MIT Student-Athlete Leadership Program

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The Student-Athlete Leadership Program has been designed to support DAPER’s Core Values and to equip MIT student-athletes with the tools to become successful leaders on their teams, in the classroom, in the community and in their professional careers following graduation. Through a comprehensive, interactive, three-tier approach, students will discover what their own leadership style is and how it adds value to their respective teams. The program will enhance the concepts that are taught in the classroom and allow student-athletes practical application of leadership skills. Student-athletes will learn from personal assessment, guest speakers and each other about the importance of motivation and collaboration. Although the program spans from a student’s first year through their last day of competition, the skills and competencies they acquire will have lasting effects for life beyond MIT.

Rising Leaders

Selected rising leaders (typically sophomores and juniors at the varsity level, or graduate students at the club level) prepare to become team captains and/or officers, and will engage in programming that allows them the opportunity to gain a comprehensive understanding of what it means to be a leader. Through a DiSC behavioral assessment, these Rising Leaders will increase self-knowledge and awareness, identify personal strengths and weaknesses, and develop the ability to effectively communicate with and motivate teammates. Through practical application and “real life” scenarios (rising leaders may join captains for selected activities and workshops), these Rising Leaders will develop the skills to:

  • Excel in a leadership role
  • Build team camaraderie
  • Effectively communicate under stress
  • Establish effective and attainable team goals, and hold each other accountable to meet those goals


The Captains program is designed for team captains and serves as the culminating experience to the Student-Athlete Leadership Program. Captains interact with “experts” in the field of leadership, from academia and industry; participate in workshops and exercises to enhance their leadership skills; network with with alumni; assist in the development and the delivery of the first-year student-athlete curriculum; and connect with other captains to tackle difficult team issues and celebrate successes. Through the Student-Athlete Leadership Program, captains will:

  • Learn to effectively lead their teams through both hardships and successes
  • Prepare Rising Leaders for the role of captain, including how to approach adversity while maintaining composure
  • Develop networking skills for life outside MIT
  • Understand how their athletic leadership skills translate to their professional careers