The Otterbein Women's Leadership Net (The NET) offers university women a portal to an intergenerational network of community women who will serve as both mentors and partners as students begin to examine possible pathways to leadership.
For students, the journey begins with Otterbein President Kathy Krendl's Women and Leadership course, a first-year seminar punctuated with panel discussions each week by local women leaders who share their life strategies and help students understand how to navigate and negotiate gendered social, cultural and political obstacles.
After completing the course, the students, named Miller-Winter Scholars after Otterbein's first two women graduates, transition into leadership roles on campus, co-designing new signature community service programs with local girls, coordinating special women-focused events, and serving as interns and apprentices at local women's organizations.
Scholars facilitate Girl's Clubs at a local middle school, engaging 'tweens in "girltalk" about self-esteem, body image, friendships, politics, work, and other topics identified as important to the girls. The 'tweens journal after every session, writing letters tot he obstacles in their lives and creating 'zine pages to provide advice to other 'tweens who are experiencing similar challenges in their lives.
If you are interested in joining the Otterbein Women's Leadership NET as
a community partner, internship site, or friend, please contact Dr.
Melissa Kesler Gilbert at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As part of the mentoring program, college students (protégés) are matched with local women leaders (mentors) from the corporate and non-profit sector. In January 2012, these women came together for the first time during a casual networking event to talk about their role models, what it meant to them to be a protégé or a mentor, talk about their plans for the future, share secrets, and plan activities that they can do together throughout the year.
Other upcoming events for the initiative include Otterbein's Women and the New American Dream Summit on March 9-10. The summit is a call to action for all of us who are committed to ensuring that women and girls have multiple opportunities to create a NEW American Dream where they can succeed, flourish, and re-imagine their futures. Miller-Winter Scholars are helping to coordinate this event, are presenting at strategy sessions, and will participate in the summit's Student Leadership Institute, Hunger Banquet, World Café, and Town Hall. Registration is now open for the summit. For more information, visit the website at www.otterbein.edu/opportunitynation.