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East Central University student Newakis Girdley has been selected to participate in the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute on May 17-21 in Norman.

Girdley, a junior political science major from Ada, is among 36 women who represent outstanding undergraduate leadership from across the state of Oklahoma. N.E.W. Leadership draws students from a variety of colleges and universities. ECU has sent at least one woman every year that the program has been in existence, according to Dr. Christine Pappas, of the ECU Department of Political Science and Legal Studies.
The mission of the Women’s Leadership Initiative is to educate, inspire and empower women to become political leaders. The Women’s Leadership Initiative accomplished this mission through a series of educational initiatives designed specifically for women in Oklahoma, which includes its signature program, N.E.W. Leadership.
At the institute, Girdley will have the opportunity to network with Oklahoma’s top political, business, and nonprofit leaders during the five-day residential at no expense. Throughout the week, participants will engage in panel discussions, action projects, and will examine current issues that affect women in the state of Oklahoma.
“I am so excited and thankful for the opportunity to meet other women that are also seeking leadership roles in their community,” Girdley said. “I couldn’t be more grateful for my professors in the Political Science Department of East Central for providing me with the information and education that gained me acceptances into this institute. I am hopeful that there will be a continued involvemtn of East Central women participating in this organization.”
Now in its 12th year, the N.E.W. Leadership has graduated over 330 young women leaders as Girdley will be among those institute alumnae at the completion of the institute.
“N.E.W. Leadership complements the commitment of the Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center to promoting greater understanding of our institutions of representative democracy and citizenship engagement at all levels,” said Cindy Simon Rosenthal, director and curator of center.
Oklahoma has long ranked 49th in the nation for women serving in the state legislature and are
historically underrepresented in all levels of public service and elective office in the state. N.E.W.
Leadership seeks to change this by educating, encouraging and inspiring young women to consider careers in public service.

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