National Conference for College Women Student Leaders

AAUW Laguna Beach 2017 NCCWSL Recipients

AAUW Laguna Beach Scholarship Winners

Jillian Broughton, Laguna College of Art + Design (LCAD), and

Rebecca Higginbotham, Orange Coast College (OCC), review the

2017 National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL)

 Jillian Broughton (LCAD)

I had a great time at NCCWSL and I am so grateful to AAUW Laguna Beach to have had the opportunity to attend.  At the end of the conference I felt like I had learned so much and I am excited to begin applying some of what I learned to my campus back home.

I loved all of my workshops.  My favorites were “From a March to a Movement: Learn How to Ignite Activism on Your Campus” and “The Next Generation of Campus Activism: Collaborate for Change”. These two in particular were extremely helpful as they gave me concrete steps for starting something on campus, explaining how to be successful and inclusive. I took the most away from these and they helped me begin my plans for next semester. 

I also enjoyed the Women of Distinction Awards Ceremony and met some awesome women who empowered and motivated me to be more active on campus. I was especially inspired by Danielle Feinberg, the Director of Photography for Pixar. She spoke about women in STEM and her personal challenges as a woman in a male dominated field. I spoke with her at the reception after her speech. She told me she knew of LCAD and was glad to see the school represented at NCCWSL. She gave me great advice as a women going into the workforce and I was super grateful to have the chance to meet and speak with her. I also loved our keynote speaker Melissa Harris – Perry who had some great things to say about the gender wage gap.

Overall I had a wonderful time and felt as though I learned a ton, not just from the teachers and speakers but from my peers and the friends I made when attending. My roommate at the event was an international student from Kazakhstan. Hearing about the issues she faced in her own country’s education system was eye opening and gave me new perspectives on our own education system in America. Leaving the conference I have more specific goals and a better sense of direction for my work on campus. I think I will be able to take so much of what I have learned and be able to use it to make new and better spaces for students at LCAD.

Thanks so much again AAUW Laguna Beach for this opportunity! I learned so much at the conference and I can’t wait to share it. 

Rebecca Higginbotham, OCC

Thank you AAUW Laguna Beach! Being able to attend NCCWSL was such a wonderful and eye opening experience. From the minute I met my roommate, I knew that I was in a place surrounded by like-minded women dedicated to furthering their own education but with the desire to really make a difference in their communities and the world.

The opening session was inspiring. At one point the MC asked if being a woman in STEM can seem discouraging and how. Hearing the responses from other women from all across the nation who experienced the same sense of isolation and harsh criticism that I have faced raised me out of the “blues” I’ve been experiencing for this past semester.

The workshops were awesome. My favorite was “Inner Power: The Quiet Strengths of an Introverted Woman.” As someone who does not normally love the limelight, it really helped me understand better how to practice leadership. I also enjoyed “The Next generation of Campus Activism: Collaborate for Change.“ That workshop was centered around learning the different tips and techniques used across campuses in starting, maintaining, and empowering an AAUW student group. I was able to take so much information and can’t wait to get started in forming an AAUW chapter on the Orange Coast College campus.

The Women of Distinction awards was beautiful I cried after hearing Crystal Valentine speak one of her poems. At every turn there were these incredible women, in the crowd with me, and on stage, and each one was there to create a community. In every aspect and around each corner of the conference, I felt supported and empowered to continue my dedication to my education and serving my community. It was the best opportunity to network and gain insight into the climate of campuses far removed from my own and really connect and bond with several women with whom I have been able to keep in contact. Building those relationships and keeping the fire lit is ingrained into the culture of NCCWSL and now this has sparked a fire in me. 

The last day of the conference we were given the chance to meet with the National Student Advisory Council members. I met Linh Ahn Cat from UCI, who offered to have coffee and discuss how to bring AAUW to OCC. I also met Sanah Jivani, from the University of Texas San Antonio, who spoke with me at length about the roles and responsibilities of being on the ten woman National Student Council. She also offered to lend support, reading my application and essay to apply to the incoming National Student Council that will assist in planning NCCWSL 2018.

I am so thankful to have been given such a huge opportunity to take part in this conference. It is a wonderful feeling to know that I am supported by a huge “squad” of women and that we will continue to speak up and fight for the rights of ourselves, our daughters and every girl. There’s a lot of work left to do and I can’t wait to get started.