Since 2009, Maine NEW Leadership’s summer institutes at the University of Maine have attracted 78 students from 24 colleges and universities. The program provides leadership education for college-age women, including training in public speaking, coalition building, networking, advocacy and running for office. Throughout the six-day residential experience, participants rub elbows with some of the state’s — and the nation’s — most influential women. Because of this program, UMaine is at the forefront of women’s leadership education in the state.
Mary Callaway, a UMaine senior from Old Town, Maine, majoring in women’s studies and sociology, shares her experience in NEW Leadership:
Why were you interested in NEW Leadership for women?
I wanted to learn more about political leadership, and learn new techniques and skills for influencing policy.
What did you gain through the program and how has that shaped who you are today?
I learned a lot about working with people who have a variety of perspectives. Once I graduate from college, I’m pretty sure I’ll encounter many people who do not share my political opinions. It’s great to have learned skills for negotiating and crafting arguments that can really work.
Tell us about the leadership skills you developed as a NEW Leadership participant and how they manifest themselves in your day-to-day life.
The program made me more aware of the variety of our experiences and how we have come to hold the beliefs that we have. I’ve tried to remember this throughout my political discussions and try my best to see where people are coming from, even if I don’t agree with them.