Clearing the Path to Student Leadership

With a commitment to helping students discover their inner leader, a few weeks ago, PAEA offered its first ever Student Leadership Challenge Workshop. Twenty PA students from George Washington University, Shenandoah University, Case Western University, Yale Online and Yale University, and Northeastern University, came to Washington, DC, for a jam-packed weekend of leadership development.

Facilitated by Karen Hills and myself, Kendall Mealy, of PAEA, in partnership with Tom Pearce of iLead Consulting, the students were exposed to the Student Leadership Challenge® framework based on five practices of exemplary leadership: Model the Way, Inspire a Shared Vision, Challenge the Process, Enable Others to Act, and Encourage the Heart. Additionally, the students took the Leadership Practice Inventory (LPI), which gave them valuable feedback about their own leadership strengths and opportunities.

Throughout the two days, the students participated in several activities to stretch their personal growth and enhance their ability to effectively communicate as a team. They were challenged to dive deep to identify their personal values, worked diligently in small group sessions to share personal leadership experiences, and gave intentional creative encouragement to one another. Through case studies, story-telling, and structured activities, students were able to bring the five practices to life and develop a core understanding of how to apply the evidence-based model.  I thought the vulnerability that each student demonstrated in such a short time was admirable and speaks to their willingness and genuine commitment to be the best version of themselves.  

Students will receive follow-up coaching to continue their learning and check in on leadership behaviors they committed to improving. Karen Hills, PAEA chief of educational development, reflected on the workshop: “Seeing the enthusiasm and dedication that our next generation of PA leaders brought to this leadership program suggests the PA profession is in very good hands for the future.”

PAEA is committed to helping students uncover, refine, and capitalize on their personal strengths. We hope to offer more opportunities for student leadership development in the future. If you are interested in learning more about the Student Leadership Challenge Workshop, please contact me at