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Two Smeal students selected for Penn State Presidential Leadership Academy

May 10, 2017

Two rising sophomores who intend to declare majors in the Penn State Smeal College of Business have been chosen for the Penn State Presidential Leadership Academy. 

Ryan Christenson from Needham Heights, Massachusetts, and Tara Hally from Fairfax Station, Virginia, were selected for the three-year program and are part of the 30-member class of 2017. 

Founded with a lead gift from Edward R. and Helen S. Hintz in 2009, the PLA was established with the goal of developing critical thinking skills and educating students to understand issues broadly with consideration for the complexity and variability of world matters, decisions, and life’s circumstances. 

In addition to coursework for the program, students attend leadership seminars, engage in community programs and participate in fully funded field trips planned each academic semester to give students a broader prospective on social, political and environmental issues.

University President Eric Barron teaches a weekly seminar course in the student’s first year in the program. Honors courses are led by the Schreyer Honors College dean and Presidential Leadership Academy Director Melissa Doberstein, as well as a class with a focus on critical thinking. The final year concludes with a capstone experience and creation of an e-portfolio.

To be considered, students must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.2 or above at the time of application and include a current résumé with campus or external leadership activities. Two letters of reference, one from a Penn State faculty member, staff member or adviser and one in regard to external activities from someone such as a coach, mentor or supervisor, must be submitted with the application.

For more information on Penn State’s Presidential Leadership Academy, visit academy.psu.edu.

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