Scholarship Details

Presidential Leadership Academy (PLA)

Application Deadline:





Each year, 30 first-year students at Penn State's University Park campus will be selected for membership to the Presidential Leadership Academy (PLA).

Founded with a lead gift from Edward R. and Helen S. Hintz in 2009, the PLA was established to develop critical-thinking skills and educate students to understand issues broadly. A diverse pool of members promotes consideration for the complexity and variability of world matters and current events, as well as for varying decisions and life circumstances. PLA values the idea that critical thinking on issues is not black or white, but instead, somewhere in the gray.


1) current status as a freshman at University Park
2) Plan to be enrolled at University Park for the sophomore, junior, and Senior years
3) a minimum GPA of 3.2 at time of application

Terms of Award:

A highlight of the Academy is a two-credit introductory seminar led by the President of the university. In addition to program coursework, students attend leadership seminars, engage in community programs, and, when travel is permitted, participate in fully funded field trips planned each academic semester that aim to shed light on social, political and environmental issues outside of Penn State’s campuses.

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 select group of applicants will be contacted for personal interviews with the Academy Selection Committee.

Please Submit:

complete the application process, which includes a resume, two essay questions, and two letters of recommendation

All questions and inquiries about nomination and application may be directed to Doberstein via email at

Online Application: