High school women at MSU for second leadership conference

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

Dean Sharon Oswald of Mississippi State's College of Business is among speakers this week for the university's second Women Empowered Leadership Conference.
Dean Sharon Oswald of Mississippi State's College of Business is among speakers this week for the university's second Women Empowered Leadership Conference.
Photo by: Beth Wynn

STARKVILLE, Miss.--Nearly 30 rising high school juniors and seniors from Mississippi, Alabama, Michigan, Missouri and Tennessee are at Mississippi State this week for the university's second Women Empowered Leadership Conference.

"The WE Lead Conference brings together young women who have the potential to become great leaders and gives them the skills they need to make the best possible impact on their communities and in their future careers," said Roxanne L. "Roxie" Raven, conference coordinator.

A junior political science/pre-law major, Raven is an MSU Presidential Scholar and Shackouls Honors College member from Okemos, Michigan.

Raven said the young women are hearing from a wide variety of speakers on career options, especially those in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) career fields.

Guest speakers from MSU include Sharon Oswald, College of Business dean; economics professor Meghan Millea and current MSU-Meridian interim administrative dean; Carmen Wilder, assistant director of student leadership and community engagement; and Sarah Lee, assistant clinical professor in the computer science and engineering department. They are being joined by Wendy Putt, owner of Fresh Cut Catering and Floral in Flowood.

In addition to the presentations and small group projects, participants are taking part in an etiquette dinner, Girl Scout service project and Sanderson Center self-defense class, among other activities.

Undergraduate counselors include Kylie A. Dennis of Lakeland, Tennessee, a senior English major; Morgan Hydrick of Brandon, a sophomore English major; Sarah B. Poppelreiter of Saltillo, a senior political science major; Alivia P. Roberts of Shannon, a sophomore communication/broadcasting major; Taylor M. Trippe of Biloxi, a May magna cum laude biological engineering graduate; Melissa Weitzel of Gulfport, a sophomore political science major; and Feifei Zeng of Starkville, a senior international business major.

Graduate counselors are Jessica A. Arends, an MSU master's degree student in applied anthropology, and Ashley A. Baker, a sociology doctoral student and gender studies program assistant.

Senior Jamie A. Aron of Flowood, who organized last summer's inaugural conference, joined Raven in expressing gratitude for continued support from the university's Shackouls Honors College, Office of the Provost, Richard E. Holmes Cultural Diversity Center and College of Business.

"We appreciate private donations given throughout the year to WE Lead through the MSU Foundation, all of which provide impactful leadership experiences for our nation's youth," added Aron, a political science and mathematics double-major named earlier this year as a national Harry S. Truman Scholar.

This year's participants--and their respective high schools--include (by hometown):

ANDALUSIA, Alabama--Linsey Smithart of Pleasant Home School.

BARTLETT, Tennessee--Christian Thomas of Tipton-Rosemark Academy.

BESSEMER, Alabama--Erin Burchfield of Oak Grove High School.

BRANDON--Ayanna Day of Brandon High School.

CALHOUN CITY--Shadaria Coffey of Calhoun City High School.

CANTON--Joinay Watts of Germantown High School.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Missouri--Caroline Schott of Notre Dame Regional High School.

DYERSBURG, Tennessee--Erin Rausch of Dyersburg High School.

ENTERPRISE, Alabama--Kinsley Morgan of Enterprise High School.

GULFPORT--Anna Lacy Sellers of Gulfport High School.

HONORAVILLE, Alabama--Haley Ward of Highland Home High School.

INDIANOLA--Khristian Blancher of Gentry High School.

JACKSON, Michigan--Hanna Holthaus of Notre Dame Regional High School.

MACON--Zyarria Smith of Noxubee County High School.

MADISON--Corbin Spencer of Germantown High School.

MILLINGTON, Tennessee--Anna Hailer of Tipton-Rosemark Academy.

MONTGOMERY, Alabama--Savannah Snowden of LAMP High School.

MUNFORD, Tennessee--Kathleen "Kate" Parchman of Tipton-Rosemark Academy.

RIDGELAND--Krishna Desai of Madison-Ridgeland Academy.

ROLLING FORK--Christan Coleman of South Delta High School.

SMITHS, Alabama--Ashley Claridy of Smiths Station High School.

STARKVILLE--Carly Beth Cappleman of Starkville High School.

STONEVILLE--Cecilia Trotter of St. Joseph Catholic High School.

SYLACAUGA, Alabama--Angelia Fields of B.B. Comer Memorial High School.

TUNICA--Keara Jones of the Mississippi School of the Arts.

TUSCALOOSA, Alabama--Maya Turner of Hillcrest High School.

VESTAVIA HILLS, Alabama--Madeline Lorino of Vestavia Hills High School.

For more conference details, see facebook.com/WE Lead: Mississippi-State-University, twitter.com/msu_welead and instagram.com/msu_welead. Raven may be reached at rlr296@msstate.edu.

MSU, the Magnolia State's flagship research university, is online at msstate.edu, meridian.msstate.edu, facebook.com/msstate, instagram.com/msstate and twitter.com/msstate, using hashtag #WeRingTrue.