Creating the Extraordinary Student Experience

  • Students at SAS

The Leading Edge

Test and strengthen your leadership and problem-solving abilities by participating in a seven-week, real-world internship experience. From February 7 to March 28, 2017, you and a small group of your peers will attempt to solve real problems facing Central Ohio businesses and non-profits. Build your competitive edge, gain valuable project and team experiences, receive guidance from Ohio State Staff and BLF Fellows, and meet influential Columbus professionals and Ohio State alumni through your participation. Leadership Challenge Month is organized by the Office of Student Life’s Buckeye Leadership Fellows Program and hosted in partnership with the Office of Distance Education and eLearning (ODEE). To view a brief video describing Leadership Challenge Month, click here.

Space is limited. Register at today! 


Challenge Month Partner Organizations – Coming Soon!


Learning Outcomes

Students who participate in Leadership Challenge Month:

  • Engage in “problem-based learning” (Bridges & Hallinger, 1997) by: (a) navigating a problem or opportunity currently facing a Columbus-based corporation or non-profit; (b) researching, designing, and creating a solution which fully addresses the problem or opportunity, and (c) presenting and implementing their realistic and full solution to the problem or opportunity
  • Hone their leadership effectiveness by contributing to the work of a team focused on creating positive change for an organization
  • Build self-awareness and apply it to work in a multidisciplinary team
  • Distinguish the elements of an effective pitch, and compose and deliver a pitch
  • Identify and practice appropriate networking behaviors with talented peers, alumni, and community leaders
  • Construct and deliver a formal presentation
  • Evaluate their work and that of their peers by exchanging constructive feedback


Leadership Challenge Month: Requirements and Structure

Students must attend the following meetings and workshops to be eligible to participate:

  • Tuesday, February 7: Leadership Challenge Month Kickoff
  • Tuesday, February 14: Project Management 101
  • Tuesday, February 21: Team Dynamics and Leadership
  • Tuesday, February 28: Networking
  • Tuesday, March 7: Pitches and Presentations
  • Tuesday, March 21: Review and Presentation Work
  • Tuesday, March 28: Final Presentations

These required meetings and workshops are hosted each week from 4:30pm-6:00pm

Tuesday, February 7: Leadership Challenge Month Kickoff

This evening sets the tone for the Leadership Challenge Month. In a fast-paced format, students are introduced to Leadership Challenge concept, host program, stakeholders involved, and learning outcomes. Then, participants are grouped into their challenge teams, receive their Challenge Month Coaches, and have a preliminary conversation about their expectations of one another.

Tuesday, February 14: Project Management 101 Workshop

This is the first of four developmental workshops that participants experience. To ensure that students understand the basics of project management, a local professional hosts a workshop on the key elements of effective projects, outlines a project process, and highlights helpful habits to consider. Students then divide into their challenge teams to create their own project process - which they will use to guide their work over the remaining five-weeks. 

Tuesday, February 21: Team Dynamics Workshop

In this workshop, students take a leadership inventory and process the results with a trained facilitator – learning more about themselves and how their leadership style interacts with others. Then, students circle into their challenge teams and discuss how their results impact their understanding of their team’s dynamic and functioning. This workshop focuses on building self-awareness and directly translating it to their leadership challenge, offering students the tools they need to more effectively navigate their team dynamics.

Tuesday, February 28: Networking Workshop

The final installment of our developmental workshop series, this workshop builds students’ social capital and professional skills – training them in the behaviors for successful networking. Facilitated by a local professional, this workshop is structured to take students from theory to practice: walking students through the networking fundamentals and then immediately providing them the opportunity to apply their new knowledge as they network in a room with Columbus professionals. Beyond building this critical skill, the relationships students form in this setting may directly benefit their challenge work, connect them to future internships, or lead to careers.

Tuesday, March 7: Pitches and Presentations Workshop

This third developmental workshop builds students’ capacities to effectively communicate their ideas and gain buy-in from others. Students receive a brief presentation on the mechanics of effective public speaking, idea development, and presentation. Then, students break out into their challenge teams to apply these concepts to their challenge work. The evening concludes with teams delivering their newly formed pitches to the broader student audience.

Tuesday, March 21: Presentation and Review

In this meeting, students are joined by Ohio State Staff and BLF coaches to prepare their final presentation and project content. Each group will receive constructive feedback and guidance in the final wrap up of their projects. Students will have the opportunity to evaluate each member of their project team on their contributions to the project. This session will serve as a chance for students to refine or make the necessary adjustments to their presentations.

Tuesday, March 28: Final Presentations

As the conclusion of our Leadership Challenge Month experience, student teams offer their final presentations on their work and/or recommendations to the partner organization. Challenge partners hear these presentations, engage in Q&A sessions with each team, and make evaluations on the quality of the work. While challenge partners deliberate on the presentations, students engage in a team-oriented feedback session – discussing what went well, what they could have done differently, and what they learned from the experience. As the challenge partners return and announce a winning team (if applicable), teams receive additional feedback from the partner organization.