MACON – Mercer University sophomore Kyle Bligen is one of 16 students nationwide who have been selected to participate in this year's Mount Vernon Leadership Fellows program, a competitive five-and-a-half-week summer leadership program for rising juniors who desire to make a difference.
“Kyle Bligen shows exceptional promise as a leader, and this opportunity to develop skills, make connections and refine a sense of purpose will help him realize his potential,” said Dr. David A. Davis, director of fellowships and scholarships and associate professor of English. “I am thrilled to see a Mercer student participate in this program.”
The fully paid and funded program takes place at George Washington's famous estate in Mount Vernon, Virginia, which sits just outside of Washington, D.C.
Rising juniors from diverse academic disciplines are invited to immerse themselves in a leadership development program inspired by the first president of the United States as well as today's foremost leaders.
The select, small cohort will engage in dynamic leadership education curriculum, interact with nationally recognized corporate, government and military leaders in the nation's capital and discover how to change the world through self-reflection, exciting experiential activities and a community service-focused capstone project.
“It is a great honor to be included in the Mount Vernon Leadership Fellows Class of 2016,” said Bligen. “I am humbled to have the opportunity to learn from nationally recognized leaders, innovators, tacticians and captains of industry. I have a vested interest in personal and leadership development. That stated, while in Washington, I endeavor to create a family foundation that advocates for healthy families and the preservation of strong households. This foundation would provide families with resources such as legal counseling, financial literacy education and reliable healthcare information.”
Bligen, from Peachtree City, is a politics, philosophy and economics (PPE) major who, upon his graduation from Mercer, aspires to continue his education in the joint degree program in law and business offered by Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School.
As an undergraduate, Bligen has played a significant role in Mercer's debate team. He serves as its captain and has won numerous team and individual honors at competitions across the country. He also is president of the Residence Hall Association, society events chair for the National Society of Leadership and Success and a member of Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society and the National Residence Hall Honorary.
An Audra Nicole Oliver Scholar, Bligen has received the National Engaged Leader Award and Jazzy Bear Award and has been named to the president's and dean's lists. His interests include reading, folk and acoustic music, poetry, spoken word and intramurals.
With the opening of the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington in 2013, Mount Vernon President Curt Viebranz set forth an ambitious plan to attract and engage emerging student leaders, helping them become the movers and shakers of tomorrow. He proposed an innovative, residential summer fellowship experience for standout rising college juniors from the nation's top colleges and universities. For more information on the Mount Vernon Leadership Fellows program, visit mountvernon.org/fellows.