Leadership U

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Designed for students entering their junior year in high school, the Leadership U program empowers students to learn by doing. Students can expect to:

  • Work in teams to discuss, reflect upon and develop solutions for problems that affect them and their peers in the community.
  • Develop mentoring relationships with adult community leaders. 
  • Learn about Howard County’s government, businesses, and services.
  • Hone their presentation skills. 

Click here for a Program Snapshot

“Leadership U made an impact on many levels, more than just the surface. Of course, through a program as extraordinary as LU, I gained a toolset of skills that I will carry with me through my high school, college, and professional life; but the most profound aspect of LU was how it brought me together with people of varying backgrounds and instilled in me a passion for helping others in our Howard County community.” – Justin Cargiulo

The last Information session for the 2020 program is scheduled for Sunday, March 1 from 3 to 4 pm at the HCLS Miller Branch. Come learn about the program in more detail and find out what past grads have to say.  For more information, click here.

Benefits of the LU Program

As a teacher in the County, I want to express my gratitude and admiration for the opportunities Leadership U has given my students. Over my 20 years with Howard County, I know of no other program that builds our student population into considerate, responsible, engaged citizens.  Read more...

2020 LU Program Overview

Photos from Leadership U 2019

Leadership U is a four-month program and consists of the following components:

  • A week-long summer program of team building, leadership skills development, tours of county facilities and identification of issues affecting youth in Howard County.
  • A fall session focusing on community service projects created and implemented by the students.
  • Program cost: $995 (2020). Tuition assistance is available, which must be requested at the time of application. Payment plans are available.
  • Schedule of Key 2020 Program Dates, click here

Leadership U is open to high school juniors who live or attend school in Howard County. Students may attend public or private schools. Home-schooled students are also welcome. To be considered, students must apply during their sophomore year.

Students must have a desire to learn about their community and a willingness to volunteer. LU is a great way to meet new people from different schools who share similar interests in knowing more about their community and who want to make a positive impact.

The program kicks off in July with daily team-building sessions and learning activities and continues with bi-monthly fall meetings. The Leadership U schedule works for many busy students, even those who have fall sports or other activities.  Summer Week 2020 will be held Sunday, August 2 (beginning late afternoon) and run through Friday, August 7, 2020.

Key 2020 Program Dates, click here

For the full 2020 schedule, click here

Leadership U graduates are encouraged to remain involved in the program by acting as student mentors to new Leadership U students and by spearheading their own community activities following graduation.  LU graduates often continue their community service through active volunteering, school leadership roles, and advisory board positions.   In the past, students have served on the Howard County Commission for Women, Student Member of the Howard County Board of Education, Police Advisory Board, Howard County Public School System Advisory Groups, #One Howard, and various nonprofit boards.  These student leaders provide a valuable youth perspective in these unique roles.  LU graduates also have participated in internships with the Howard County Government (including the County Executive’s Office), Howard County Council, and the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship.   Many have also found their expanded leadership capabilities valuable as they transition to college and other future endeavors.

Interested in Applying?

Applications, reference forms, and tuition assistance forms are available online for current high school sophomores and are due no later than March 12, 2020.  Personal interviews will be scheduled after application submission and students will be notified of their acceptance in May.  The program begins in the summer preceding the student’s junior year. 

“LU provided me with the opportunity to see how I can stay engaged in the community as a student and future leader to affect others.”  -Tommy Na

APPLY NOW LU Reference Form LU Financial Assistance Form

Interested in Volunteering with LU?

If you enjoy working with high school students and want to help a motivated group of students make an impact on their community, please consider getting involved with Leadership U.

LU Volunteer Opportunities

For information or to volunteer, contact Meg Ignacio at 410-730-4474 x115 or [email protected]

“Leadership U exposed me to networks of professionals in Howard County who share my passion for fostering social justice, which inspired me to further engage with my community and initiate action where it was needed and start a food pantry at my school.” – Madelyn Harris

Become a Mentor

As part of their leadership development, students work in teams and design their own community service projects. Adult mentors work closely with the teams, helping guide their efforts to produce valuable contributions to the community. Our teams of bright, energetic and dedicated teens meet twice a month on Sunday afternoons (from 2 – 4:30 p.m.) for 9 weeks, from August through December.

“When I was first approach about volunteering as a Leadership U mentor, I needed very little time to think about it.  Here was an opportunity for me to give back to my community and engage in my passion, volunteering.  LU gives great exposure to young people in Howard County, as well as leadership and skill development.  I will be celebrating my 5th year with the Class of 2019.  I can say with great confidence that mentoring with LU is quite an exciting journey.” – Taylor Kimble

“My mentor, Ralph, taught us how to work outside of our comfort zones and think creatively when trying to find solutions to problems.  Leadership U has helped me develop crucial skills that have helped me better work with and for my community.” – Nikita Kale

Click here for a detailed Mentor Job Description

 “I built a strong relationship with my mentor, Mrs. Karen, and the director, Ms. Meg, that will allow me to contact them with any questions, ideas or comments I have about future issues.” – Nina Bundy

“Every step of the way, our mentor was supportive of our team project.  She took a hands-off approach and let our group run wild with our ideas and passions.” – Drew Kassman

Thank you to our LU Sponsors!

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