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November 9 and 10, Dr. Amanda Beal and Dr. Jamie Gianoutsos had the distinct pleasure of taking ten Mount female students to the Training Ms. President (TMP) workshop at Hood College. These students were chosen for their intelligence, civic mindedness, and leadership qualities, with the hope that they might one day consider running for public office. Our students joined 30 other students from Hood College, Washington College, and Goucher College for the workshop.

“It was so empowering to see women setting aside partisan biases to build one another up and address the issues we all face as women.” –Hannah Opdenaker C’18

TMP6The Training Ms. President program seeks to address the gender gap in elected representation. Research suggests that the role model effect can aid in decreasing the ambition gap – i.e., connecting these young women with female politicos and politicians increases the likelihood that they will run for an elected position. Training Ms. President was launched in 2015 by universities and colleges affiliated with the Maryland Independent College and University Association (MICUA).

“The experience was incredibly valuable because it gave me the opportunity to network with media correspondents, political consultants, and state and local politicians in a bipartisan environment.”   -Alexandra Johnson C’18

During the Thursday evening presentation, the students heard a keynote address from Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner, who encouraged them to identify an issue and begin “seizing their power” through advocacy and political involvement. During the Friday event, the students heard from two panels of politicos, journalists, and elected officials about the process of campaigning, working with the media, and getting involved in politics.

“The women who had spoken to us had a great wealth of knowledge. They talked about hardships they faced as women and gave us tips on how to navigate those challenges and be successful.” –Sara Wright C’18TMP5

Next year, for the first time, Mount St. Mary’s University will host the Training Ms. President workshop. We will welcome 40-50 undergraduate women, 7 female politicians, and 6 politicos to campus to continue our work to diminish the ambition gap for women in politics by encouraging our best-suited female students to run for public office.

“Truth be told, the United States needs more empathetic and compassionate leaders. It also needs politicians with more diverse backgrounds, and women are able to offer all of this.” –Courtney Twigg C’17

TMP3“Women are deemed legally equal, but in reality we still face hardships based on our gender. Truly, the only way we can overcome those hardships is to band together and take the world by storm.” –Abigail Cottrill C’18