LEAD Scholars Academy, Women’s Studies Program, Center for Success of Women Faculty, and American Association of University Women gathered women from across campus for the 4th annual Elect Her – Campus Women Win! Conference. The Elect Her conference is a nationwide initiative and collaboration between the American Association of University Women and Running Start that encourages and trains college women to run for student government and future political office.

The five-hour training aims to help women leaders prepare to run a successful student government campaign. The students practiced hands-on campaign skills, heard from inspiring local speakers, and discussed research on women in government. One speaker, Linda Kobert, Orange County School Board, shared that much of the success from her campaign came from her focus on the issues and the passion that drove her to run. A LEAD Scholar alumna Jessica Gottsleben spoke about how Elect Her contributed to her success in student government and has led to her current position as a Congressional Fellow.

“Elect Her brought me a new respect for females in politics. This conference, as a whole, gave me more confidence in my ability to lead,” said Elizabeth Riik, a student who participated. “I was raised to think that females are too emotional to be good leaders and that I should think more like a male but I learned that it is okay for a leader to have feminine aspects.”

The Elect Her conference will be held at fifty campuses in 2016. Their research has shown that 75 percent of students who participated in 2015 and ran for student government, subsequently won their campaign. With 56 percent of women in the current U.S. Congress starting leadership careers in student government, Elect Her plays an important role in encouraging and preparing women to participate in politics.