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Office of Leadership, Service and Career

Leadership Opportunities at UC Merced & Beyond

The Souza Leadership Center is a great place to start or continue your leadership journey at UC Merced. There are also many leadership opportunities outside of The Souza Leadership Center that provide valuable leadership development.

We've composed a list of leadership opportunities here at UC Merced and beyond. We encourage you to review the opportunities below and choose the path that suits your unique journey. We're always happy to meet with you if you'd like to sit down with someone from our team to discuss your next step. 

Souza Leadership Center Programs

Spring 2022 programs now open for registration!

Additional Programs

  • Yosemite Leadership Program more information  | Applications open August 2022
  • Lead Pre-Health more information  | Applications open February 2022
  • Leadership & Service Living Learning Community (LLC) more information | Incoming first-year students apply with their Housing Application

Additional Leadership Opportunities at UC Merced

Become a Resident Assistant | Click here for more information

“Areas I have experienced growth as an RA are my confidence, self-discipline, and leadership skills. These skills have helped shaped me into the hardworking/determined individual I am today. In addition, these skills helped me ensure that I am building a safe and inclusive living-learning community for my residents” - former Resident Assistant, Alma Morales Alejandre. Resident Assistants are overseen by staff in UC Merced Residence Education. 

Lead with the Orientation Student Staff | Click here for more information

Orientation Student Staff are highly trained to increase their personal growth and awareness, focus on inclusivity, and lead the transition of new Bobcats entering the UC Merced community. This is an excellent opportunity to both lead and give back to the UC Merced community. Orientation is planned and facilitated by the UC Merced Bright Success Center. 

Run for Student Government (Associated Students of UC Merced - ASUCM) | Click here for more information

ASUCM is here to ensure that all students of UC Merced are heard, manage bills and club funding, develop the new leaders of future generations, and improve overall student life. Student life can be found in all aspects, ranging from inside the classroom to the involvement in student organizations, and ASUCM is here to represent students in every step of the way. Let your voice be heard with the Associated Students of UC Merced! There are elected positions (positions in which you must run for office), as well as appointed positions (positions for which students are chosen by elected ASUCM leaders).

Become a Success Mentor | Click here for more information

Success Mentors support and empower first-year students to develop strategies and skills that will enhance academic, intrapersonal and interpersonal development and develop a sense of Bobcat pride! It's an excellent opportunity to lead others to personal success. The Success Mentor Program is planned and facilitated by the UC Merced Bright Success Center. 

Become a Peer Health EducatorClick here for more information

The mission of the Peer Health Educator Program is to encourage student engagement, connect students to resources, advocate for change, and educate students on ways to improve their health physically, mentally, and sexually, all while fostering diversity and inclusion. Peer Health Educators receive extensive training to prepare for them for the role and develop their leadership skills, as well as their presentation skills.

Apply for the Yosemite Leadership Program Summer Internship | Click here for more information

YLP offers a dynamic, hands-on, 12-week summer experience living and working in Yosemite National Park. Interns gain valuable professional and personal skills working alongside National Park and Park partner professionals. The opportunities are incredibly diverse and can prove beneficial to students regardless of their area of academic interest. Students also participate in an environmental leadership seminar where they learn the basics of environmental awareness, stewardship and advocacy. This internship provides deeply impactful and life-changing experiences for students. It’s definitely an opportunity not to be missed. In addition to increasing their leadership skills, students are provided a stipend upon completion of the program.

Become an Active Member of a Student Organization | Click here for more information

Student organizations provide great opportunities to get involved in the community. Whether you are E-Board member or a general member, you can practice leadership by getting involved. It's also a great way to build community among your peers and find areas in which you are passionate. Student Organizations are supported by the Office of Student Life. 

Get Involved in the Local Community | Click here for more information

Getting involved in the community helps leaders define the impact they want to make in our world. Learn what you enjoy, what community issues you are passionate about by just diving in and trying different experiences until you find one that sticks. Leaders get involved in their community, even if they don't have an official title as a leader. Leaders also learn valuable leadership skills by getting involved. The UC Merced Community Engagement Center is the place to start to learn more about how to get engaged in the local community!

Lead at Your Job or in an Internship | Click here for more information

Not every job or internship provides leadership opportunities, but some do! Once you secure your internship or job, you may want to ask your supervisor if there are any opportunities to lead a small project or practice leadership skills on the job. Valuable skills such as prioritizing, effective communication, and problem-solving are essential to student professional development. The Center for Professional and Career Advancement can help you find internship opportunities, help with your resume, and prepare you for interviews!

UC-Wide Leadership Opportunities

The LeaderShape Institute (4-day residential leadership program held in California, usually first week of June)  | Click here for more information

Each year, The Souza Leadership Center sends a small group of student leaders to the LeaderShape Institute with the expectation that these student leaders will not only gain konwledge about their own leadership potential, but also bring back what they learned to contribute to leadership in the UC Merced community. This is a week-long leadership program at Dominican University of California. The LeaderShape Institute is grounded in helping individuals identify the values they hold that lead to making a difference in the communities around them. Through self-assessment, intensive small group discussions, team building challenges, and more, participants will develop a vision for something they care about. The event is held each year at Dominican University of California. LeaderShape has been postponed for the time-being, likely to return June 2023. 

