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CMU's Leadership Institute offers $8,000 scholarships for student leaders

The Leader Advancement Scholarship helps students create impact

Contact: Heather Smith

​Central Michigan University offers more scholarships for leadership than any ot​her college or university in the Midwest.

The Leader Advancement Scholarship, worth up to $8,000, is awarded each year to 40 high school seniors who have distinguished themselves through a record of leadership and service.

“There is no specific type of student for the Leadership Institute — some were president of the student council, some were captains of athletic teams, and others were heavily involved in drama, arts or music programs,” said Dan Gaken, director of CMU’s Leadership Institute. “What they have in common is a passion for making their schools and communities better.”

The scholarship provides $2,000 for each academic year with a four-year value of $8,000. Applications for the Leader Advancement Scholarship are due Saturday, Jan. 31. Apply online and learn more about CMU’s Leadership Institute.

“The environment we create by bringing together 40 dynamic and engaged students is astonishing,” Gaken said. “Students thrive in the positive environment that results from bringing so many diverse student leaders together in one community.”

Meet a few scholarship recipients to learn about their experience as a Leader Advancement Scholar. From involvement in Residence Life to studying across the globe, see the faces of students taking the lead at CMU:


Bellal Ammar, freshman
International relations and Spanish major from Livonia, Michigan

Life as a Leader Advancement Scholar
“Leader Advancement Scholars love what they do and are passionate about changing the world. The Leadership Institute helps you work towards your goals and helps you find people who share the same passions.”

The scholarship’s immediate impact
“LAS has set me up with a network of leaders. As a freshmen, I have people of all different ages asking me if I need any help or have any questions. Coming to a big university is usually a hard transition, but the Leadership Institute offers the guidance and opportunities student leaders need to be successful.”

His favorite involvements
K-12 program facilitator with CMU’s Leadership Institute, Barnes Hall Council and Breaking the Silence


Kiara Wallace, sophomore
Political science major from Flint, Michigan

Life as a Leader Advancement Scholar
“The Leadership Institute reminds me of my responsibility as a leader at CMU, but it's much more than leadership — it’s friendship. There is always a new opportunity, experience or innovative way to further yourself and make an impact.”

Resources necessary to be successful
“The Leadership Institute staff truly wants me to be successful. They go out of their way to answer questions or direct me to opportunities to better my leadership skills. This office serves as a support system, resource and family.”

Her favorite involvements
Residence Hall Assembly, Phi Alpha Delta, Pi Sigma, Gear Up, Christ Central Choir and Relay for Life


Michael Snider, junior
Personal financial planning major from Shelby Township, Michigan

Life as a Leader Advancement Scholar
“Being a Leader Advancement Scholar is one of my greatest accomplishments because it was both a rewarding capstone to my high school life and a momentous stepping stone into my college career. At CMU, there are opportunities around every corner.”

Continued friendships
“By providing a cohort of people with the drive to get involved and be leaders every day, the scholarship experience helped me develop a support group in the early years of college. These relationships continue to grow each day.”

His favorite involvements
Residence Life, Circle K, Beta Theta Pi, Future Alumni Association and Future Financial Advisors Association


Samantha Johnson, senior
Elementary Education major from Homer, Michigan

Life as a Leader Advancement Scholar
“Being a part of a Leader Advancement Scholar cohort means being surrounded by people who inspire you each and every day. LAS has brought a whole new definition of family and leadership into my life, and I am incredibly thankful for these mentors and friends.”

CMU graduates leaders
“Before graduation, I’d like to become a better mentor, role-model and leader for current and future CMU students. I want to inspire them to be the best that they can be.”

Her favorite involvements
Leadership Institute Connections Leadership Conference, Study Abroad Alumni Association and Alpha Chi Omega

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