LEDA News – Fall 2016


Cohort 11 Begins College

Cohort 11 ScholarsLEDA Cohort 11 Scholars visit a college campus

This semester, thirty of the most selective colleges and universities throughout the United States welcomed the exceptional members of LEDA Cohort 11, our first expanded Cohort. After achieving outstanding admissions results in the spring, LEDA Cohort 11 Scholars evaluated their options with the support of LEDA’s College Guidance team, taking into account factors such as overall fit and financial aid packages. “I loved how much expertise the staff had,” said Cohort 11 Scholar AynNichelle (Swarthmore ’20). “I … appreciated how they answered my calls after office hours, supported me emotionally, and offered advice on issues outside of the college guidance process. All of these things made my experience great.” A full list of where Cohort 11 Scholars have enrolled is below.

Barnard College1
Bethune Cookman University1
Boston College2
Brown University3
Carleton College1
Carnegie Mellon University1
Colorado Mesa University1
Colorado State University Fort Collins1
Columbia University1
Cornell University1
Davidson College1
Georgetown University7
Harvard University5
Haverford College1
Johns Hopkins University1
Michigan State University1
Mount Holyoke College1
Northwestern University1
Occidental College2
Olin College of Engineering1
Princeton University14
Santa Clara University1
Smith College2
Stanford University14
Swarthmore College5
Tufts University1
University of Missouri St. Louis1
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill3
University of Notre Dame1
University of Pennsylvania2
University of Richmond1
Washington University in St. Louis5
Wesleyan University1
Williams College1
Wichita State University1
Yale University7

LEDA’s College Success team places a special emphasis on the transition to college, drawing on more than a decade of institutional expertise in supporting Scholars as they navigate freshman year. The team began formal outreach to Cohort 11 Scholars this past summer and has continued to maintain close contact. LEDA also grew our peer-mentoring program to accommodate our first expanded freshman class. Scholars note that having a peer mentor is a great resource during freshman year. “My mentor and I developed a relationship in which we learned from each other’s college experiences and helped each other out,” said Cohort 10 Scholar John (Vassar ’19). “She was fun, knowledgeable, and helpful.”

By pairing freshman Scholars with undergraduate Scholars, each LEDA freshman is welcomed by an experienced, relatable friend upon arrival to campus. In addition, older Scholars are empowered to continue building the LEDA Community and “pay it forward” in supporting the efforts of our College Success team to develop additional campus-based resources.

We are extremely proud of our Cohort 11 Scholars and are excited to see how they develop as leaders on campus and beyond!

2016 Aspects of Leadership Summer Institute

2016 LEDA SummerPresident Eisgruber meets LEDA ScholarsMany highlights of the summer, such as the Q&A session with Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber (seen at the right taking a photo with Cohort 12 Scholar Ahmed), and the July 4th LEDA Olympics, are familiar to long-time members of the LEDA Community. New activities this year included weekly Scholar “takeovers” of the LEDA Snapchat account (leda_scholars), giving our followers a “day-in the-life” perspective of the summer, and a revamped LEDA Reunion, which featured a community picnic, Scholar Karaoke, and other opportunities for more than 50 older Scholars to reconnect with old friends and bond with new ones.

Cohort 12 Scholars spent a significant amount of the Summer Institute learning about the college admission process with support from LEDA’s College Guidance team. They received detailed information the application process and financial aid, met one-on-one with their LEDA College Guidance Counselors, and meticulously researched schools to create balanced college lists that matched their personal and academic interests. As one Cohort 12 Scholar noted in reflecting on the Summer Institute, “I’m more aware of what I want to do with my future. I want to attend a college that fits me and lets me grow and challenge myself.”

Scholars gained first-hand exposure to various colleges and universities through visits to six college campuses and attendance at a college fair with representatives from over 20 institutions. In addition, admissions officers from 19 top schools, including Brown University, Franklin & Marshall College, Harvard University, Occidental College, and Washington University in St. Louis, came to the Princeton campus to recruit our Scholars.

Check out our photo gallery below to relive even more our #LEDAsummer memories.

Fall Cocktail Party

2016 LEDA Fall Cocktail PartyExecutive Director of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Harold O. Levy and LEDA Board President Elisa L. Liang
meet LEDA Cohort 6 Scholar Shenaille

What could be better than an evening mingling with some of our nation’s future leaders? LEDA was delighted to meet more than 50 guests at our annual fall cocktail party on October 18, hosted by LEDA Board Member Lindsey Turner. Nearly 20 Scholars welcomed our guests to the LEDA Community, providing them with the opportunity to hear first-hand about how LEDA has impacted their lives. The event also gave the Scholars the opportunity to share their remarkable accomplishments and network with professionals representing a variety of career fields.

After introductions from Ms. Turner and Executive Director Beth Breger, Cohort 10 Scholar Kandace shared how becoming a Scholar was a transformative moment her life: “The best summer of my life began when I received my acceptance to LEDA. The idea that there were people who wanted to provide all of this instruction, all of these educational gifts, to kids like me, and for free, was shocking. LEDA was everything I could have ever wanted.”

Kandace, who has written for The Huffington Post, also reflected on the how the LEDA Community has been a consistent and invaluable source of support when her family suffered a tragic loss:

LEDA Scholar KandaceThe aspect of LEDA that I am most grateful for is the community. Last year, [during] the worst experience of my life, I could not have survived without my LEDA family. Some LEDA Scholars had been through challenging situations similar to my own and offered advice on how to keep achieving, despite feeling like the world was falling apart around me. I was met with so much genuine love, and empathy, and care from the entire community that it was difficult to ever feel alone. Their support kept me grounded and helped me focus on what was really important.

Click through the gallery below for more memories from this enchanting evening.

Apply to LEDA

This year’s LEDA application deadline is December 12. Eligible high school juniors are encouraged to start their applications as soon as possible. For additional information about the LEDA application and program eligibility, please visit

Support LEDA on Giving Tuesday

LEDA will be participating in Giving Tuesday, a global day of charitable giving that kicks off the holiday season. Giving Tuesday harnesses the potential of social media and the generosity of people around the world to celebrate and encourage giving. Over the next few weeks, LEDA will be sharing the story of a Scholar who is paying forward the generosity of LEDA’s supporters. Stay tuned for updates on how you can support LEDA, and mark your calendars: Tuesday, November 27, 2016.

LEDA Reception: January 31, 2017

JD VanceLEDA’s Annual Reception will be held in New York on Tuesday, January 31, 2017. The event will feature a keynote address from best-selling author J.D. Vance, whose recent book is titled, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis.

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