Posts Tagged ‘National Conference for College Women Student Leaders’

The end of a year is always a good time to reflect on the accomplishments and joys of the last 12 months and to look ahead to the new year. I spoke recently with members of the newly installed executive board of the AAUW student organization at the University of Michigan, Dearborn, about their highlights from 2012 and their goals for the new term. The UM-Dearborn organization got its legs in early 2012 after four students attended the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL) in May 2011. I was lucky enough to hear from Tina Nelson, president of AAUW UM-Dearborn, and Benita Robinson, membership coordinator of AAUW UM-Dearborn and 2012–13 National Student Advisory Council member, about their 2012 reflections and 2013 goals.

UM-Dearborn students at NCCWSL

Highlights from 2012

  • Starting the AAUW student organization at UM-Dearborn — an idea sparked by NCCWSL 2011
  • Attending NCCWSL 2012 with 34 UM-Dearborn students and 27 students from 13 other Michigan colleges and universities
  • Presenting the Five Easy Steps to Starting an Organization on Campus workshop at NCCWSL 2012
  • Teaching members of the college community about issues of inequality and ways we can work to combat inequality and discrimination
  • Networking with other women and hearing stories of their successes and obstaclesAAUW UM-Dearborn members painted the University rock with AAUW’s logo
  • Painting the university rock during election week with AAUW’s logo and a reminder to vote — a night that made us feel radical and bold

Goals for 2013

  • Engage and excite our members about our organization
  • Return to NCCWSL in May with other members
  • Sustain and further develop the relationships that we have with the AAUW Dearborn (MI) Branch and AAUW of Michigan

I can tell that the AAUW student organization at the University of Michigan, Dearborn, is going to do great things in 2013.

If you are inspired to start an AAUW student organization on your college or university campus, send us an e-mail at coll-univ@aauw.org with “student organization” in the subject line. You can also check out our Program in a Box for more information on forming an AAUW student org.

This post was written by AAUW College/University Relationships Intern Courtney Douglas.

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Mentors can help shape and guide the experiences of their mentees, and this relationship can have a lifelong impact. As the first person in my household to go to college, I know that mentors played a critical part in my leadership development and my decision to pursue graduate school. Mentors like my colleague Kandy Mink Salas, who wrote her dissertation on college women and their leadership aspirations, and Tony Ragazzo, my student leadership advisor who told me that I should go to graduate school, both played a key role in my undergraduate success.

mentorship blog christine with menteesWhen I was a campus administrator, I tried to pay it forward in my work with students. Many of them had the capacity to lead, and it has been a privilege to serve as a mentor. Now in my job at AAUW, I still get to do this great work through the many AAUW leadership programs that help empower college women across the country. Programs like the National Student Advisory Council and Elect Her–Campus Women Win and events like the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders help women find their voices and take on greater leadership roles in their communities.

This month, I presented on women and leadership at the Leadership Educators Institute in Columbus, Ohio. One of my key points focused on the serious need for mentors in the lives of college women. I asked participants in my workshop and colleagues on Twitter what words of wisdom they, as mentors to college women leaders, would share. These were some of the responses.

  • mentorship blog notecard“I would encourage critical thinking and validate their ideas. I would seek out resources to share with them and connect them to different people. Also, I would say, The answer is always no if you don’t ask.”
  • “Let her know what options are available to her and why it’s important to try, and/or why [certain options] are a good fit.”
  • “Trust yourself; explore your identity as a woman and what that means to you.”
  • “The harder you work now, the ‘luckier’ you’ll get in the future.”
  • “Never be ashamed to talk about your intelligence. Women aren’t always taught they can be smart and emphasize it.”
  • “Learn to brag! … Then learn when it is appropriate.”
  • “Believing in yourself is part of your growth as a leader and as a woman. If you believe in yourself, you can accomplish anything you put your mind to. I will always be here to guide you.”

What words of wisdom would you share with a college woman?

This post was written by AAUW College/University Relationships Manager Christine Hernandez.

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Kelsey Klein

The 2013 National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL) is approaching and will surely leave our attendees with new revelations on leadership. Following NCCWSL 2012 — one of our most successful conferences to date — we will go above and beyond for students May 30–June 1, 2013.

For past attendees, NCCWSL has provided the boost of confidence that they needed to get going in leadership. Our conference provides life-changing skills to help women step up to the plate and lead without any doubts.

Meet Kelsey Klein, for example. Klein is a senior majoring in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Last year, she attended as a national scholarship recipient and could not have been more appreciative. “My high expectations for NCCWSL 2012 were in no way disappointed,” Klein says, glowing over the amazing words of encouragement that she heard from keynote speakers Lilly Ledbetter and Mayda del Valle. Klein was also moved by the stories and accomplishments of our Women of Distinction honorees, specifically Noorjahan Akbar. “I felt like [I saw] my life reflected in NCCWSL 2012, reminding me that I am not alone in my experiences,” says Klein. “I felt connected to the women of NCCWSL.”

