One plays the French horn, another is on the crew team, and another sings a cappella; some already have their hands in research, others in mentoring and entrepreneurship. And this past year, as the inaugural class of A. James Clark Engineering Scholars, these half-dozen students (now rising juniors) also began receiving rigorous training in the fundamentals of leadership.
"I think a lot of people have the view that leaders are born, but most leaders that we talk to say leaders are created; that you can learn to be a leader," says David Dolling, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science.
The program homes in on the dean's goal of graduating students that look like "an uppercase T," he says. The vertical column is technical expertise. The horizontal bar on top represents an understanding of "the bigger picture," he says, "and the bigger picture is in some way the softer side of life … how to work with people and understand how the world works."
The enterprise was created with an $8 million gift from local entrepreneur and GW trustee emeritus A. James Clark, board chairman and CEO of Clark Enterprises Inc., one of the nation's largest privately held companies and the parent holding company of Clark Construction Group LLC.
Dean Dolling describes the program as "an immersion experience." Clark Scholars take on internships, spend a semester studying abroad, and attend a leadership "boot camp." Other events this year included a talk by Anousheh Ansari, MS '92, the first female private space explorer and chief executive officer of Prodea Systems.
"When you meet a group of students like this," says Dean Dolling, "you realize that the world will be in good hands. They're energetic, they're responsible, they're wanting to learn, they're wanting to do good things."
Hometown: Liberty, N.Y.
Hometown: Burlington, N.J.
Hometown: Chagrin Falls, Ohio
Hometown: Radnor, Pa.
Hometown: Uniondale, N.Y.
Hometown: Tacoma, Wash.