The President’s Leadership Academy (PLA) provides a professional learning experience for action-oriented students who have demonstrated a desire and commitment to improving their community and leading with integrity. 

About the Academy 

PLA is a selective learning experience for up to 20 of Southeast’s most outstanding upper-level student leaders.  

Participants have the opportunity to use their leadership skills to make a difference within their campus community. The PLA class will learn about campus priorities and objectives for the academic year to pitch a detailed proposal for the Southeast Success ProjectThis group projectallows student leaders to work as a team to achieve a meaningful and sustainable influence on these goals. 

Furthermore, as the top tier of the Southeast Leadership programs, select University faculty/staff and community leaders are brought in to deliver leadership content and lessons learned from their leadership journeys. 

Application Process 

President's Leadership Academy (PLA) is a non-credit-bearing leadership program that takes place on Wednesdays from 5:00pm - 7:00pm during the Fall semester.

To participate in the program, students must submit their PLA Application (to be linked here) in April and will be notified by the end of the Spring semester whether they have been selected to be in PLA for the Fall semester. To be considered for PLA, students must meet the following criteria at the time of application:

  1. Be an undergraduate SEMO student in at least their second year of college (preference given to students with at least 2 semesters left to complete their undergraduate degree);
  2. Be an active leader in at least one student organization, team, or community group;
  3. Be in good judicial standing; and
  4. Have a cumulative 2.75 GPA or higher.


As the top tier of the Southeast Leadership Programs, the President’s Leadership Academy (PLA) offers a selective learning experience for up to 20 of Southeast’s most outstanding upper-level student leaders.

PLA participants will:

  • network with and learn from other student leaders as well as University and community leaders.
  • analyze various leadership material, reflect on their experiences, and share their thoughts and perspectives.
  • learn how to apply leadership competencies to improve their competitiveness for employment as early career professionals.
  • become responsible leaders within their respective university communities and beyond.
  • put their leadership skills into action by working together on a Southeast Success Project, aimed at enhancing the student experience at Southeast, and pitching their detailed proposal to University leaders, including the University President.
PLA 2021 Major Hometown
Ainiwaer Ailixier Accounting Yining, China
Kate Appleman Biomedical Sciences Jackson, MO
Madelyn Asbury Health Communication Vergennes, IL
Garion Beatty Corporate Communications Steelville, MO
Callista Borst Management Jackson, MO
Layla Bouzihay Marketing Jonesboro, AR
Charles Luke Collins Social Studies Jackson, MO
Philip Francis Business Administration Cape Girardeau, MO
Daniel Frew Political Science Swansea, IL
Douglas Gray Cybersecurity Swansea, IL
Kayda Joseph Economics St. George's, Grenada
Nolan Knupp Biomedical Sciences Jonesboro, IL
Elvis Maina Engineering Technology: Mechanical/Manufacturing Systems Nairobi, Kenya
Mohammed Osman Cybersecurity Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Logan Phillips Corporate Communications St. Louis, MO
Joel Philpott Finance and Entrepreneurship Collinsville, IL
Grace Powderly Biomedical Sciences Cape Girardeau, MO
Shadan Roumany Biomedical Sciences Cape Girardeau, MO
Cragin Steed Management Collierville, TN
Justin Tuschhoff Psychology Cape Girardeau, MO

During this class, I had the opportunity to improve my leadership skills by meeting with many influential people and carrying out a project of our choosing. Our project raised awareness at Southeast and in the Cape community about the safety and parking issues on Normal Street. Working with members of the school and city, and even appearing before the City Council, this class put my leadership skills to the test.

Maja Lundell from Stockholm, Sweden, Former SEMO Tennis Athlete and Research Assistant for the Dept. of Biology

My incredible PLA group was able to organize a piloted STEM mentoring program in the hopes to take our data and what we learned to help the retention rate of the college of STEM. 100% of the students who participated, both mentors and mentees, stated they benefitted from their experience.

Andrew Behrman from Belleville, Illinois, Former Theta Xi President, Senior Learning Assistant for University Tutorial Services, and Research Assistant for the Dept. of Biology

PLA has been a wonderful opportunity for me, as it has taught me how to put in the leadership skills I learned in Emerging Leaders and in First-year Leadership Program (FYLP). I would like to encourage everyone to apply for PLA because you meet and work along with some of the best individuals across the University. There’s so much diversity in the way everyone thinks, and putting those ideas together helps you create a wonderful project.

Mannat Varshney from Pune, India, Former Presidential Ambassador and Graduate of FYLP and Emerging Leaders
Contact Us
University Center, Room 414
Mailing Address
One University Plaza, MS 1200
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701