of public health policy, or politics in general, isn’t something that many undergraduates get to experience,” Aluquin said. “In class, we learned to apply our leadership skills when dealing with multi-faceted political issues.”

Freshmen at University Park with a GPA of 3.2 or higher can apply to PLA by midnight, Friday, February 25. Additionally, Penn State faculty and staff may nominate qualified first-year students. The deadline to do so is Friday, February 15.

Questions and inquiries about the admissions process, including nominations, can be directed to Melissa Doberstein at [email protected]

Kevin E. Boling