The January Leadership Initiative is a two-year program that offers four weeks of training and experience during two consecutive January terms. To be accepted into the program students must apply and participate in an interview process. Students are selected based on both the application and the interview, but also based on the development of a diverse group of students and styles. Students will have the opportunity to write, reflect, make oral presentations; they will also think critically and analytically, develop historical and comparative perspectives and engage actively in their campus and local communities.
Any first-, second- or third-year Smith student can apply to the program in the fall of the academic year. About 25 participants are chosen annually, based on academic performance and motivation. Each year's group includes students from across the academic spectrum, in areas as varied as philosophy and neuroscience. Many have already held leadership positions in student groups; all see themselves as future leaders.