Leadership as Civic Engagement
The Georgia Education Mentorship Program provides opportunity for students to learn about leadership from members of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. Each year, twenty-five Georgia College students are matched with the state’s top leaders in business, politics, law, education, healthcare for a year-long mentorship. As students and mentors work closely together, Georgia’s leading minds become integrally involved in the education of Georgia College students, reinforcing the qualities and characteristics needed in the next generation of our state’s leaders. GEM allows students the opportunity to observe real-world leaders who use their professional standing to positively influence civic engagement within Georgia.
Across their year in the program, GEM students participate in the program’s opening reception and closing dinner, leadership conferences, luncheons with state leaders, meetings at the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and Georgia State Capitol, and leadership forums with visiting executives. They benefit from direct consultation with faculty and staff members who challenge them to integrate their GEM experiences with the principles of leadership they have studied at Georgia College.
GEM offers a model for collaborative relationships between higher education and the community engagement. Established in 2002 and piloted by a grant from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, GEM emerged from the mutual recognition that Georgia College students could benefit from relationships with the state’s top leaders and that members of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce could benefit from directly investing in the next generation. A strong Georgia—a Georgia with successful businesses and thriving, prosperous communities—needs capable leaders prepared to meet current and future challenges. Employers often identify skills gaps in entry-level graduates—from leadership and creative problem-solving to intercultural understanding and willingness to engage with new ideas. The GEM Program, which provides for intentional discussions of those skills, helps to prepare students for the leadership roles they will soon adopt within Georgia and the world.
Application and Selection
To qualify for application to the GEM Program, students must:
- be a returning Georgia College student
- have attained junior or senior standing by the anticipated start of their program experience
- hold a minimum GPA of 3.0
- be willing and able to enroll in LEAD 2100, a one-credit course, graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis, during both the fall and spring terms of their participation
- be willing and able to participate in leadership and professional development events and activities across the year of their participation, some of which are scheduled on evenings and on weekends
- hold a driver’s license and reliable access to transportation and be willing and able to travel to meet with their mentor
- maintain good Academic Standing and abide by the GC Honor Code
- submit all required application items and satisfactorily interview with the GEM Selection Committee
After submitting an application, students will be contacted to schedule an interview that will take place on the afternoon of March 31, April 7, or 21. Students will be notified of their selection status by May 1.