Frequently Asked Questions


“It says on the application that I should plan to devote around 3 hours a week for this program. What will I be doing during these 3 hours a week?”

There is a scheduled 3.5-hour meeting every 3 weeks (see application for the scheduled dates and times) and a few all-day experiences where students will be engaging in workshops, presentations, and conversations with guest speakers. In the weeks where there is no scheduled meeting, it is our expectation that the students will be actively engaging in their leadership practicum and preparing for the next scheduled meeting. Therefore, we believe that a student in this program will be using approximately 3 hours week of their time to successfully navigate this program and its expectations.

“What do the seminars and day-long experiences involve? How will I be expected to prepare for them?”

The seminars are comprised of guest speakers, student-led theory and praxis workshops, leadership crucibles, roundtables, peer mentorship opportunities, and skills training. The all-day meetings are for emotional intelligence training, crucial conversation training, and courage to lead training. All of these training opportunities will have a focus on ethics. The group will meet face-to-face 18 times in the program.

List of Guest Speakers (2016-17)

  • John Geist, Pat Finneran, Laura Carlson, Bob Bernhart – Advisory Council Leadership Panel
  • Denny Faurote, The Faurote Group – Emotional Intelligence
  • Dr. Scott Sheehan, Senior Director, Molecular Design & Lead Generational Technologies, Lilly – Leadership Insights
  • Dr. Joe Frontiera, Leadership and Organization Effectiveness, Electronic Arts – Crucial Conversations
  • Eric Love, ND HR – Diversity & Inclusion
  • Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart, President, Amarillo College – Leadership Insights
  • Dr. Heidi Taylor, WTAMU – The Courage to Lead

“What is a ‘self-identified’ leadership role mean? It seems to be an important part of the selection process and an integral part of the program.

Applicants need to be able to identify a leadership role that they will be engaged in during the time in the program. However, it does not have to be the entire year of the program. If it is an intensive 3-month period of leadership or something shorter than the entire year of the program, it may still be appropriate. The leadership role will be the primary active learning opportunity for students in the program, so it is important that each participant has a meaningful opportunity identified in which he or she can engage in during the program.

“What are some examples of an appropriate leadership role that I can be engaged in during this program?”

Leadership, broadly defined is, a person who guides or directs a group. Therefore, any role in which you have influence on the direction of a group may be used as a leadership role. Some examples include:

  • A large lab group where you have increased responsibilities and oversee other grad students or undergrad students
  • Mentorship of an undergrad student club
  • President, vice-president (etc.) of a student organization
  • Leading a summer learning project through the Center for Social Concerns
  • Editor of a journal, industry publication
  • Volunteer at a community organization where you manage others
  • Organizing a conference
  • Coaching an athletic team on campus or in the community

If you have any questions about the appropriateness of your identified leadership opportunity in relation to your application, please talk to the coordinator of the program, Dr. John Lubker (

“I am never really had a leadership experience and I am not sure I consider myself a leader, but I want to learn more. Is this an appropriate program for me?”

Yes, it is. Anyone who is motivated to learn more about themselves as leaders are encouraged to apply. However, not everyone who applies will be accepted. Therefore, if you apply and are not accepted, there are other leadership opportunities through the Graduate School’s professional development program that you are encouraged to participate in.

“A $1400 stipend, that’s great! Do I have to complete the entire program before I receive the money?”

The stipend will be distributed in three equal installments at the end of each academic semester – fall, spring, and summer.

“What if I cannot make some of the dates/times listed on the application as required? It seems like 100% attendance is expected”

All participants are expected to attend all meetings. However, if there is a potential conflict with a conference, research trip, or something of that nature missing a meeting will be allowed. If you know in advance of applying for the program there will be meetings that you will not be able to attend, please discuss this in your application.

“How do you define ‘STEM’? Am I eligible for this program?”

The National Science Foundation (who funds this program) defines STEM as chemistry, computer and information technology science, engineering, geosciences, life sciences, mathematical sciences, physics and astronomy, social sciences (anthropology, economics, psychology and sociology), and STEM education and learning research. If your program of study is one of these fields, then you are eligible for the program.

“How early in my program should I apply?”

This program is for students in their 3rd and 4th year of study. Therefore, you should apply in the spring of your 2nd or 3rd year.

“I am already beyond my 4th year, but I’m very interested in the program. Is there a way for me to participate?”

Unfortunately, no. However, there are other leadership training experiences that are offered through the Graduate School – Check out the professional development program page.

“What kinds of other leadership training opportunities are available through the Graduate School’s professional development program? Can I participate in those and the EL-STEM?”

Our professional development program offers a wide variety of workshops and there are other leadership workshops and opportunities throughout the year. If you are in the EL-STEM program, you are encouraged to attend other workshops.

“What kind of course credit will I receive? Will it count towards my degree?”

You will be enrolled in 1 credit hour each semester. It will count toward your degree but does not satisfy any course requirements your program may have.

“What will I be able to do with the skills/certificate/experience afterward?”

Hopefully, you’ll use the knowledge you gain for your own success here on campus and beyond. Most importantly, you’ll use your experience to make this community a even better place!

“Can I put this on my CV?”

Of course! In fact, it is something that may get you noticed!

“Do I have to have my leadership role already lined up when I apply?”

The application will ask you to identify your leadership role. However, you are not mandated to stick with your proposal. Some students refine or switch leadership roles before the program starts.

“Can I participate in this program at the same time as another leadership/ethics/certificate program?”

Not concurrently.