Telling Our Story

The Sidney A. Ribeau President's Leadership Academy (PLA) is a four-year leadership development program that engages scholars in classes, workshops, experiential learning, and community service activities. The curriculum focuses on specific outcomes, with each year's experience building on those of the previous year. This section of the website highlights recent accomplishments and helps "Tell our Story".

Check the links on the left to learn about the personal success stories of students who contribute to the Sidney A. Ribeau President's Leadership Academy.

AmyBeing a scholar in the Sidney A. Ribeau President’s Leadership Academy has changed my life in such a positive way. PLA has been such a blessing for me; I cannot think of a program where you learn about yourself and others in the depth that I have in this program. I have formed so many different relationships with the people in my cohort and other scholars in the program. We refer to ourselves as a “PLAmily” because of the strong, family-like relationships we have with each other. I have learned more about what it means to be a leader in the past five months than I did throughout all of high school.

Since the beginning of my experience in the PLA, I have learned about the importance of diversity, especially in the leadership setting. I have also learned how to use my strengths in the most effective way in a group, as well as being aware of my weaknesses. The PLA has helped me understand that I am not always right and I don’t always have the greatest ideas. Being able to listen to different viewpoints and ideas is a quality I have developed since I have been in the PLA.

The PLA has helped me feel at home here at BGSU. The close relationships I have developed with other scholars and the staff in the Center for Leadership has helped me feel at home, while growing tremendously as a person. The staff builds a curriculum that has helped me adjust to the college lifestyle by working on my time management skills, helping me find what I am truly passionate about, and utilizing all the resources BGSU offers. I have found a group of people in the PLA to hold me accountable for my actions, as a student on and off campus, which is something I have realized is vital for my success as a BGSU student.

Since being a scholar in the PLA, I have had an unforgettable start to my 1st year as a BGSU student. I am so thankful for this opportunity I have been given to be in this program. I treasure the endless memories I have had with my PLAmily, including the meetings and projects we have done together. My experience has given me a different perspective on life, and I’m so grateful for that.

AveryI am a man aspiring for great things; elevated by the people I love most. The foundation of relationships is leadership. Without forming strong family bonds with the people closest to you, you lose the magic of being human. Sidney A. Ribeau had a vision of a campus full of leaders to guide people in the right direction. We all have the potential to be great leaders. Humans naturally gravitate towards people who feel and think the same way about themselves, people and the world. I am on this campus because I want to see his vision come to into reality. I cannot do that alone. The first thing is knowing, being and living who I am first, I need to build strong relationships with people who also share his vision. I need to elevate the people closest to me first so in return they can invest, time, energy, and trust in me. In return, I will try to help people see the same vision that Sidney A. Ribeau and I have. He understood what it meant to be a great leader. He knew that investing time, money and trust into Presidents Leadership Academy or PLA, that one day we would be willing to do that for somebody else; this is the essence of true Servant Leadership

I love people. We are amazing in every way. We are different, and love each other for it. We vary in creativity, physical looks, and status all while being human beings. And I love that we are. I love people so much! I like that we are different so we can spark and excite different ways to get progress in our society. This is what happened to me. I discovered that I am different, and loved myself for it. Then I let the people closest to me know that I love them. Nothing they do will ever make me stop loving them. I then discovered my passion, my goal in college and what I want to do in the future. My values of hard work, family, empathy, compassion, and drive have allowed me to firmly be grounded in who I am. With that I have a mission, my mission is the lead people to the next place. Mentally, physically, and spiritually to truly overcome rough obstacles in life, while using creativity to materialize my vision for others to see. I am grateful for the PLA – President’s Leadership Academy – to give me a strong family, educate me, fund me, and in return expect greatness from me. Thank you PLA. Now let’s get started.

