High School Leadership Academy (HSLA)

Student Fellow and Peer Mentors

The High School Leadership Academy is organized and controlled by a Student Fellow and Peer Mentors. HSLA gives members of Washburn University's Leadership Institute the opportunity to practice their leadership skills. It also offers high school students the opportunity to learn more about leadership and to further develop their leadership skills.

Meet the HSLA Fellow

Katelyn Rollins

Katelyn Rollins

Hello, my name is Katelyn Rollins; I am an undergraduate student at Washburn University. I am a senior studying English Education and Math Education with a minor in Leadership Studies. I am from Topeka, KS and graduated from Seaman High School. While at Washburn, I am involved in many programs such as the University Honor’s program, the Leadership Institute, and Presidential Ambassador for International Students.

My favorite aspect of Topeka is the revamping of the NOTO Arts District and Downtown Topeka. Growing up in Topeka has been an absolute blessing. Many of my fondest memories include my family attending various events in Downtown Topeka, Gage Park, and Washburn University.

My favorite leadership quote is: “Presenting leadership as a list of carefully defined qualities (like strategic, analytical and performance-oriented) no longer holds. Instead, true leadership stems from individuality that is honestly and sometimes imperfectly expressed… Leaders should strive for authenticity over perfection.” -- Sheryl Sandberg, COO Facebook 

Meet your Peer Mentors

Claire Leffingwell

Claire Leffingwell

Hello there, my name is Claire Leffingwell! I am a freshman psychology major, minoring in leadership studies. I am from Stillwater, Oklahoma. I am a member of the Leadership Institute, and the materials coordinator for the Leadership Challenge Event. I am also in the Washburn Marching Blues, WU Wind Ensemble, WU Percussion Ensemble, and the WU Symphony Orchestra. I am also training to become a peer educator for the First Year Experience program. My favorite thing about Topeka is the support of the arts community! As a musician, I am lucky to now live in a place where the residents of the city fully support fine arts. My favorite Netflix show to binge watch is Scrubs—for sure. Turk and JD are my favorite on-screen duo.

My favorite leadership quote is by John F. Kennedy: “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” Truly effective leadership results in both parties walking away as a better person.

Emma Staats

Emma Staats

Hello! My name is Emma Staats and I am a sophomore at Washburn University. I am a criminal justice major with a minor in leadership studies as well as theatre. I was raised in El Dorado, KS and live there, when I’m not at school, with my mom, dad, twin sister, and two little brothers. At Washburn, I am involved in the Leadership Institute, theatre department, Bods Feeding Bods, Learning in the Community, Criminal Justice Association, Alpha Lambda Delta, and Bod Squad. My favorite part of Topeka, besides school, is the arts district in NOTO. I also love The Burger Stand and Pizza Pub (food is good). The Office is a Netflix must, it is playing all the time in my dorm room.

My favorite leadership quote is: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” –John Quincy Adams

Emma Wetzel

Emma Wetzel

Hi! My name is Emma Wetzel and I am a freshman here at Washburn University! My major is Human Services with a minor in Leadership Studies. I am from Shawnee, KS where I attended Mill Valley High School. At Washburn, I play soccer for the Ichabod’s, member of the Leadership Institute and am a Peer Mentor and I love every second of it. My favorite part of Topeka is the community feel, everyone is here for each other. My favorite Netflix Show to watch is The Office!

“Leadership is not magnetic personality-that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not making friends and influencing people—that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.” -Peter Drucker

Sydney Fox

Sydney Fox

Hi, I am Sydney! I am a freshman elementary Education major at Washburn University. This past school year, I was the K-12 team leader for the Leadership Institute. I am from Winfield, Kansas. Also, I enjoy watching Greys Anatomy. My favorite experience in Topeka is going bowling. It is a great way to hang out with friends in a stress free environment that doesn't cost tons of money. 

My favorite leadership quote is: "Why fit in when you were born to stand out?"

Morgan Holloway

Morgan Holloway

My name is Morgan Holloway. Currently, as a sophomore, I am majoring in Fine Arts with a concentration in Graphic Design and minoring in Leadership Studies. I grew up in Kearney, Missouri and attended Kearney High School. On Washburn's campus I am involved in the Student Leadership Council for the Leadership Institute, Delta Gamma Fraternity, God's Bods, Young Life, Chemistry Club, Forensic Sciences Club and Bod Squad. My favorite part about Topeka is the NOTO district. Parenthood is by far my favorite Netflix show to binge watch.

My favorite leadership quote is from Robin Sharma: "The leader's job is to see the best in human beings who have never caught sight of the best within themselves."

Marissa Meis

Marissa Meis

Hello, my name is Marissa Nicole Meis. I am fourth year student at Washburn University double majoring in Theater and Mass Media with an emphasis in Creative Advertising. I have moved all over as child, but I grew up mostly in Topeka, KS. At Washburn, I have been involved in the Theatre Department and the Leadership Institute. I LOVE GAGE PARK. Taking my little sister to Gage Park in the summers is one of my absolute favorite things! We go to the pool, the zoo, and the park with the train! It's so much fun, no matter what age you are. Oh man, so many good shows to binge watch on Netflix. I'm in Advertising, so Mad Men was really fun to watch. Friends is also a good go-to choice when you don't know what to watch (I've seen the whole series 4 times through).

My favorite leadership quote is: "Take criticism seriously, but not personally." - Hillary Clinton. This is something that I personally work on every day, and continually remind myself. Criticism in a necessary and important part of leadership, but effective leaders do not allow criticism to bother them or discourage them to the point of being unable to perform. Take criticism for what it is, and allow it to build your skills and become better in the process.

Michaela Miller

Michaela Miller

Hello, my name is Michaela Miller. I am a sophomore, and I am a criminal justice major. My emphasis is forensic investigations. I am pursuing the leadership minor at Washburn University. I am from Lawrence, Kansas, and I graduated from Bishop Seabury Academy. I am involved with the Leadership Institute, the Chemistry club, the United Methodist Campus Ministry House, and the newly-formed forensic science club. I am also the vice president of the Nakama Anime club. My favorite part about being in Topeka is being able to go to NOTO arts district. I also love visiting the community theaters. My favorite show to binge watch on Netflix is NCIS.

My favorite leadership quote is from Arnold Glasow: “A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit.”

Maci Hagelgantz

Maci Hagelgantz

Hello, my Name is Maci Hagelgantz and I am a senior at Washburn University. My major is Political Science and I am minoring in Women and Gender Studies and Leadership Studies. I am from Ransom, Ks and graduated from Western Plains High School. During my time at Washburn I have been involved in many organizations including the Leadership Institute and the Washburn Residential Council. My favorite part of Topeka is how much there is to do here. There is never a dull day in Topeka, you just have to explore. My favorite Netflix show to binge-watch is Friends.

My favorite Leadership quote is, "To do a common thing uncommonly well brings success." -Henry J. Heinz

Ally Burr

Ally Burr

My name is Ally Burr and I am a sophomore studying Mass Media with an emphasis in Public Relations and a Leadership Studies minor. I am from Arkansas City, Kansas. At Washburn, I am involved with varsity Women's Tennis, Delta Gamma Sorority, Young Life campus ministry, Alpha Lambda Delta honor society, Student Ambassadors, Students Today Alumni Tomorrow and the Leadership Institute. My favorite part of Topeka is driving down to downtown Topeka at night to 9th and Kansas, where the capital building is all lit up. My favorite show on Netflix is Friends, and even though I have seen it before, I love to binge watch it over and over again.

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." -John Quincy Adams