The National Education for Women’s Leadership Institute will be held May 16 through 20 on the campus of the University of Oklahoma. The institute is for women who are interested in politics and helping the community, said Lauren Schueler, N.E.W. Leadership assistant director.
“… The institute is for women [who] are politically minded … ,” Schueler said.
“We’re looking for people who are looking to go into some kind of public service or non-profit work — something that’s going to be of benefit [to] the public.”
Schueler said the N.E.W. institute brings in around 50 women leaders from all over the state to provide students with insight about their future careers.
“So, it’s a lot of networking for young women with elected officials, women that are working in the non-profit sector, business, lawyers, all kinds of things like that,” she said.
The women also will participate in skill-building activities, such as learning their strengths, Schueler said. She said students can learn how to form an effective team by learning what they are good at and what others can help with.
“One of the skill building workshops [is] … they do a strengths finder … and [learn] how you build a team around having various strengths and working to put people on your team that have different strengths than you, so you have a very well-rounded team,” she said.
Schueler said students will collaborate on running a mock campaign.
“The students are split up into two teams and they actually get to see what it’s like to do the logistics of running a campaign, not necessarily being the candidate, but working on the field team, working with a budget for a campaign, doing the communication work, putting out press releases, and getting the message out there, speech writing — all of those things that kind of factor into a campaign,” she said.
Schueler said the institute also allows students to participate in an action project, which requires them to choose an important issue in politics, such as education reform, teen pregnancy and female incarceration.
However, she said, the ultimate project for the institute is when the students get to participate in a mock senate hearing.
“We give them a house or senate bill from the state legislature, and they have to work through that … . The ultimate project is to present their side in front of a mock senate hearing, advocating for their side, or saying why they oppose the bill.”
Although the institute provides opportunity to grow personally and educationally, Schueler said it also provides professional growth for students.
Networking is a huge part of the N.E.W. Institute, she said. The women all stay together, which allows them to get to know one another and make connections that could change their futures.
“We rent the Alpha Phi house here at OU, and we all stay together at the Alpha Phi house for the five-day period.
Schueler said the program is not the easiest to get into. She said more and more women apply every year, but only 35 are accepted.
“We accept approximately 35 undergraduate women from all over the state of Oklahoma, so it’s really any undergraduate woman, any major,” she said “It doesn’t matter if they’re non-traditional students, just that they’re enrolled in an undergraduate program at a two-year institution or a four-year institution in the state.”
The application can be found on the N.E.W. Leadership website at www.ou.edu/carlalbertcenter/leadership/newl-about.
Schueler said besides basic information, applicants are required to submit a résumé and must answer three short essays, all less than 350 words. Applications are due Friday, March 14.
The institute is free for those accepted. Students will only need to pay for their transportation to the OU campus, Schueler said. She urges students to apply for the N.E.W. institute.
“I think student should take advantage of this opportunity, because it’s a fantastic opportunity to not only work with powerful women from all over the state of Oklahoma, but also to network with future leaders that they could potentially work with when they move on to their career in the future, “ she said.
Schueler said it’s a great opportunity for students to lay groundwork early.
“[It helps them] springboard into their careers.”
To fill out the application, or for more information, visit www.ou.edu/carlalbertcenter/leadership/newl-about or contact Schueler at 405-325-4934.