The Margo F. Souza Student Leadership Center provides a variety of programs to help students develop leadership skills during their years at UC Merced. The center staff has developed a three-tier Bobcat Leader certification program and a variety of other opportunities for student leaders.

Tier 1 Bobcat Leader Certification (Bobcat Leadership Series)

The Bobcat Leadership Series is an ongoing developmental program designed to answer questions such as "What is leadership?" "Who can lead?" and "What does it take to be a great leader?" by taking an in-depth look at the seven Cs of the Social Change Model of Leadership Development.

You can attend one session or the entire program. Students who complete the program by attending one session in each of the first 6 'C's, participate in at least one hour of approved community engagement, and submit a 400-500 word Social Change reflection are certified in Bobcat Leadership Tier 1 and receive exclusive "I'm a Bobcat Leader" T-shirts. They are also eligible to apply for the P.A.W.S. Leadership Seminar.

Note: Certification in Bobcat Leadership Tier 1 is also a preferred qualification for a number of jobs in student affairs. While not required for your application, completion of BLS will give you a leg up on your competition.

The following jobs now prefer completion of Bobcat Leadership Tier 1 for employment:

  • Office of Student Life Souza Leadership Center Intern
  • Bright Success Center Orientation Leader
  • Office of Student Life Fraternity and Sorority Intern
  • Housing and Residence Life Resident Assistant 
  • Housing and Residence Life Lead Resident Assistant 
  • Health Promotions HEROES
  • Bright Success Center success mentors
  • Office of Student Life Clubs and Organization Intern
  • Office of Student Life Purchasing Intern
  • Office of Student Life Student Conduct Intern
  • Office of Student Life Activities and Events Intern
  • Office of Student Life Civic Leadership Intern
  • Degree Attainment for Returning and Transfer Students (DARTS) Program

Students are encouraged to sign up in advance here.

Note: Students who complete the first year of the Yosemite Leadership Program or two years of the Collaborative Leadership Training and submit the 400-500 word Social Change reflection will also receive Tier 1 Bobcat Leader Certification.

Tier 2 Bobcat Leader Certification (P.A.W.S Leadership Seminar)

The P.A.W.S. Leadership Seminar is a developmental program that is open to 25 students each semester. Students must have Tier 1 Certification and apply and be selected to participate in the program. The seminar helps students identify their areas of passion, learn how to take action, develop skills to maintain wellness and commit to ongoing service. Students who complete the program receive Tier 2 Bobcat Leadership Certification and a "I'm a Bobcat Leader" waterbottle.

Tier 3 Bobcat Leader Certification (Leadership In Action Capstone)

The Leadership In Action Capstone Program (LIA) is an experiential development course for students who have received Tier 2 Bobcat Leader Certification.

Students in the Leadership In Action Capstone Program will integrate the leadership skills, knowledge, and capacity they developed in BLS and PAWS and create a program to benefit the campus or the surrounding community. Students will meet with center staff to develop their program and will receive up to a $150 grant upon approval. In addition to their program, students will read an article of their choosing each month; submit reflections, and a final reflection/research paper.

Students participating in the LIA program will also be invited to participate in the Leadership Luncheon Series and other events on campus.

In order to complete this program, receive certification in Bobcat Leadership Tier 3 and, receive a Leadership Center stole for graduation participants must:

  • Implement their program
  • Complete 6 monthly reflections
  • Read 6 articles on leadership
  • Submit a 5 page final reflection/research paper
  • Complete a Linkedin profile
  • Have their resumes reviewed by a Career Counselor

Yosemite Leadership Program

The Yosemite Leadership Program offers unique opportunities for leadership and professional development, including a two-year leadership development experience and internships in Yosemite National Park. Participants have incredible opportunities to recreate in parks and protected lands, network with other rising and established leaders during ongoing seminars, and make their own impact through community engagement projects.

Note: Students who complete the first year of the Yosemite Leadership Program and submit a two page Social Change reflection receive Tier 1 Bobcat Leader Certification.

Other Programs