Engaging Leaders Program

Engaging Leaders group activity

Important Dates

Application Deadlines

2019 high school graduates: June 23
All other students:
July 21

Building confident, culturally aware and engaged leaders equipped to address the challenges of their communities.

Each year, we select 25 students to participate in the College of Natural Resources (CNR) Engaging Leaders Program. Students do not need to have prior leadership experience, and we value students with a strong desire to grow personally and professionally. The program is open to freshman, off-campus transfer and on-campus transfer students.

NC State Deborah S. Moore Service Award

The 2018 Military Outreach Shark Tank Project was the recipient of this prestigious award for exemplary service and commitment to the community given by the Center for Student Leadership, Ethics and Public Service.

About the Program

Throughout the year Engaging Leaders attend sessions to help them better understand their personal leadership style, strengths and weaknesses. They also learn essential skills for working in diverse groups, communicating effectively, and project planning.

The highlight of our program is our Shark Tank series where students work collaboratively to design a program that benefits CNR, NC State, or the local community. Engaging Leaders will spend the year planning and implementing these programs with their community partner. Previous projects include:

  • LEAF, Learning Environmental Awareness for the Future, event for middle schoolers at the Museum of Natural Sciences
  • NC State Hurricane Matthew Cleanup with City of Rocky Mount
  • Military Outreach Event for home school students in partnership with the Rick Herrama Foundation
  • Environmental Exploration Day
  • Business Etiquette Dinner for College of Natural Resources

After the first year, students who complete the program can apply to serve as coordinator serve on the Advisory Board. These students organize the new student retreat and assist with training sessions and meetings throughout the year. They also provide essential support to groups throughout the Shark Tank process.

Why become a member of the CNR Engaging Leaders Program?

  • Build a community with other CNR students in a wide variety of majors from around the country and the world
  • Identify and develop your personal leadership and communication skill-set
  • Become a culturally sensitive individual prepared to enter leadership positions in other organizations on campus and in professional societies
  • Develop strong communication skills when working with different types of people
  • Get connected to student organizations, community service, and other unique opportunities
  • Learn professionalism for academic and work environments

Features of the Engaging Leaders Program include:

  • Membership in a community of dedicated leaders representing all majors within CNR
  • Kick-Off leadership retreat and mid-year diversity retreat
  • Monthly seminars and events focused on our goals of leadership, cultural awareness, and professional development
  • Information on NC State student involvement, career services and academic support
  • Tools to help identify personal leadership styles, strengths, and cultural skills
  • Mentoring from upper class students
  • One on one advising with CNR faculty and staff
  • Engagement with alumni of the program

What are the requirements for the CNR Engaging Leaders Program?

Students must:

  • Complete the CNR Engaging Leaders Application
  • Be entering the College of Natural Resources for the first time in the Summer or Fall of 2019
  • Attend the Engaging Leaders Retreat on August 23-25, 2019 (this will be an overnight program)
  • Attend Mid-Year Diversity Retreat in January 2020
  • Be free on Tuesday evenings between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.
  •  Actively participate in community outreach events sponsored by the program
  • Work with other Engaging Leaders to create a Shark Tank program that benefits the college, NC State, or the local community
  • Attend meetings with Shark Tank groups on a weekly basis (time set by student group)
  • Be open to trying new experiences outside of the college and willing to explore new opportunities

Think you've got what it takes to be an Engaging Leader?


Each student is asked to pay $85 at the beginning of the year. This non-refundable fee includes:

  • Lodging, transportation, materials and most meals for retreat
  • All program supplies throughout the year
  • Transportation to all events and activities
  • Engaging Leaders t-shirt
  • Snacks for meetings and special programs

Scholarships are available for those students who have extreme financial need to cover the cost of all or a portion of the $85.


Any questions should be directed to Shaefny Grays at engagingleaders@ncsu.edu.