NEW Leadership Texas Program application opens to undergraduate women

Madelyn Reiter

Undergraduate women can spend a week this summer learning about political leadership through the National Education for Women Leadership Texas Program, which is now accepting online applications.

The non-partisan program, hosted annually at UT by the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, brings Texas women together during a six-day residential summer program to educate them on how politics shape their daily lives and to encourage them to take an active role in politics. The program teaches attendees how to lead through public speaking, conflict resolution and advocacy workshops, according to the program’s website.

“The main goal is (to) get more women into the public sphere, to get them more involved in their communities, to bring out their activist side or advocacy interests, and ultimately to run for office,” program coordinator Nancy Ewert said.

The program provides women with a supportive network in addition to leadership skills, Ewert said.

“It was amazing to meet all these women who have all these great ideas and who are doing great things,” said Diani Guyton, a sociology senior who has previously attended the NEW Leadership Texas Program. “We had the chance to talk with presenters, and were even given business cards to help us network and promote ourselves.”

Ewert said former participants have used skills and networking from the program to become strong leaders in their communities, from interning in Washington D.C. to running for city councils. One past participant organized the Women’s March in El Paso on Saturday, Ewert said.

Participants come from diverse socioeconomic, political, ethnic and educational backgrounds. Past attendees have included non-traditional students, women of color and first-generation students. Students from different schools and with different majors are accepted. Ewert said although participants are diverse, they all have one commonality: leadership potential.

“I’m interested in applying,” nutrition sophomore Emily Levin said. “I’m not a political science major, but I can see myself becoming active in government and advocating for stricter food regulations and, more generally, better nutrition policies.”

The online application closes on April 15. Interested students must submit two letters of recommendation and try to find a sponsorship within their college to cover the $500 program fee. Thirty-five to 40 students are expected to be admitted to the program, which will run from May 31 to June 5.