UMC Links

Second Annual Black Student Leadership Institute at the U

Students gather with a faculty mentor after a research session in the Marriott Library during the Inaugural Black Student Leadership Institute in 2012.

June 13, 2013—For the second year running, a group of 20 high school juniors from across the state have gathered at the University of Utah to take part in the Black Student Leadership Institute. With the theme “I Am Therefore We Are, We Are Therefore I Am,” the students are exploring the state of African Americans in health, education, civic engagement and media while learning how to research and work in teams.

The BSLI was born from the objectives of the State Board of Regents—to increase participation in higher education, with a special focus on Utah’s ethnic minority population. The institute is partly modeled after a similar, highly successful program that has had proven results at several institutions across the country

“I’ve seen the impact of this type of program and am thrilled that we have been able to develop it here at the U,” said Jennifer Williams Molock, assistant vice president for Education and Community Partnerships for Diversity at the U. “It enriches both the students and the community and is exactly what the University of Utah is about.”

With a successful inaugural year in 2012, the BSLI affords an opportunity for a rich, multi-faceted conversation about issues affecting black students today. Members of the university’s faculty and staff – as well as current students – will act as mentors to the 20 students currently attending the institute. A goal of the institute is to use the examination of these issues as a means to improve the students’ communication skills and develop their leadership potential.

A symposium to be held Saturday, June 15, will feature presentations from each team on what they have discovered, providing an opportunity for them to demonstrate their new and enhanced skills.

The institute is free for the high school students, who applied earlier this year by submitting an institute application, high school transcripts, letters of recommendation and a personal statement. The institute accepts 20 participants, but the program is expected to grow in the future. The BSLI is sponsored jointly by the University of Utah Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Office of Admissions.

Members of the media are welcome to attend the closing keynote and ceremony of the BSLI Saturday, June 15 at 10 a.m. in the Gould Auditorium of the J. Willard Marriott Library. For more information, contact Dr. Jennifer Williams Molock, or to register to attend the Symposium and Luncheon, visit