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Confessions of a NCCWSL Devotee

By Theresa Hice – For the third year in a row I will attend the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL), an annual event hosted by the American Association of University Women (AAUW). Each year has given me different things, from a passion for AAUW’s mission to the encouragement I needed to lead my AAUW student organization.

with the 2015–16 National Student Advisory Council (SAC)

I first heard about NCCWSL after joining Lock Haven University’s AAUW student organization. There I learned about the benefits of NCCWSL and its promise of providing an energetic space to network with like-minded students and learn valuable leadership skills. I was initially unable to afford the registration cost, but thanks to an AAUW scholarship, I was officially on my way.

The 2015 conference proved to be a game-changer for me. The activities motivated me to be a better leader and activist, and I encountered people of all kinds: optimists, fighters, intellectuals, artists, thinkers, and doers. I had the chance to attend empowering workshops and meet amazing student leaders, Women of Distinction Award recipients, and members who encouraged me to apply to be an SAC member. Later that year I was accepted as an SAC member and had the opportunity to attend NCCWSL again — this time working behind the scenes with AAUW national staff.

with Franchesca Ramsey

The following NCCWSL was also a special event for me because I was able to attend with nine other Lock Haven students as well as my faculty advisers. I recruited students by showing the NCCWSL promotional video at various student club meetings, posting flyers around campus, and promoting NCCWSL during the classes of a few professors who reserved time for me to do so. Five fellow attendees from my school received national and state AAUW scholarships while another four successfully requested university funding from our student organization’s budget. With the help of our local AAUW branch, we were able to pay for every Lock Haven student’s travel costs. I am thankful that such a wonderful group of people was able to attend what I believe is the preeminent leadership conference in the country.

In 2017 I will attend NCCWSL again — but this time I will be there in a new capacity. A former NCCWSL attendee, former SAC member, and current AAUW intern, I am now part of the team working to make NCCWSL 2017 the best yet.

I encourage everyone interested in crushing the patriarchy, breaking out of gender norms, strong leadership, equity, and intersectionality to go to NCCWSL. It changed my life — and I’m confident that it will change yours, too.


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By:    February 13, 2017