In order to encourage empowerment for young women to become social and political leaders, Boise State will be offering scholarships for a select group of undergraduate women to attend the National Education for Women’s (NEW) Leadership Idaho conference.
The scholarship was introduced to Associated Students of Boise State University’s (ASBSU) Student Assembly on Monday, Feb. 13. Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of NEW Leadership Idaho, Lori Hausegger, along with NEW alumni Alexandra Taylor, presented the idea which passed unanimously and is now ready to be distributed to applicants.
As stated by Hausegger, women are less inclined than men to run for office or hold a position of leadership. The objective of NEW is to change this line of thinking.
“The biggest problem—especially for women—is they always underestimate themselves or always think they’re not quite ready,” Hausegger said. “I say, if you’re interested, just go for it.”
Funded by donors and the university, the scholarship will allow students to meet in Boise in May for a program centered around network building, leadership skills and the role of women in politics. Participants will have a chance to meet with local leaders, including government officials, legislators, media and more.
“They get a lot of exposure to people in the business,” Hausegger said while highlighting the opportunity for networking and establishing relationships with people in students’ desired fields.
At NEW Leadership Idaho, students work with a local bill—which has not yet passed—and are assigned to pro or con parties, political committees or media teams for the duration of the week. Mentors, who are typically local leaders, help each group grapple with the bill. At the end of the week, a presentation is hosted at the Idaho State Capitol Building where a mock press conference is held. After that they move into committee where the pro and con teams to each argue their cases.
“It’s meant to take the fear out of (leadership) and to get people familiar with how the processes work and how you can get involved,” Hausseger said.
The requirements for the scholarship are minimal, according to Hausegger. Applicants must be enrolled in a university or college in Idaho, or be an Idaho resident going to school elsewhere. There are no major requirements—any field of study is welcome.
The scholarship will cover the week’s expenses for the participant— housing, food and activities from May 21 through May 27.
This is an opportunity for young Idahoans to explore fields of leadership and gain field experience. For ASBSU Vice President Jade Donnelly, that is critically important.
“Encouraging women to take part in political conversations, movements and careers is incredibly important—I can’t stress that enough,” Donnelly said. “If we can help encourage women, we will do everything in our power to get them involved.”
More information on the National Education for Women’s Leadership Idaho and an open application form are available online at NEW Leadership Idaho’s page on Boise State’s website.