NCCWSL inspired Klein to “be fearless” and “go for it!” Hearing and connecting with all the women at the conference gave her the power to be confident, assured, and steadfast in utilizing her skills. “This means recommitting myself to these qualities in my current leadership roles as well as being confident, fierce, and fearless in accepting new leadership roles,” she explains. Now producing her university’s performance of The Vagina Monologues, Klein continues to put these tools to use.

NCCWSL was definitely a transformative experience for Klein, one that she highly recommends to other student women leaders. “Whether you are a new leader or an experienced one, NCCWSL can help you build leadership skills, think about leadership in new ways, and refresh your commitment to excellence,” she says. “Take advantage of any opportunity to attend the conference!”

So where will you be May 30–June 1? Take Kelsey’s advice:  Be fearless! Be inspired! Be transformed into a better leader, and make sure you register for NCCWSL 2013!

This post was written by AAUW Leadership Programs Intern Nzinga Shury.

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Inspired. That’s how I felt when I saw the large number of outstanding applications for the 2012–13 National Student Advisory Council. There are so many women leaders making a difference on college and university campuses across the country.

The 10 outstanding women selected for this year’s council come from a variety of backgrounds and have held a range of leadership positions on their campuses and beyond. Throughout the year, they will grow as AAUW ambassadors on their campuses and in their communities. They will also play an essential role in the planning and implementation of the 2013 National Conference for College Women Student Leaders.

2011-12 National Student Advisory Council members with the 2012 Women of Distinction

Meet the members of this year’s SAC:

  • Nanci Alanis is a junior majoring in psychology at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Alanis transferred from Elgin Community College, where she was involved with student government and was an officer for Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.
  • Maureen Evans Arthurs is a senior majoring in gender and women’s studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She is the project manager for her university’s Women Involved in Learning and Leadership program and was an AAUW Development intern from 2010 to 2011.
  • Maybellin Burgos is a junior majoring in computer science at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. She is president of both the Association of Computing Machinery-Women and Students and Technology in Academia, Research, and Service on her campus.
  • Kelly Kay Clark is a graduate student studying higher education administration at the University of Kansas. She is the assistant complex director of an all-women residence hall on campus and was Collegiate Panhellenic Council president when she was an undergraduate student at Texas A&M.
  • Bethany Imondi is a senior majoring in government and English at Georgetown University. She is president of the Georgetown Women in Politics student organization and is an intern at Emily’s List.
  • Natasha Mercado is a sophomore majoring in radiology technology at Bellevue College, where she designed a student club to support women entering the science and health care fields. She also volunteers at a local hospital.
  • Huong Nguyen is a junior majoring in psychology at Washington and Jefferson College. She is president and a founding member of the Diversity Programming Board and is a resident assistant in a first-year hall. She has held leadership positions in the Black Student Union and in student government.
  • Taaj Reaves is a senior majoring in journalism and political science at the University of Missouri. She is president of the AAUW student organization at the University of Missouri. Reaves also serves as a leadership adviser and study abroad student manager on campus.
  • Benita Robinson is a junior majoring in computer science and sociology at the University of Michigan, Dearborn. She is a founder of the AAUW student organization on her campus and is the student coordinator for the Women in Learning and Leadership program.
  • Samaura Stone is a graduate student studying social work at Portland State University. She has experience with political campaigns and has worked for a senator. She is the vice chair of the Oregon Commission on Black Affairs and has been a Multnomah County child advocate for several years.

As in past years, SAC members will write guest blog posts each week, so you will have a chance to read about their student leadership experiences and ideas. This year, all 10 SAC members are enrolled at AAUW college/university partner member schools.

Read more about the Student Advisory Council and our new members. If you want to get connected with one of these students in your state, please contact us.

This post was written by AAUW College/University Relationships Manager Christine Hernandez.

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Members of academic departments tend to stick together like peanut butter and jelly, forks and knives, or in my case, grants and early coffee trips. Students within the same major or minor usually connect during academic events, from poetry readings to trips to the forest to study the local fauna. At the start of my fall semester in 2011, there was only one other student in St. Mary’s College’s women’s studies program who had self-designed a major, which made my academic community quite sparse. Through the support of my women’s studies sidekick, Catherine Cleary, I was fortunate enough to learn about AAUW and hear firsthand about her wonderful experience on the National Student Advisory Council the previous year. Just a few weeks after submitting my application, I was thrilled to be selected as a member of the 2011–12 SAC.

