Founded in 1989 by Isabella Cannon, Elon ‘24 graduate and former mayor of Raleigh, this dynamic opportunity instills values of academic excellence, strong leadership, and camaraderie within a cohort of inspired change makers. As a Leadership Fellow, you will immediately join a group of students driven to strengthen their leadership capacities and leave an impact within the Elon community. This program is designed to cultivate first-year students into premier leaders on Elon’s campus; upon graduation, Leadership Fellow alumni transfer their strong leadership skills to the workforce and their new communities. To learn more about the Isabella Cannon Leadership Fellows visit the program website.

During the four-year program, you will:

  • Participate in a community service project and team-building exercises, and work closely with the local Chamber of Commerce to facilitate leadership workshops for middle school students.
  • Attend special monthly forums bringing together all four Leadership Fellows classes to learn from leadership experts and engage in deep discussions.
  • During Winter Term of your sophomore year, participate in a specially designed course on civil rights and travel to key locations to study.
  • Work with a faculty mentor to research a social issue, complete a contextual analysis, then develop a project to create sustainable positive change.
  • All Fellows complete the leadership studies minor and the academic experience with courses that support the completion of their common good project.

Learning to Lead

The Leadership Fellows program is rooted in curricular and co-curricular learning. As a Leadership Studies minor, you will be exposed to multiple theories and practices of leadership. The curriculum will help you appreciate leadership as an academic inquiry, understand your own leadership vision and values, and prepare you for key informal and formal leadership roles.

As a Leadership Fellow, you will participate in a variety of interactive leadership development workshops, or Leadershops. You will learn about leadership from the following perspectives:

  • Leading for self. Investigate your leadership style and philosophy, understand your responsibility to the community, identify a mentor and participate in campus clubs and organizations as you use your strengths to engage in leadership on campus.
  • Leading with others. Develop your ability to work with groups, gain a stronger understanding of diverse perspectives and learn the power of collaboration. Work with a mentor to explore your effectiveness as a leader.
  • Leading for change. Deepen your understanding of leadership and apply it to effect organizational and systemic change. Present your research and common good project to a team of community leaders.

Who should apply?

Students with substantial and broad leadership experiences in their high school and/or communities are encouraged to apply. Students should have a GPA of 3.6 or higher. Thirty Fellows are selected to begin each new cohort of leaders. The application deadline is January 15.

Program Benefits


Thirty first-year Isabella Cannon Leadership Fellows receive scholarships valued at $7,500 annually. In addition, all 30 Fellows receive a one-time $1,000 Global Study grant to be used for study abroad. This amount is in addition to any Presidential or Elon Engagement scholarship received.

Leadership Courses

As a Leadership Fellow, you’ll complete a minor in Leadership by taking courses such as: Foundation of Leadership, Psychology of Leadership and a Winter Term domestic travel experience. Additionally, you’ll attend monthly Leadership Fellows Forums designed to encourage all of the Fellows to interact and discuss specific leadership topics.

Study Abroad Grant

All Leadership Fellows receive a one-time $1,000 Global Study grant to use for a university-approved study abroad or Study USA experience.