U.S. Rep. Luke Messer, R-Ind, and Ball State President Jo Ann M. Gora have established the new Congressional Leadership Academy for high-ability high school juniors in Indiana's 6th Congressional District. The inaugural one-day event will be held April 5, 2014.

The Academy will recognize and reward civic engagement and scholastic excellence.  Two students from each high school in Indiana's 6th Congressional District will be chosen to participate in the full-day event on Ball State's campus.

Messer and Gora will kick-off the academy in a morning convocation. Students will then learn about Indiana's strengths in advanced manufacturing, emerging media, sustainable energy, and life sciences. They will visit Ball State facilities that demonstrate those strengths, and will hear from the industries' most influential leaders. Students then will apply what they've learned and develop problem-solving skills through a practical, team-based exercise focused on the challenges facing Indiana's economy.

Messer said one of the reasons behind the creation of the academy was a similar program that he attended as a high school student and the inspiration it provided.

"It was my personal desire to create an opportunity that would give young people in the 6th Congressional District, today, the same kind of experience that I had as a student and to help train a new generation of leaders," he said.

Gora agreed that providing inspiration to young people is a primary mission of the new academy, along with exposing them to exciting educational and career opportunities that Indiana can provide.

"At Ball State, we attract students who value innovation and collaboration," said Gora.  "This new opportunity will allow us to extend our reach to the top high school juniors in east central Indiana. These students will get an early taste of the possibilities that await them right here in Indiana. Our goal is for these future leaders to become even more curious and passionate about our state's bright future in advanced manufacturing, emerging media, sustainable energy, and life sciences."

Students will have the opportunity to learn from some of the most influential business leaders in Indiana. Students will be selected for the academy by their principals or superintendents. Principals in the district will receive introductory materials and application information in September. Students will be notified of their selection in December.