This past summer was the National Education for Women’s (NEW) Leadership Pennsylvania. According to its website, the conference addressed the “under–representation of women in the political arena by focusing on the role of women in politics and policy making in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”
The summer program was hosted by Chatham University in Pittsburgh.
The program took place over the span of a week and hosted approximately 35 students from across Pennsylvania, talking to state legislators about women in politics.
The NEW Leadership is a part of a larger network that was developed by the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University located in New Brunswick, N.J.
Jeffery Bloodworth, Ph.D, program director and professor in the history department at Gannon University, said that the program is a way for female students to network and find opportunities for thousands of lucrative jobs in Pennsylvannia that may not be as straightforward for other students.
The three Gannon students who went to this year’s conference were Kara Purpura, Calley Palicia and Jana Fox. This is the greatest number of students that Gannon has sent to the conference, Bloodworth said.
The young women spent the time building healthy relationships with politics and the program also empowers women to pursue a career in politics.
Purpura, a sophomore history major, said the program “has motivated me to seriously consider running for office in the future. This program forced me to expand my comfort zone and be more outgoing and engaged in campus activities.”
Every year the program has a keynote speaker for the “Women in Public Leadership Keynote Address” and this year’s address was given by Dr. Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania’s secretary of health. Laura Ellsworth of Jones Day gave an address during the conference; Jones Day was named the first Partner-in-Charge of Global Community Service Initiatives, spearheading the firm’s rule of law initiatives around the world, according to the Jones Day website.
“We listened to multiple different panels and Q&A’s throughout the week given by Pennsylvania representatives and politicians,” Purpura said. “A number of these panels were followed by networking sessions with the inspiring female politicians.”
The practioner-in-residence for 2018 was two women, Mayor Marita Garrett of Wilkinsburg, who served from 2014-2018, and former Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak, who represented Pittsburgh’s Fourth District from 2010-2017.
The conference is an opportunity for female students to network and meet people in their local governments and find out what potential career they will have once they graduate from Gannon University.
For information regarding the conference, contact Bloodworth at email@example.com.
By AMY BENKOVICH