University of La Verne’s History and Political Science Department recently sponsored four current students to attend the NEW Leadership Conference for Women in Politics, hosted at Scripps College.
“The NEW Leadership Conference helped me realize the importance of civic engagement not despite the fact that I’m a woman, but because of the fact that I’m a woman. It also provided me with a close-knit network of strong female peers with a variety of ages, interests, and ethnicities with whom to network and cement a foundation for which to build upon later in life, ” said MaryAnne Mendoza, a senior political science and speech communication major.
The six-day summer institute, which took place June 16-21, welcomed 30 undergraduate women from colleges and universities throughout Southern California. From meeting inspiring women who have helped shape public policy to participating in interactive workshops aimed at developing leadership skills, women were exposed to a diverse group of constituencies who challenged them to become “agents of change.”
All four students are returning to La Verne in the fall and are interested in continuing their work with the program. One of La Verne’s attendees, Noelle Cozbar, a senior political science and speech communication major, has ambitions to host next year’s conference on campus.
“These are exceptional students and seem to have made a big impression with the organizers of the conference. I believe we also had the largest contingency of students,” said Jason Neidleman, professor of political science and the department chair.
The NEW Leadership program was developed by the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) to address the underrepresentation of women in American politics, and provides students with a safe space where they can respectfully address issues of diversity and discuss the difficulties associated with leadership in a diverse society.
“The NEW Leadership Conference for Women in Politics can be defined as eye-opening. The topics discussed, issues debated, and people met all attributed to the wonderful experience I had at NEW,” said Yasmine Andrawis, a sophomore political science major.
“This program inspired me to take on a leadership role as a legislative intern at the California State Assembly. I entered this conference with no idea what to do in politics and left with the drive to pursue a career in legislation and bill writing,” said Katherine Hall, senior political science and speech communication major. “All in all, it was an amazing experience in which I expanded my network, sharpened my leadership skills, and furthered my passion for political participation.”
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