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Frequently Asked Questions

Susan Jones, Fellow 2009

Below are some frequently asked questions regarding the 21st CenturyLeadership Training Academy. For additional information, call 314-516-6623, or email

What qualifications are necessary to participate in the program?
Demonstrated leadership and interest in public policy are the two primary considerations for successful participation in the program. Participants should check to see if there are other criteria specific to their school.  

Does it matter what my major is?
Past participants included pre-med and pre-law students, majors in business, social work, education, engineering and various liberal arts fields, so there is no specific academic profile for the successful leadership participant. Participants from diverse backgrounds offer perspectives which enrich policy discussions.

Where does the program take place?
All on-campus activities are held at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. The Leadership Academy also includes a day-trip to the State Capitol in Jefferson City, and may include site visits in the St. Louis area.

Can I take classes or work during the Academy week? No.  The Leadership Academy is a full-time residential program and participants are expected to participate in all sessions and activities, and reside on campus at UMSL for the entire program.

What if I live in St. Louis?  Do I still have to stay on campus?  Yes.  The Leadership Academy is an immersion experience.  The residential aspect of the program is crucial to building a strong and vibrant community.

What does the program cost?
Shear Fellows are responsible for travel costs incurred in getting to and from the Academy at University of Missouri-St. Louis.  Participating campuses express their commitment to the program by partially underwriting the tuition for their students, and the Sue Shear Institute raises money from individuals and foundations to cover program costs, including food, lodging and transportation during the Academy week.  

How many students attend the Leadership Academy each year?
In order to facilitate meaningful interaction and networking among participants and faculty, participation is limited. Participating institutions are invited to send four students to the program. If all schools participate fully, the program class will include 36 students.

How can I apply?
Contact the 21st Century Leadership Academy Advisor at your school to request an application. View Participating Schools for a list of advisors or call the Institute for Women in Public Life at 314-516-6623, or email For the University of Missouri - St. Louis, apply here.

What if my school is not listed as a participating institution?
Unfortunately, space is limited so only students attending one of the participating institutions are eligible to attend.  We regret that we cannot include more institutions.  If your school is not a participating institution but you are interested in the Institute, please send us an e-mail so that we can add you to our mailing list for other activities.  We offer internships and other programs that may be of interest to you.

What are some of the outcomes that graduates of the Academy can expect?
This summary report (PDF 250KB), written by former Institute Manager Dr. Dayna Stock, outlines some of the effects of programs like the Leadership Academy on young women's civic engagement and ambition.

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