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"I had no hesitation about joining the Presidential Emerging Leaders Program. I was in a new place with new people and what better way to meet others than to join an on campus group? I liked being involved in high school clubs and activities and a college leadership program seemed to be a perfect fit. I was right. I enjoyed being with a group of peers who had the same goals I did and having guidance from our phase mentors. The program itself is a perfect way to enhance natural leadership capabilities through group and individual activities as well as event planning and projects. It wasn't so much what I learned in PELP that was important but rather the experience of working with other leaders and growing as an individual."
Ashlee Matthews
Account Manager, Henry Wurst, Inc.

"The PELP program provided me with a supportive community of like-minded peers. We met every week and many of us became very good friends. This group provided a solid and predictable network of friends that would become some of my most respected collegiate peers.
PELP encouraged us to become greater people than we thought we could be. Perhaps the most memorable avenue for this was through a "campus issues" project where we identified changes needed on campus and became active agents in making those changes happen. The work of PELP students through these "campus issues" projects left thumbprints on campus. The university full heartedly supported these projects, which demonstrated PSU's commitment to student development.
Lastly, PELP broadened my awareness about the opportunities available to me. Through this organization I connected up with a nonprofit organization supporting children with cancer--Camp Quality--an organization I have now been involved with for 7 years and of which I am the Assistant Director.
PELP not only teaches students how to harness their leadership capacities, but it also provides avenues to practice leadership, and it provides a group of supportive peers that lead to a synergistic environment."

Codi Schale
PhD Candidate in Counseling Psychology

"The Presidential Emerging Leaders Program allowed me to smoothly transition from a high school leader to a leader on campus. Often times, it's a difficult fit to find your niche in leadership when going into a completely new environment but by doing PELP at Pitt State I walked into a leadership position on the first day of school, freshman year. How rare of an experience that is!
PELP offered opportunities that allowed me to develop as a leader on campus in areas that were important to me. After a few months in the program I knew which campus organizations I was really interested in and made contacts that helped me throughout college and beyond to my professional career. With the influence of PELP staff members and others involved I became a NSTA officer, Student Ambassador, Resident Assistant, Student KNEA member, Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society Member and Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society Member. Not to mention the awards I was honored to received like Golden Gorilla, Regional RA of the month and PSU Teacher of Promise. Last but not least, I received multiple scholarships throughout the duration of my Pitt State tenure, which I can partially attribute to my involvement on campus.
The benefits didn't end the day I walked across a stage and received a diploma. I'm proud to be the only Elementary Education major who graduated in December and was able to start an actual teaching job three weeks later (in January). I have multiple PELPcontacts that I feel would still be a reference for me and a solid voice of professional advice. In an ironic turn of fate, I was able to bring back the Student Council students that I was in charge of at my elementary school on a leadership field trip. PELP facilitated leadership activities for us and I heard several students say, "I'm coming to college here!" I'm proud to represent Pittsburg State to these leaders even though they are only 12! I continue to be a teacher, two and a half years later. I only hope that I can impact young lives in a positive way like Pittsburg State and the PELP program did in my life."

Emily Clayton
Teacher/Coffeyville School District

"PELP is a group of students recognized by University President Dr. Tom Bryant, who makes annual visits to the class. It is an excellent opportunity for those students with a natural aptitude for leading others, like your sports' team captains, student body class presidents, club presidents, amongst others. Entering PELP as a freshman, students stay as a group throughout its four year duration. Lasting relationships, friendships and networks are built in class time alone. The material covered in class would not be new to these young leaders, rather opportunities to expand and improve what already exists. 
Some of PELP's benefits are not even experienced in the class itself, rather in the extracurricular activities to which it is related. One requirement of the class is that students serve as a member of a student organization's officer team. It is here that students can really find a niche and a style of leadership to develop. From there, networks grow as do friendships. 
I would consider PELP a gateway through which I've found many leadership opportunities on campus and within my own department. As a leader on Pitt State's campus, I've been an officer of my program's student club for three years, been a member of Dr. Bryant's Crimson Club, served as a College of Technology Ambassador, received a Golden Gorilla, coordinated the Department of Engineering Technology's career fair and even started my own student organization to support women in Engineering Technology. Without the support of the material covered in PELP and the other student and advisors within the program, I know I could not have done it. Being an effective leader requires support, and that is what students receive here. 
I would urge you to encourage those students at your school who are considering attending Pittsburg State University to further pursue excellence and apply for Presidential Emerging Leaders Program. Its benefits are far from measurable and the experiences unforgettable."

Samantha Pinkal
PSU 2008 December Gradaute

"I believe PELP helped me to meet many people that I would not have gotten to know otherwise. I was able to participate in many opportunities to attend events in Kansas and in Washington D.C. that allowed me to explore my leadership abilities, beliefs, and let me meet even more people. PELP helped me to have a confidence in myself as a leader and to further develop the skills and desires to lead that I had. PELP allowed me to be creative with my ideas of how to be a leader. I was able to practice my leadership skills in ways that I, along with my classmates, felt were appropriate ways to be leaders. I got to do fun things, such as; ropes course, In to the Streets, Thanksgiving dinner at the homeless shelter, and making ribbons to raise money after 9/11. PELP gave me a place to belong when I was a freshman and knew no one on campus. PELP leaders helped to guide me into the career that I have today. I graduated with my Bachelors degree in Social Work and now work as a Social Worker with SRS."
Tina Westbay

The PELP application process is now closed until Summer/Fall of 2016.

Questions or comments about the Presidential Emerging Leaders Program?  Contact Eva Sager at or (620) 235-4795.