JenniferBeing a scholar in the Sidney A. Ribeau President’s Leadership Academy has given me the support and guidance that has changed my life both academically and socially. After being accepted, I thought I was the luckiest person to have the amazing opportunity to be a part of such a prestigious organization on Bowling Green State University’s campus. The program is designed to push the scholar out of his/her comfort zone as a leader and also as a student, which began the first day of the summer bridge program. The summer program was an amazing learning experience that I would not trade for anything. Over this past summer I learned so much about who I am as a person, who I am as a leader, and I met 19 new best friends. The relationships and experiences that I gained over the summer made the transition to campus in the fall that much easier. Without PLA and going through the summer program my college experience would not be the same. The PLA sets strict guidelines for every scholar that helps keep them on track for their ultimate goals of becoming a better leader and graduating in four years. The PLA staff unconditionally provides the accepted student with unlimited resources to seek out help and advice that helps him/her stay on track. Outside of the PLA staff and my cohort, I also have the support of all the scholars in the other cohorts. It is an unreal experience to know how much everyone in the PLA truly cares about one another, and they help each other no matter the circumstance. Before I was accepted into the PLA, if someone told me how much this program would have changed my life and how much support I would have through my college experience, I would not have believed them. The experiences and knowledge that the PAL has offered me is truly life changing and I am so grateful to be a part of such an outstanding organization with people I can call my family.

JoshThe word grateful always shines in my eyes when thinking of the opportunity to be a part of the Sidney A. Ribeau President’s Leadership Academy. Ever since I learned about this opportunity, I was fully aware I wanted to be a part of the PLA. I remember getting a phone call on a Friday morning before school and realizing it was from BGSU. All I could fill was the rush of excitement when Dr. Snyder communicated I was being offered a spot into the 2014 cohort. I was elated to finally be a scholar in the program I had hoped to be a part of for a long time.

Stepping foot onto the campus in the hottest month of the year, July, was the start of an experience I would never forget. I never knew I would build such a strong relationship with so many people. I truly feel we were all selected to bring a diverse amount of personalities together to impact the BGSU campus. Hints of this happened through our collaborations starting in the summer program. When I needed help on an essay or someone to listen to me practice a speech, I was easily aided by those in my cohort. The summer program was also a chance to learn more about myself and what truly drives me and my values. Through the summer program I learned who I am is truly based on my life experiences and what I value. The summer program, though very rigorous and challenging, has helped me prepare for success in college.

As a PLA scholar, I realize how much this organization is an asset to my growth as an individual, leader, and as a student at Bowling Green State University. We are compelled to think deeply about what we value, who we are, and our purpose. Learning about how leadership is a process and involves a collaborative effort with followers to then create social has been enlightening. I have now been able to take what we have learned to apply it to past events. Furthermore I feel I am competent to apply those concepts to organizations I am in presently and in the future.

The support system established in this program is excellent with an opportunity to meet around 80 different scholars separated by the four years of college and staff who truly invest time to help me succeed. I am able to obtain advice from older scholars about matters like the classes I am taking, campus life and through monthly one on ones with an individual from staff. The PLA has been a nurturing family, or shall I say PLAmily, to me since the beginning. I truly say this experience has superbly impacted my life.

KylaAs a President’s Leadership Academy 2014 scholar, I have been exposed and learned a lot while being at Bowling Green for a very short time. PLA has provided me with resources and opportunities I may not have if I was not a part of this outstanding program. My life has already been changed for the better. PLA has been a big influence in my life and it has inspired me to instill similar values PLA has given me to other students at the university.

I am learning the importance of leadership, but servant leadership as well; the natural ability to serve first and lead second. I never considered myself a good leader until President’s Leadership Academy informed me on leadership and everything it includes. To be a great leader, I do not have to be the outgoing and loud student. I can lead from the back and still be equally effective. In college thus far, I have been exposed to things on campus before I was an actual student here. In our amazing four week program, we learn about campus resources, and benefits for asking for help as soon as needed, and leadership.