Within the next month, amid my courses and the quickly approaching Thanksgiving break, I flew to Washington, D.C., to meet the nine other SAC members at our orientation. This weekend excursion created such excitement for a subject I already had great passion for. After the events on our packed itinerary — including my favorite stop, the Sewall-Belmont House — I returned to South Bend, Indiana, with even greater excitement for the upcoming year. Through weekly conference calls, writing blog posts for AAUW, and preparing for and participating in the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders, I got to know the other SAC members and the women at AAUW who helped us and kept us informed about opportunities throughout the year.

During my term on the SAC, I was given a plethora of opportunities, ideas, and programs to apply to my own campus and community. Teamed up with my academic sidekick, I successfully completed a Campus Action Project, which was based on AAUW´s research report Crossing the Line: Sexual Harassment at School, to draft a letter to the South Bend mayor asking for a declaration of Equal Pay Day and to hold a $tart $mart program on our campus. AAUW gave me a golden year of opportunity that I will forever appreciate. In addition to meeting amazing women like fair pay advocate Lilly Ledbetter and cartoonist Liza Donnelly and presenting our Campus Action Project at NCCWSL, I expanded my interests and strengthened my network of supportive women. I wholeheartedly encourage everyone to apply for the SAC — it was the most exciting and enjoyable year I have ever had. One of the best parts is that even though my term on the SAC is over, my connection and time with AAUW truly has just begun.

Applications for the 2012–13 National Student Advisory Council will be available on August 27 and are due September 30. Visit the SAC page to access the application, instructions, and information about qualifications. Students at AAUW college/university partner member institutions receive preference.

This post was written by former National Student Advisory Council member Laura Corrigan.

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This year’s National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL) was the largest in the event’s 27-year history and also one of the most diverse. This was my first time at NCCWSL, and I was surprised by the age range represented. After speaking to one of our older attendees during the Creating Safe Spaces workshop, I learned that she was returning to college and came to NCCWSL to find new ways to get involved on campus. 

A recent report from the National Center for Education Statistics showed a 43 percent increase in the number of students age 25 and older who enrolled in college from 2000 to 2009, and programs like NCCWSL can be an important part of these students’ success. Many schools are reaching out to women who are considering coming back to school, such as the It’s Your Turn program at Lake-Sumter Community College in Leesburg, Florida.

My older sister Binta is currently making strides at New York’s College of New Rochelle toward earning her degree in sociology after a 10-plus-year break. I shared with her my experience at NCCWSL and the impressive older students in attendance. She responded, “Going back to college after such a long hiatus, you lose a connection to how college life operates. Having programs and conferences that can teach you how to be successful in these places are always beneficial — besides, there is never a time to put an end to learning new leadership skills.”

After our conversation, I completely agreed. At age 34, going back to college could have been considered impossible, but my sister is living proof that it can be done. She inspires me on a daily basis — her drive, commitment, and hunger for knowledge have taught me that it is truly never too late and that learning has no age limit.

With a predicted increase in the number of older students who will be starting or returning to college, it’s important to realize that it is never too late to learn to lead. Students of all ages can benefit from experiences that expose them to different leadership styles and tactics. Because this clock never stops, students will enjoy NCCWSL whether they are 20 years of age or 50.

Do you know women who are returning to school? How are they anxious to learn and grow?

This post was written by AAUW Leadership Programs Intern Nzinga Shury.

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The 2012 National Conference for College Women Student Leaders is coming! In fact, it starts today. Are you prepared?

I started to panic the other day when I realized that NCCWSL will be the largest conference I’ve been to. I have never gathered with so many women leaders at one time! How can I make the most of this experience? AAUW National Student Advisory Council members are attending NCCWSL as volunteer leaders, and they provided some great tips for how to maximize your time at this one-of-a-kind conference.

Be open.

At NCCWSL, you will be surrounded by more than 550 women student leaders from all walks of life. Being yourself and being open to learning different things, meeting new people, and absorbing new ideas will help you make the most of this experience. Networking is a key benefit of gathering at NCCWSL, so be willing to open up and make connections with people. You never know what someone has to offer you or what you can offer her!

Be smart and selective.

Think carefully about which workshops you attend — choose the ones that best match your leadership skills. Be ready to network with the other participants and the speakers in the workshops, and follow up with them afterward. Do the workshops that you want to attend overlap? Talk with your fellow participants or other students from your school who make it to different sessions, and share what you learned with each other.

Do your research.

During our keynote speakers’ presentations and the Women of Distinction Awards ceremony, you will hear inspiring stories of how these women became the leaders they are today. Do your research on the speakers before the conference so that you know what you want to ask them when you have the opportunity to meet them in person. And find out what to bring and how to prepare by reading the NCCWSL Frequently Asked Questions.

These are just a few tips for a how to have a successful NCCWSL experience. If you’ve been to NCCSWL before, what suggestions do you have for 2012 attendees?

This post was written by AAUW Leadership Programs Intern Nzinga Shury.

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