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Intersectional Leadership Academy (ILA)


Intersectionality is a term first coined by Kimberly Crenshaw in 1989. Crenshaw used Intersectionality is a framework for understanding how aspects of a person's social and political identities combine to create different modes of discrimination and privilege. The intersectional Leadership Academy is designed for underrepresented students at the University of Utah to critically analyze how their intersecting identities influence leadership and community building while also allowing students to explore and develop their identities as leaders. Often leadership is viewed as positional and hierarchal. However, some of the best leadership provided in our communities is personal rather than positional and so we ask: How do we queer leadership? What does it mean to lead collectively and collaboratively rather than within a hierarchy? Through bi-weekly meetings, discussions with local queer leaders, and attending a 1/2-day LGBTQIA+ leadership retreat, the ILA seeks to answer those questions. 

The term "underrepresented” refers to those who inequitably represented in queer spaces. Some (but not all) of the identities that may fall into this definition are: Black/African American, Indigenous, Asian/Asian American, Latina/o/x, Pacific Islander, Arab/Arab American, and/or Multiracial, those that may have disabilities, those who identify as trans, nonbinary, or ACE (Asexual). The term "queer" being used includes lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, trans, queer, questioning, intersex, and/or asexual/aromantic people. We are aware that there are many different identities that may not be included on this list. We welcome any LGBTQIA+ undergraduate student attending the University of Utah during the Spring 2024 semester to apply, regardless of formal leadership experience. Though please note- priority will be given to underrepresented students. 


What will you do in ILA?

As part of the 2024 ILA cohort, students will:

  • Explore LGBTQIA+ experiences from an intersectional perspective
  • Identify and critique systems of power and oppression that affect our lives
  • Build community with other students invested in creating positive change
  • Develop a stronger sense of self as a leader

Program activities and opportunities include:

  • Bi-Weekly meetings to engage in discussion and activities centered on community building and leadership development over the course of 8 weeks
  • A half day leadership retreat (location TBD) with the cohort for concentrated time learning as a community. 
  • Learning from local queer leaders working for change in Salt Lake City and Utah.

Students participating in the 2024 ILA cohort will receive:

  • A $800 stipend from the LGBT Resource Center
  • A Intersectional Leadership Academy Program journal
  • Books & materials associated with the program
  • All food and transportation costs covered by the program

Program Requirements

  • Be enrolled as an undergraduate student at the University of Utah.
  • Be able to attend all required program sessions, and the ILA retreat:

How to Apply

To be considered for the Intersectional Leadership Academy, complete the online application by the priority deadline November 22nd. The application questions will include contact information as well as 3 short essay prompts you will need to answer. You can find the official application located here. The prompts are:

  • Why are you interested in participating in the Intersectional Leadership Academy, and what specific goals or outcomes do you hope to meet through this program? 
  • What aspects of your identity (e.g., race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, socioeconomic background) do you believe contribute to your unique perspective on leadership and intersectionality? 
  • If selected, what is one topic you would like to see in our curriculum?

Applications will then be reviewed and applicants who are selected will be notified directly via email by December 6th.

How We Evaluate Applications

Applications for ILA will be evaluated holistically, based on students who have enthusiasm, interests, and skills sets related to the following areas:

  • Ability to commit to all program sessions and related activities 

  • Demonstration of collaborative spirit and desire to engage in community building 

  • Commitment to personal growth and development 
  • Demonstration of critical thinking and self-reflection skills 

Who can I contact if I have questions about ILA?

If you have any questions about ILA, you may contact the LGBT Resource Center at

A Big Thank You to our Supporters!

The Intersectional Leadership Academy is supported by our generous donors, including The B.W. Bastian Foundation and The Parent Fund. Thank you to our supporters! If you have questions about how you can support this leadership experience for students, contact the LGBT Resource Center at

B.W. Bastian Foundation LogoParent Fund Wordmark

Last Updated: 10/31/23