The major benefits PLA offers me, are the resources. My main resources are the other eighty plus scholars in the program. The senior, junior, and sophomore cohort have not only become some of my close friends, but they are people I truly admire and hope to become. They help me academically and with my personal life as well. The junior and freshmen cohort are in a mentoring program we all PALS. We are required to meet with them twice a month and it has been a great experience. Not only are we supposed to benefit from the relationship as mentees, but the mentors are supposed to learn are grow as well. The relationships I have made in this program are the reason I continue to strive as a student. They make me want to become a better person for not just myself but for the whole community.

Overall without the PLA I am not sure how my college career would be going right now. This program makes me want to be the best so I can become a great leader and a great role model for future cohorts. Because the President’s Leadership Academy hold us scholars to such high rankings, I want to produce nothing but the best to not make only the staff proud, but myself as well. We are more than just a scholarship program, we are a plamily.

KyleMy name is Kyle Jumper-Smith and I am a Detroit native that is a current junior at Bowling Green State University studying Inclusive Early Childhood Education with aspirations of becoming an elementary school principal and leadership facilitator for teacher development. I am also a Robert and Ellen Thompson Scholar in the Sidney A. Ribeau President’s Leadership Academy and have served different roles in my campus community as the Vice President of the university's Black Student Union and current Director of Diversity Affairs for my university's Undergraduate Student Government.

During my first two years at Bowling Green State University I did not believe that I would become the leader that I have become today. I did not know what my purpose was as a leader and how I wanted to make a change in the world. The Center for Leadership assisted me and my journey of understanding that it is perfectly okay to lead from the middle and that the service you can do in the world can truly make a difference to the people who you serve. Another huge takeaway I gained through the retreats, workshops, and beneficial programming was the importance of how the foundation of leadership is truly grounded through relationships. The 1:1 connections and life-long bonds with staff members and constituents within this department is truly motivational and amazing. They push you to be great and put your best foot forward when making decisions. With these motivational pushes I was able to facilitate creative workshops (Serving Lemonade: Beyoncé’s Lemonade and the Social Change Model), meet amazing organizations on campus, establish a food service project in the City of Detroit in honor of the free food program established by The Black Panther Party, and I ultimately became a resource to a lot of students of color within the Bowling Green and Detroit Community.

Being actively involved in the Center for Leadership has impacted my learning tremendously. The lessons taught me how to make ethical decisions, actively listen to my peers and the people in the communities I serve, how to lead with purpose and not for recognition, and how to inspire others to create positive social change in our communities. I am now more confident in public speaking, I can network effectively with my social media, and I am open-minded with a spirit that is ready to serve.

With all the amazing leadership development skills, being a member of the 2014 Cohort, playing an active role as coordinator for Make A Difference In Detroit, and being a Student Leadership Assistant I want to play an active role with education justice and food security. I am inspired to develop a leadership and empowerment series so that scholars from the inner city will be capable of implementing their skills and talents while being a servant leader in their communities in the greater Detroit and Toledo area. My end goal for the program is to incorporate this leadership and empowerment initiative into a curriculum or yearly course for middle and high school students in local cities such as Detroit and Toledo.

Lariel“When I first laid eyes on you, I knew you were special. I knew you’d do something amazing, impact the world.” These words were spoken by my mother upon my entry into high school.  Just as any other fourteen year old would do, I listened respectfully but inactively.  I dismissed her speech as simple “Mom talk”.   I wouldn’t fully understand what she meant by “something amazing” until the second semester of my senior year.  

An onsite admission session granted me an acceptance into Bowling Green State University but it also presented me with the opportunity to witness my first PLA presentation. I was familiar with the program but I didn’t fully understand its mission. Speaking to Dr. Snyder and a few PLA scholars was refreshing. Each scholar spoke with elegance and true appreciation. The gratitude was prevalent and I longed to feel that same thankfulness, to understand its intensity.

