Student Cohort Application

NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS for the 2024-2025 WLI Cohort Program, a select circle of future resilient leaders, just for MSU Undergraduate.

The cohort program focuses on a practical, actionable curriculum.  The calendar will span across the academic year and include four virtual cluster conversations (2 in fall, 2 in spring), four in-person skill-building workshops (2 in fall, 2 in spring), four virtual coffee hour sessions with the WLI executive board (2 in fall, 2 in spring), two mentorship touch points (1 in fall, 1 in spring), two coaching sessions (1 in fall, 1 in spring), the fall kick-off, and spring capstone.  The cohort curriculum is organized around the three principles of tell, show, and do.  This model provides the cohort members with education, practical application, and experience.



Opportunities for learning about professional development and critical topics in the life course of leadership development from diverse, experienced leaders.

Curriculum: fall kick-off, spring capstone, and cluster conversations



Time to roll up our sleeves and practice.  The opportunity for more hands-on education, practice, and question/answer.

Curriculum: skill-building workshops, virtual coffee hours



The next level.  An opportunity to lead, grow mentorship skills, and create a network.

Curriculum: mentorship meetings, coaching sessions


What you will take away by being a member

  • Students will grow in their knowledge of professional development topics and have opportunities to demonstrate lessons learned (tell).

  • Students will grow in their knowledge and help promote research around global leadership equity for women (tell).

  • Students will gain confidence in themselves as leaders, find their voice, and exemplify this as they network with colleagues, engage in mentoring, and relate to the WLI executive board members (show).

  • Students will be encouraged in their leadership journeys and take away tangible assets (e.g., resume review, interview practice) and resources to support their journey (show).

  • Students will meet and connect with diverse leaders, make connections, and leave the program with mentors/contacts in their network (do).


Joining the cohort has empowered me to believe in myself and gain confidence in my purpose. Throughout the different sessions I've learned the vitality of accepting my authentic self and using setbacks as a motivation and opportunities for growth.

Stephanie Segura-Guerrero



To be considered for the Women’s Leadership Institute cohort, a student must:

  • Be a currently enrolled Michigan State University student
  • Be considered in good academic standing
  • Complete the full student application

Program Policies

  • Attendance

    The WLI student cohort program educates, empowers, and equips students in their leadership journeys.  The attendance policy has been designed to ensure the aims of the cohort program are achieved for all students.  In addition, flexibility and grace are essential components of this policy. If there are questions, don't hesitate to contact Dr. Amanda Guinot Talbot (, who will work with students on a case-by-case basis.

    • Students are asked to commit to attending 80% of the scheduled workshops and events across the academic year.

    • Excused absences are granted and not counted against the 80% requirement.  In this case, communication ahead of the event is required.  Excused absences are defined as university-related commitments (e.g., classes, labs, work).

    • Virtual sessions will be recorded and posted to the WLI student cohort D2L page.  If there is a need for an excused absence, students will be asked to view the content that was missed.

  • D2L Site

    The WLI student cohort D2L community group is a place for deepened connection—questions can be asked here, discussion had, and material read and reviewed.  Recordings of our virtual sessions will be posted on D2L for viewing in the case of excused absence or review of the content.

  • New Students

    The WLI student cohort is an application-based program that annually accepts a selective group of leaders to participate through the academic year.  Students will gain the following through their involvement in the WLI cohort program:

    • Participation in meaningful conversations with experienced and successful women leaders from diverse backgrounds.

    • Experience building a professional network.

    • Opportunity to be mentored by colleagues, WLI Executive Board members, and Alumnae.

    • Involvement with a custom curriculum designed to provide encouragement and practical advice for a leadership journey.

    • Exclusive scholarship opportunities.

    Students who complete their first full year, determined to be in good standing with the program are eligible for the following:

    • To apply to have their cohort experience acknowledged through the Spartan Experience Record (SER). See below for more information.

    • Graduating seniors will receive a graduation cord marking their experience with and competition of the WLI student cohort program. Graduation cords will be awarded to our graduates at the spring capstone event.

    • Students wishing to continue their participation with the cohort will not have to reapply. These students can declare their desire to continue with the cohort to the WLI Director at the conclusion of the spring semester.  Returning students will have access to the cohort curriculum and, in addition, be asked to serve as peer mentors for the incoming students.

