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Undergraduate Women's Leadership Institute

Two Mansfield University students attended the 27th Annual PASSHE Undergraduate Women's Leadership Institute at the McKeever Environmental Learning Center in Sandy Lake, PA from Saturday June 6, 2015 through Wednesday, June 10, 2015.Riley Thomas and Kayla Hackett were selected to participate in the institute by the President's Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) and the Office of Student Life.The Leadership Institute for Undergraduate Women provides a forum for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education to nurture the leadership potential of women students. It creates an experience that empowers women as leaders, challenges women to realize their full potential as leaders, and connects women with other women who are committed to social change.

Thomas and Hackett are expected to develop a campus project during the next academic year to practice skills learned at the institute and advocate on the behalf of women. This project will be supervised by the chair of PCSW, Dr. Gretchen Sechrist.

Quote from Dr. Gretchen Sechrist - "We (PCSW) were thrilled to send Riley and Kayla to the PASSHE Undergraduate Women's Leadership Institute, and I look forward to mentoring their campus project. Last year, Katelyn Gavin and Angelica King attended the institute and on March 25 completed "Project Equality". This successful campus project involved more than 450 students, faculty, and staff wearing t-shirts stating "Mansfield University, This is What A Feminist Looks Like" on the front and "Feminism: The Belief That Everyone Should Be Treated Equally" on the back. Gavin and King developed the t-shirts and organized the event during Women's History Month. We have high expectations for Riley and Kayla this year."

Information from Kayla Hackett (Major: Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting):

"The Undergraduate Leadership Institute was phenomenal! Quite honestly, there are no words to even describe how great my experience was at McKeever. The other women that participated were fantastic and I never thought that there would be such an instant connection between all 24 like there was. We shared many personal stories and we all connected on such a person and spiritual level. Going into this, I had no idea what to really expect, but I do know that it was nothing like I thought it would be. I am so very thankful that I was accepted to attend this Institute. I wish I could put my experience into words, but the whole experience evolved into a personal emotion and feeling, and there are no words to describe it. I would highly recommend it to other women on campus though. Not only did I meet other women here, but I made many friends/sisters and became part of an amazing and accepting sisterhood.

I want to take the time to thank you very much for accepting me to attend this amazing event. There is nothing in this world that I would ever trade this experience for."

Information From Riley Thomas (Major: English;Minors: Women's Studies and African-American Studies):

"First of all I want to thank you and the rest of the panel that selected me to attend the Institute and the University for paying for me to attend. I believe this experience was truly a once in a lifetime deal;at the Institute not only were we able to develop ourselves as leaders through activities such as the Pace Palette and various panels, we were able to develop ourselves on a professional level, and a personal level. I learned so much from each woman at this event and am ready to bring back what I learned to help give Mansfield University the projects it deserves. Along with all of the professional development I gained through this opportunity, the personal growth I experienced and the relationships I built in this time are unbelievable;I have built friendships that will last a lifetime. Throughout the five days we discussed the importance and necessity of feminism in the world and how we can bring it back to our campus's and be leaders there. The McKeever Environmental Center's Trails were hiked on our free time and one day at camp our group even chipped a trail so that we could give back to our hosts. The Women's Leadership Institute was a five day conference that gave me more than I could have ever imagined;it was a one of a kind and truly life changing event and I am so grateful for this opportunity."


PCSW - Leadership Institute1    PCSW - Leadership Institute2