7:35pm would mark the start of an incredible journey. My phone rang and an unfamiliar number graced its screen. An even more graceful voice, caring a monumental message, informed me that I had been accepted into the PLA. My heart pulsed. It raced faster than it ever had. I’d made it! I’d been given the opportunity to become a member of the 2014 cohort. Looking back, I could have never imaged the impact accepting the scholarship would have on my life.

PLA has given me a sense of self and true value.  I’ve learned more about who I am in the past six months than eighteen years of life taught me. If someone had asked me before, “who are you?” I wouldn’t have had the slightest clue.  This is no longer the case. I value love, compassion, equality, happiness and most importantly gratitude. With as much sincerity that this testimonial can convey, I am thankful for my position in this program.  

I have met some of the most amazing people. Not only my cohort members and other scholars but the staff as well. Before becoming a PLA scholar I’d never truly understood the true meaning of family. My mom was my biggest support system and that was all I knew. PLA has given me a support system incomparable to any other.

My name is Lariel Turner and I am a member of the 2014 cohort of the Sidney A. Ribeau President’s Leadership Academy. I am going to become an advocacy reporter, allowing my values to guide my life. I have a family and I’m so grateful. For these gifts I have PLA to thank. I am on the road towards achieving that “something amazing” my mom referred to so long ago.

LaurenThe Sidney A. Ribeau President’s Leadership Academy (SARPLA) gives students a chance to earn unconditional support for inside and outside the classrooms, develop better leadership skills, make long lasting relationships, and discover personal potential and passions. I am a living witness of these benefits. Being a member of the President’s Leadership Academy (PLA) has been amazing so far. In the small amount of time that I have been here on Bowling Green State University’s campus, the PLA has made a great impact on my life.

The President’s Leadership Academy has helped me since the first day I set foot on campus. During the summer program in July, I have learned to become more open-minded and to appreciate a variety of differences in life. The summer program was basically a transition phase where the other members of my cohort and I got to know one another and got a taste of college life. The summer program helped me by exposing me to a first semester college, PLA schedule, getting me used to living in a residence hall with a roommate, and getting me familiar with the campus, so that on the first day of actual classes I would be ready to focus on my classes.

PLA has not only benefitted me when it comes to academics, it has helped me with my personal success as well. As of now I am a biology major with a concentration in pre-medicine in hopes of becoming a sports doctor in the future. Everyone knows that with medical school comes great responsibility and hard work, which in hand may require the help of outside resources. One requirement of the PLA is that all scholars pass a PLA class, and in this class scholars are required to learn about campus resources, demonstrate the use of campus resources, and learn more about being a servant leader. A few resources that have helped me already are the Office of Pre-Professional Programs and the Career Center. If it were not for PLA, I would probably not be aware of all of the resources available to me nor even know where they are located.

There are more stories I could share about how PLA has helped me and about how awesome the entire organization, faculty and staff are, but for the sake of time I will keep them limited to these two. Without the Sidney A. Ribeau President’s Leaderships Academy, I do not know where I would be at this moment. This organization has truly changed and shaped my life for the better and will continue to do so until my expected graduation date: May 2018.

MaddyThe Sidney A. Ribeau President’s Leadership Academy (PLA) has helped me to broaden my views as a leader and scholar. I have been given many opportunities through this program that have allowed me to grow as a person and learn how to become a better servant leader. If not for PLA, I would not be who I am today.

Since the beginning of my time as a scholar in the 2014 cohort, I have learned many things about myself and my cohort. Learning our strengths and values has helped us become more aware about how we can succeed individually and as a cohort. Personally, the most significant thing that the PLA has taught me is who I am. I have learned so much about myself including my values, my strengths, and my passions. The PLA has helped me dig a little deeper to find out why I do the things I do.

