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Be a member of the inaugural CALS Global Student Leaders Program!

The challenges of today and tomorrow will not only require technical skill, but also creativity, passion, courageous leadership, and commitment.

Apply today to learn how you can be part of the solution!

The CALS Global Student Leaders Program is designed for students eager to tackle complex issues in agriculture, food security, and health. For challenges that transcend geographic boundaries and sectors, leaders for the next generation need to practice and develop skills such as critical thinking, leadership, and systems-thinking to create meaningful impact. This seven-session program will offer opportunities to focus on personal and professional development that can translate to the workplace, local community, and abroad. Students will leave the Program with:

  • A stronger understanding of complex issues (framed through the lens of the UN Sustainable Development Goals)
  • The skills to identify how to break down complex challenges
  • A greater ability to convince diverse audiences why action is required/the time is now!
  • Additional confidence as a leader at any position or role you hold
  • Other practical tools and skills you can immediately apply to your coursework
  • Opportunities to continue in a leadership position past your time in the Program

Students who successfully complete the program will also be eligible to apply for scholarships to attend the World Food Prize in Des Moines, IA in October 2022 and network with leaders in global food security.

Tentative program dates are February 27 – May 1, 2022. 
Opening and closing session will be held on Sundays (dinner will be provided) and all other sessions (5) will be held in the evenings. All sessions delivered on VT campus.

Applications due by December 8

  • You are interested in understanding complex (systemic) issues that span sectors and geographic regions
  • You have a strong desire to further your leadership skills 
  • You know about and want to connect your work to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 
  • You want to better utilize your current network at Virginia Tech (and expand it!)
  • You want an academic experience that deviates from the norm, where you’re expected to help design your own experience
  • Eligibility: You must have completed at least three semesters enrolled in VT prior to the program commencement OR you’re a transfer students who has completed at least one semester at VT before program commencement
    • Note: preference will be given to CALS majors
  • Application: You must complete an application and submit a letter of recommendation from one VT faculty member
  • Time commitment:  You should plan for approximately 20 hours of in-person meeting time over the course of the spring semester (Delivered in person on Blacksburg Campus). 
  • Note: the kick-off session is mandatory, held Sunday, February 27.
Session 1: Welcome and Overview of Program  February 27 (kickoff) 2-8 pm, Dinner will be served
Session 2: Framing your challenge  March 3 6-8 pm
  March 10 One on one virtual check-in
Session 3: Contextualizing the Challenge March 17 6-8 pm
Session 4: Leadership as a tool for change March 24 6-8 pm
  March 31 One on one virtual check-in
Session 5: Developing a Communication Strategy for Impact April 7 6-8 pm
  April 14 Virtual check-in with project teams and team leaders
Session 6: Presenting your Pitch to the Public April 21 6-8 pm
Session 7: Individual Action Plan and Forward Planning May 1 3-7 pm, Dinner will be served