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Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO) alumna Destiny Bridgeman recently attended the virtual National Education for Women’s (N.E.W) Leadership program through the Carl Albert Center at the University of Oklahoma (OU). Bridgeman, a recent graduate from Grove, Okla., was selected through a competitive application process and spent five days engaging in virtual workshops, collaborative projects, and networking. “My favorite part was hearing powerful women use their voices to empower future generations to pursue leadership positions and take action,” said Bridgeman. “We must raise the voices of women to ensure that democracy is functioning as effectively as possible.”

Women make up just over a quarter of nationwide political representation and Oklahoma ranks in the bottom ten states for percentage of women in state legislatures. In order to encourage undergraduate women to get involved in the policymaking process, the award-winning N.E.W Leadership program was established in Oklahoma as part of a national network. Only about 30 women are selected for the annual institute and Bridgeman joined the over 500 women from 40 college and universities, and eight tribal nations to become graduates of the program.

“I have volunteered on campaigns, ran voter registration booths, and organized rallies in our areas. The NEW Leadership program offered an abundance of information, advice, and support on how to be successful in these pursuits,” added Bridgeman. “[NEO Instructor] Dr. Seonae Ha-Birdsong was the first person to introduce me to the program, something I am very thankful for.” To find out more information about the N.E.W. Leadership program, contact Dr. Seonae Ha-Birdsong at sbirdsong@neo.edu.


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