UC Sacremento Academic Internship | Click here for more information

With Sacramento being the capital of California, there is a lot of leadership happening here! UC Center Sacramento (UCCS) academic internship program participants earn UC credit, maintain their financial aid eligibility, and gain valuable work experience while interning in Sacramento. Internships are available for almost any major! Participants take classes with students from all UC campuses, which provides an intellectual and social community throughout the Fall, Spring or Summer. 

UC Merced's Washington DC Program | Click here for more information

The Washington Program’s mission is to provide the highest quality experiential learning program for UC Mercced undergraduates by offering professional development and internship opportunities that help inform students' transition from study to professional practice. UC Merced students are strongly encouraged to supplement their undergraduate education with real-world, hands-on experiences through internships.  The Washington Program (UCDC) offers eligible undergraduate students an exciting opportunity to combine course work, exciting field research and unparalleled internship experience during a semester's residence in our nation's capital. Students from any major have the opportunity to gain valuable on-the-job experience with professionals and experts in fields that interest them.

Leadership & Social Justice Program (in Mexico & Sacremento) | Click here for more information

Build your leadership skills and explore social justice in the powerhouse political centers of Mexico City and Sacramento. Combining coursework and on-the-ground experience, learn how the politics and culture of Mexico inform California public policy-making. Starting in Mexico City, take university classes as you explore Mexico's political history. An optional internship could bring you anywhere from an NGO to Mexican Parliament. After class, visit Constitution Plaza, where locals celebrate the past and present with festivals and concerts. In Sacramento, further develop your leadership skills in an internship, buoyed by a seminar, in an area of your interest. Political science majors, media mavens, and business-minded will especially appreciate this program.

Develop Cultural Fluency as a leader by Studying Abroad |  Click here for more information

Cultural Fluency is extremely important in leadership. Cultural fluency in leadership is the ability to accurately discern situations and adapt behaviors when working with people who are from different cultures than your own. We encourage students to study abroad in a country that offers the opportunity to experience a culture different from your own. This will help you develop your cultural fluency. If you do study abroad, we encourage you to ask questions of your professors and your peers abroad about what leadership looks like to them? What do they value in leadership? How does their culture influence their leadership? Listen to their experiences, and also reflect on your own. Studying abroad will allow you to get outside your comfort zone and learn more about others and yourself. Knowing yourself and understanding the world are two important factors when it comes to developing yourself as a leader! (Visit the UC Merced Study Abroad office. They are a team of friendly, knowledgeable who want to help you study abroad.)

Leadership Opportunities in California

The Summer Institute for Emerging Managers and Leaders (Los Angeles, CA). Click here for more information 

2022 Deadline: January 3rd  2022 Dates: May 15th - May 26 |  This program offers an all-expenses-paid immersive business and career leadership experience for undergraduate students currently enrolled in their sophomore or junior year at an HBCU (Historically Black College and University) or HSI (Hispanic Serving Institution). SIEML alumni are eligible to receive up to two years of full fee and tuition fellowships at any of the six University of California graduate business schools. 

Applicants who meet the following criteria are invited to apply:

  • Students currently enrolled at a four-year HBCU or HSI with sophomore or junior standing or
  • Transfer-ready California HSI community college students (only students who are applying for and planning to enroll in a four year college for fall 2022 are eligible).
  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or undocumented students with AB540 or DACA status.
  • We accept applications from all majors—you just need to be interested in attending a graduate business program.
  • While we do not have a minimum GPA requirement, we encourage applications from students with at least a 3.0 GPA.

Hansen Leadership Institute (San Diego, CA) | Click here for more information

Summer 2022 Date: July 2022 | Deadline to apply: March 15, 2022 |  No Cost: All costs are covered (travel, accommodations, food) | This is a 3-week, residential leadership program that brings participants from the U.S. together with participants from all around the World. All costs are covered (travel, acommodations, food). From the site: "HLI provides training in the principles, practices, and psychology of effective, ethical and visionary leadership. We also train Hansen Fellows to be effective communicators and public speakers. In recent years, we have begun to expand our focus to gender issues in leadership as well. The intense, 24/7 face to face community of our three-week program becomes a path to a vibrant virtual hub, where Hansen alum engage, connect, and mutually support each other’s projects of peace and community building".  If you have family/friends living outside the U.S. between the ages of 20-25, they may be eligible for the program as well. The program would pay for their international airfare and assist them in getting their U.S. visa. However, the program will not cover the cost obtaining a passport. 


New Leaders Council (Chapters in Oakland, San Franciso, Sacramento, & Los Angeles) |  Click here for more information

From the program website: "New Leaders Council (NLC) is the hub for progressive Millennial thought leadership. Soon to be the largest voting bloc in American history (~83 million voters) and possessing significant economic power, Millennials will be the generation to truly change our institutions in American society. Anchored by its six-month training program, the NLC Institute, NLC equips our leaders with the skills to run for office, manage campaigns, create start-ups and networks of thought leaders. NLC leaders take their activism back into their communities and workplaces to impact progressive change. Unlike most leadership development organizations, NLC isn’t a one-weekend boot camp, but rather six-month intensive learning environment and a lifetime alumni commitment." 


Not sure where to get started? Contact us! We're happy to meet with you to learn about your interests and help get you involved as you see fit.