As the first and one of only two public honors colleges in the country, we’ve made it our mission to put every student at St. Mary’s College of Maryland in charge of their own journey forward. And we do that through an initiative we call LEAD.
LEAD stands for Learning Through Experiential and Applied Discovery. Think of it as an all-encompassing, integrative pathway that will prepare you for whatever your next step is—research, graduate school, or the workforce.
What is LEAD?
LEAD blends together a thoughtful and purposeful academic experience with professional skill development, weaving credit-bearing courses and hands-on opportunities right into your chosen degree.
At St. Mary’s College, you’ll learn how to approach a problem from multiple perspectives. You’ll learn to think critically– and creatively. From the foundational coursework you’ll take in your first semester, to the capstone project you’ll complete during your senior year, you’ll be learning how to lead– here on campus, and beyond.
The Honors College Promise
We guarantee every student the opportunity to engage in a research, internship, or international experience. Combine that with the rest of your St. Mary’s College experience and you’ll be well on your way to a rewarding career.
*We guarantee every student the opportunity to engage in a research, internship, or international experience. Combine that with the rest of your St. Mary’s College experience and you’ll be well on your way to a rewarding career.
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from Day 1
From the moment you arrive, you’ll explore careers through experiences like microinternships, Job-IQ access, and these below.
- You’ll develop a personalized Career and Leadership Development Plan that continually aligns your educational experience with your career choices.
- You’ll take credit-bearing courses that include growing your professional networks, strengthening professional skills like project management, communications and team work, and diving deep into career planning within your major. The best part? These professional skill courses are incorporated right into every student’s curriculum.
- Your individualized Plan culminates in our Honors College Promise leading to a career outcome rate 7 percentage points higher than the national average.
“If you ask any employer, anyone who’s hiring, what they need – they need critical thinking skills, problem solving skills, individuals who can work as a team. That’s something that’s hard for an employer to teach, but we spend four years cultivating it.” –Ciara Williams, Director of Professional Pathways
Brayan Ruiz Lopez ’24 will be placed in an externship connected to his major and career interests. It’s how SMCM students LEAD with an edge.
Alyssa Hawkins ’21 plans to put her double major in English and international languages and cultures to work in a career in international law. Next stop is law school.
Why is LEAD so important?
–Reilly Cook ’19, English
Dream Job: travel photographer/videographer
Practical Job: “My computer science major is a portable asset so I hope to be able to use it to work anywhere in the world.”
Campus Job: “I’ve been a reef keeper for about 10 years and had a number of different aquariums where I learned basic plumbing and electrical skills. Working with another student in the wet lab helped me learn a ton of things and share my knowledge of reef keeping.” –Jack Eskay ’23, Computer Science Major
–Kelsey Bush ’94, Political Science & Sociology Anthropology
“You’re not just a number when you attend St. Mary’s College. The professors here are so caring and understanding. They actually get to know you and personally work with you on your strengths and weaknesses a lot better than at a big university.” –Tae-shi Savage ’24, English and Performing Arts major
Her Advice to All Seahawks: “Get involved on campus through clubs, internships, volunteer work. You never know who you’ll meet! Some of my best memories came from when I pushed myself out of my comfort zone.”
“I get to work collaboratively on projects with people who are professionals in their field. The best part about this is that it is a learning opportunity as much as it is a work one” –Kevin Glotfelty ’19, now a video production assistant in Atlanta, GA
“I would recommend applying for internships to any student who can! Internships are a great way to connect with professionals in a work field you are interested in, and gain valuable advice that you cannot learn from a textbook. They additionally expose you to your intended career path and allow you to apply your knowledge gained from undergrad toward real life situations. Internships are essential in truly understanding if the career path you are considering taking is right for you!” –Emily Pulkowski ’21, Interned in Plan Accounting for PGIM Investments in the Virtual Summer Internship Experience. Because of her internship, Pulkowski has been hired as a full-time Investment Operations associate at PGIM Investments post-graduation.
“I contribute all of my success as a researcher and educator to the Psychology Department at SMCM, especially the SMP experience. If you are debating about an SMP, do it!” –Kati Peditto ’15, Completed her PhD in human behavior and design from Cornell University. Now, she works as architecture research lead for HDR, Inc.
“The graphic design internship has been an amazing experience! I have learned a lot during it such as technical skills in Adobe Illustrator and InDesign, as well as general do’s and don’ts of graphic design. I genuinely believe that this internship has allowed me to grow from a novice designer to a more professional and refined designer. Everything I have learned so far is essential since I hope on doing freelance work in the future, so this internship has been a foundation for that.” –Jasper Lopez ’21, Art
“My EXTERNSHIP placement at Personalized Therapy was the perfect opportunity for me based on my professional interests. Without it, I wouldn’t have learned all that I have and been able to get an INTERNSHIP with an occupational therapy clinic near my home. Now I have more than double the hours I need for occupational therapy graduate school, networking options to help guide me through the process, and a deeper love for my future profession.” –Hannah Dietrich ’21, Psychology
LEAD in the News
St. Mary’s College offers an education on par with the best private liberal arts colleges, at the value of a public institution, in a setting that’s breathtakingly beautiful. If that sounds up your alley, take the LEAD.