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Thursday, May 26, 2022

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UH welcomes Next Generation Leadership Academy


Christopher Charleston/The Cougar

UH is the first university in Texas to partner with The Volcker Alliance. | Christopher Charleston/The Cougar

The Hobby School of Public Affairs recently received a $100,000 grant from The Volcker Alliance to establish the Next Generation Leadership Academy, a program aimed at developing leadership skills for undergraduates interested in careers focusing on public service and social impact.

The Next Generation Leadership Academy, or NextGen Academy for short, is initial intent is on recruiting ten highly qualified students to participate in its inaugural class set to launch in this fall. The school does hope to grow the program into something larger in the near future, according to the Hobby School program director Chelsea O’hara.

“We also plan to increase the size of the cohort in the upcoming years,” O’hara said. “The Hobby School has an excellent track record of leveraging funding from campus partners, community partners and advisory board members to ensure our students receive their program stipends and robust program support.”

Students who are accepted into the NextGen academy can expect more than classroom training, O’hara said. The program will also provide access to The Volcker Alliance’s new online interactive platform “Nextgen Connect,” which provides students with the ability to network with other student leaders across the country.

In addition, the academy’s curriculum is also placing an emphasis on real-world experience by requiring students complete a minimum of two separate internships in either the public, private or non-profit sectors.

“The Next Generation Leadership Academy’s emphasis on cross-sector collaboration and leadership development by requiring students to complete a minimum of two internships in two different sectors is a unique addition to the existing student experience programs at the University of Houston,” O’hara said.

O’hara added that the academy is also offering a monetary incentive to students who successfully complete the program.

“Students who complete the Next Generation Leadership Academy are awarded a $1,500 stipend to recognize their participation in the program,” O’hara said. “To receive the stipend, NextGen Academy students must complete the Hobby School’s Public Leadership minor and complete a minimum of two approved internships.”

In launching its NextGen Academy, UH will be the first university in Texas to join the existing roster of 12 universities already partnered with The Volcker Alliance as part of the organization’s greater initiative, dubbed the Next Generation Service Corps.

The decision to select UH as the first university in Texas to partner with The Volcker Alliance was an easy one, said Brett Hunt, director of The Volcker Alliance’s Next Generation Service Initiatives in a statement to the University.

“One of our goals is to diversify paths for undergraduates into public service and both the Hobby School and UH are already doing that, this is just an expansion of the existing innovative work going on,” Hunt said. “UH was also a perfect place for us to have our first program in Texas with the Houston metro area being one of the most dynamic and diverse places in the entire country.”

Students interested in applying to the academy should possess an excitement for cross-collaboration, a belief in their ability to enact change and a passion for public service, O’hara said. She added that the application deadline for applicants interested in being a part of the class set to begin in fall 2022 is June 1.

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