  • Returning Students

    Students who complete their first full year, determined to be in good standing with the program are eligible to return to the program, declaring their commitment to the WLI Director.  Returning students will have access to all the WLI cohort curriculum and, in addition, be asked to take on new responsibilities to provide further leadership development.  These opportunities will include:

    Team leads during the virtual coffee hours.  Returning students will prepare and lead the virtual coffee hours.  Students will prepare when it is their turn, questions to lead the discussion, and function of the facilitator of the hour’s discussion.  The goals of this aspect of the program are as follows:

    • Gain experience in prepping and leading a meeting.
    • Ability to create prompts/content to make meaningful conversation and discussion.
    • Opportunity to connect with a network of mentors and colleagues.


    Mentorship of incoming students.  Returning students will help to mentor new students in the cohort program.  Each returning student will be assigned two-three new students to make a small peer mentoring group.  The goals of this aspect of the program are as follows:

    • Starting a peer mentoring network and providing experience in the mentoring process.
    • Training returning students to participate in the mentoring process, working on skills such as self-reflection, establishing the framework of the relationship, maintaining and nurturing bilateral learning, and moving their mentees ahead in their stated goals.
    • Providing an opportunity for engagement between students, WLI campus team, and WLI executive board, and positioning both within a supportive professional environment.


    Student mentors must reference the  WLI Student Cohort Peer Mentoring Handbook for more information on participation in this aspect of the program. 


  • Scholarships

    Through the generous support of WLI Executive Board members and MSU alumni, the WLI can provide practical support to our student leaders.  Several of our annual scholarships are outlined below.


    Loaiza-Souza Leadership Award - *WLI Cohort ONLY*

    The purpose of the Loaiza-Souza Leadership Award is to empower future women leaders to change the world.  To this end, the donors are committed to building a culture that pulls women up to ensure that women receive the necessary support to be confident and achieve their highest potential.

    • Three (3) $1,000 scholarships awarded.


    Ebert Family Leadership Scholarship Fund

    The Scholarship is intended to encourage students who have demonstrated the capacity to achieve educational and professional goals, the motivation to achieve these goals and the initiative to seek opportunities to further their progress.  

    • Up to $4,000 in scholarships awarded.


    Women’s Leadership Institute Experiential Learning Fund

    This fund is intended to support undergraduate students looking to engage in experiential learning opportunities including but not limited to study away/abroad, conference attendance, or internship. Applicants were asked to write a short essay on how they plan to utilize their experiential learning experience to research and/or gain a deeper knowledge of women leaders and/or leadership equity for women. There are two options for students to consider and apply for (see below).

    • General experiential learning fund - up to $5,000 in scholarships awarded
    • Larsen-Becker DC Study Away Award - up to $5,000 in scholarships awarded


    Carolyn Jackson Legacy Award

    Carolyn was a committed and passionate leader, mentor, and coach to many and an incredible Spartan. To honor her global legacy, each year, the WLI will award one student who exemplifies the commitment, passion, kindness, and giving spirit of CJ the Carolyn Jackson Legacy Award. 

    • One (1) $2,000 scholarship will be awarded to a rising leader with a documented commitment to giving back.


    How to Apply


  • Spartan Experience Record (SER)

    The WLI student cohort program has been approved to be represented on the Spartan Experience Record (SER).  This is a co-curricular and official record of your achievements outside of the classroom (e.g., workshops, internships, leadership development).  You can now add your cohort participation to this record.  I will verify that you attended at least 80% of our offerings, but after that, you will have credit for your participation.


    How do I get started with the Spartan Experience Record?

    A: The Spartan Experience Record is new to students as of Fall 2020, and therefore a great place to start is by exploring our website.  Login to the Spartan Experience Record platform and take a look around.  Under “Spartan Experience Record” this area will display your experiences you have participated in that are either pending verification or are verified.  If you are currently participating in an experience that you believe is a fit to be included on your SER and don’t see displayed in this section, the next step would be to suggest it to be added.  Additionally, follow us on social media to stay up to date on programs, news, and resources.




How to Apply

Complete the steps below and submit all materials to


Step 1. Complete Application Form

Download and fill out the PDF application. Do not leave any fields blank. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.



Step 2. Statement of Interest

Provide a 500 word, typed, double-spaced statement of your interest in the Women’s Leadership Institute. Include your name and MSU email address at the top of your statement. This statement should include the following:

  1. The rationale for wanting to be part of the WLI.

  2. Describe one thing you are interested in learning or one area of growth you would like to see for yourself.


Step 3. Professional headshot

Headshot can be a photo taken by phone.


Step 4. Current Resume/CV

For help with your resume/CV, please visit the MSU Career Services Network at


Important (Please Read)

Students accepted to the Women’s Leadership Institute 2024-2025 cohort will be required to submit a letter of acceptance acknowledging the commitment they are making to the institute. The letter will be submitted to the WLI Executive Board (

Friday, September 13th by 5:00 p.m.