Presidential Fellows Leadership Summit a Success


A total 16 Presidential Fellows gathered for a 3-day Leadership Summit that included an engaging mix of social and scholarly activities, culminating with WAC Tank and an innovative idea to enhance the student experience.


After being put on hold by the pandemic, the Presidential Fellows Leadership Summit made its triumphant return to kick off the spring 2022 semester. Over the course of three days, a total of 16 Presidential Fellows enjoyed an inspired and jam-packed agenda that included a mix of social, scholarly, and team-building activities. The summit culminated with the WAC Tank Showcase, where these student leaders presented to Dr. Sosulski four ideas for a new initiative that would enhance the Washington College student experience.

The formal Leadership Summit sessions covered topics like Inclusion & Belonging, Identifying Core Values, Resiliency & Determination, Public Speaking and Consensus Building. There was even a session on building a budget. Students also enjoyed social activities to include a game night, a movie screening and some late-night mac & cheese.

Jordan Fairchild, ‘24, participated in the Summit and found the whole experience to be intellectually stimulating. “I never found myself sitting around bored or wondering what the point of a presentation was. In fact, by the end of it, I was so tired from how much I had really used my brain!” she said.

The leadership sessions focused on a variety of thought-provoking topics meant to engage students as active participants, and the lessons from each session were applied to the culminating event of the summit, WAC Tank. Riffing on the popular show Shark Tank, the concept was to come up with a proposal for an initiative that would enhance the student experience. For this, the Presidential Fellows broke out into four teams, and on the final day they presented their ideas to President Sosulski, the WAC Tank judge.

The four ideas that were presented to Dr. Sosulski were:

  • A community mural in the Egg
  • A monthly food truck event
  • “Legendairy” – a student-run ice cream shop
  • Spirit Week

Ultimately, the students used their consensus building skills to decide on a single recommendation, with “Legendairy” being selected as the winning proposal. Currently, the proposal is in the discovery phase as the administration and students work together on a plan to implement this initiative.

Tricia Biles, Assistant Dean for Student Engagement and Success, chaired this year’s summit and was impressed by the high level of energy and involvement by the participants. “The students responded to this program with investment and excitement,” she said. “They really leaned in to make the most of these three days, getting to know and work with one another, absorbing each workshop and then reflecting on those leadership lessons and applying them to the WAC Tank initiative.

“This summit sparked school spirit amongst this motivated group and created really positive momentum going into this semester,” she added. “I’m excited to see their ideas come to life.”

“I know that everything we learned at the Summit will carry us through our time at Washington College and beyond, and the work we put in to practice our leadership skills was definitely worth it,” added Fairchild.

Presidential Fellows are students who have demonstrated a commitment to high-level academic achievement and intellectual rigor. The Presidential Fellows program brings diverse and dynamic young people together, connects them with passionate faculty, and offers unique beyond-the-classroom learning experiences. Over four years, the program provides a framework of leadership skills and learning, collaborative exploration with dedicated mentors, and one-to-one help to prepare students for life after college.