Skip to main content

Summer academy mentors next generation of public service leaders

St. Vincent de Paul tour

Public Service Summer Leadership Academy scholars participate in a team-building activity lead by a Torch Theater improv group in the Sun Devil Fitness Complex at the Downtown Phoenix campus.
Photo by: Mitchelle Makanjuola/ASU

June 30, 2015

When training the next generation of public service leaders, the College of Public Service and Community Solutions is focusing on young talent – even before students graduate from high school.

This summer, the college launched its first Public Service Summer Leadership Academy, a residential program that engages motivated high school juniors and seniors, deemed Junior Scholars, in experiences that promote public service, civic engagement and community solutions. The pilot year was sponsored by the Helios Education Foundation.

Eighteen high school students from across the Phoenix metro area completed community-service projects at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, toured the Arizona State Capitol and the Arizona State House of Representatives chamber and participated in workshops writing that focused on writing resumes, grants and scholarship essays and personal statements. Over the five-day program, participants lived in the Taylor Place residential hall on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus.

Through mentorship and college-readiness campaigns, the summer program aimed to help Junior Scholars develop their potential as the next generation of public service leaders while introducing them to the opportunities at the downtown campus.

“What we gave [the Junior Scholars] was a mix of presentations and workshops on different things that they’ll need to know both in college and as students who are interested in public service,” said Anika Larson, one of the program’s mentors.

“That ranged from learning about financial aid, to learning about personal statements and to learning about how non-profit organizations work.”

Jayleen Espinoza, a rising senior at Camelback High School, says that being able to interact with other students who share the same interests in community service was her favorite part of the program.

“I’m definitely going to look into non-profit organizations and ways to help my community in the future,” Espinoza said. “[It’s] something that’s going to help improve other people’s lives, and there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing another person smile and knowing that you made that happen.”

For this pilot experience, the College of Public Service and Community Solutions invited students who served as high school participants of the ASU Spirit of Service Scholars program. Students at Cesar Chavez High School, ASU Preparatory Academy and Camelback High School completed a yearlong mentorship and leadership program in which they worked with ASU scholars on school-wide, college-readiness projects.

The Public Service Summer Leadership Academy will be open to all area high school students next summer.

Written by Adrianna Ovnicek and Jessica Eldridge