As a freshman on campus, the PLA has familiarized me and my fellow cohort members with the many useful resources found at BGSU, but the support given is one of the most influential aspects of PLA. The PLA offers a wide range of support systems for the scholars. These include having 1-on-1 meetings with an advisor, interacting with a PAL mentor, and providing eighty other supportive scholars from other cohorts. Another major support system is the bonds and relationships made within each cohort. No matter what, I know that I can trust and rely on my fellow cohort members. They are not only my cohort members, but also my best friends. I know that throughout the entire PLA, help and support will always be there for me when I need it.

I am blessed to be a part of this extraordinary organization. The PLA has helped me form a home and PLAmily at BGSU. I will forever be thankful for being a part of the Sidney A Ribeau President’s Leadership Academy.

MarkGetting the call early in the morning had left me speechless. I did not know how to respond at that moment. PLA was something that I have dreamt of receiving and did not have much hope it would come. It was such an honor to me because it has prepared me so well for the next stage of my life being college. I thought of myself as a strong leader and having the skills that a leader should possess because I was highly involved in the community and in high school. I did not think that there was much more I needed to know in being a leader but PLA has taught me differently. In the summer program this year, I was able to learn about different leadership types, qualities, and how what it means to be a true leader. I also was able to find out a lot of things about myself as a human that I never knew. I was able to address my strengths and see what input I give to a group. This was only one of the ideas that PLA has taught me and had an influence on me. Besides different leadership qualities, it has taught me how to be a good team member and how to work well with others in a variety of group settings. All of these skills will come into play as I further my college career. Many people who began college do not have a background coming in and do not know what the workload will be like. They come into school and are opened to a culture shock, as it is a new world here. By attending the summer program, I was already introduced to the workload and what college is like with all the distractions. The biggest impact that PLA has had on me thus far is the skills I learned in time management. I was able to come and attend a time management class that showed me different ways to manage small amounts of free time along with your everyday schedule. It is a very good tool to know and these skills will make me successful in my life in the future. Overall, the PLA program has showed me many different skills and ideas that can help me be successful in my life. I know that there will be much more to come and I am so grateful that I have been able to receive this amazing award and experience.

Sarah“I thank God for protecting me from what I thought I wanted and blessing me with what I didn’t know I needed”.   This quote is a good description of my college experience to date.   Just over a year ago, I would have told you I was going to play Division 3 soccer for a small school no further than two hours from my house.  BGSU didn’t fit that mold and I enjoy reflecting on the turn in the road of my college searc h that I did not expect.   

In the fall of my senior year, a BGSU admissions counselor, visited my high school to inform students about what the university had to offer.  At the end of our initial meeting the counselor gave me information about the annual Nutrition Symposium that BGSU hosts on campus.   I decided to visit the campus, which is just over four hours from my home. The Nutrition Symposium was a great way for prospective Dietetics students to get a feel for the program.  After that initial visit to campus I felt conflicted.  I knew I was interested in the BGSU Dietetics program, but it was a big swerve from where I thought I was heading.   In follow up conversations with the admissions counselor, she recommended, based on my high school leadership activities that I apply for the President’s Leadership Academy.  At the time I had no idea what PLA was.   Thanks to her follow-up e-mails and being so generous by sending me links to the website, I was introduced to a program which is now a huge part of my life.  When I looked into the PLA program, I found that the core values, “Integrity, Credibility, Service, Learning”, are values that I desire to live out.  After researching the program online I was eager to submit the application.  Weeks later, after completing the all-day on-campus interview, I remember feeling satisfied with myself because it was so easy to be genuine throughout the process.  The interview experience confirmed my initial thoughts, that PLA would be a good fit for me.  The morning I received the call and was offered a spot in the 2014 Cohort, is one I will not forget anytime soon; it was the final chip that fell into place.  I felt so honored, proud, and excited.  The PLA summer program and my learning to date has taught me more than anything to listen intently to others, maximize time effectively, and know what I stand for.   PLA and BGSU were not what I thought would be in my future if you asked me a year ago, but in this unique program, at this diverse university, I am confident, it is right where I am meant to be.