NEW Leadership™ is a national nonpartisan program to educate college women about politics and leadership and encourage them to become effective leaders in the political arena.
Program Overview

Mississippi University for Women (The W) and the John C. Stennis Center for Public Service will present the fifth annual Mississippi N.E.W. Leadership program on May 22-26, 2017 on the W campus. 

The program brings together female college students from all eight public universities in the state, seven private colleges and community colleges. These young women examine the value that women bring to leadership positions in government and are encouraged to pursue leadership opportunities in government. Participants learn about women in politics, women's pathways to power, obstacles to women's leadership, attitudes toward women leaders, and strategies to encourage full participation and representation of women in political leadership.

Unfortunately, while many college women indicate an interest in public service and are active in community and volunteer organizations, they rarely consider a career in political life. Studies have shown that young women are significantly less likely than young men to be interested in politics or to view political involvement as a priority.  
Mississippi is the only southern state that has never sent a woman to Congress. The state ranks 47th in the nation in the percentage of women in the state legislature. (a paltry 14.4 percent). 
The goal of Mississippi N.E.W. Leadership is to educate and inspire a new generation of women to be leaders in government. The program teaches students to recognize the value of civic engagement and the importance of having women in positions of political leadership. Mississippi N.E.W. Leadership provides opportunities for college women to prepare for roles in public office and helps them develop the skills and confidence necessary to join the next generation of leaders at local, state and federal levels. 

Developing Leadership Skills
Many Mississippi N.E.W. leadership sessions are interactive workshops and hands-on exercises that encourage participants to practice their leadership skills. 

In practice, Mississippi N.E.W. Leadership is an intensive, five-day residential program during which participants: 
  1. engage with women in a variety of roles in government;
  2. learn about politics and policy-making and women's political participation;
  3. explore ideas about leadership;
  4. participate in hands-on, skill-building exercises. 
The program uses a variety of pedagogical techniques, including small and large group discussions, panel sessions with leaders, interactive workshops, and student-driven group projects. 

Addressing Issues of Diversity
Leadership in the 21st century will require the ability to work with diverse groups and constituencies. 

Each Mississippi N.E.W. Leadership class includes students from a wide range of racial, ethnic, educational, political and economic backgrounds. During the institute, students interact with people who have different ideas and life experiences. New Leadership provides students with a safe space  where they can respectfully address issues of diversity and discuss the difficulties associated with leadership in a diverse society. 

Spring Program

Participants are required to live in a residence hall at The W and may receive two hours of college credit in leadership for attending which can be transferred to their institution. Living together for this immersive, five-day program builds a sense of esprit de corps among the group and encourages a collegial, and often intense, interaction among a very diverse group of participants. 

Mississippi N.E.W. Leadership residential faculty (termed Faculty in Residence, or FIRs), who are women political leaders, agree to stay on campus with students for the duration of the program. This allows for an intensive learning and mentoring experience, not only among participants, but between participants and women political leaders. The learning experience extends beyond the scheduled program sessions as informal conversations continue over meals and in residence halls. During this time, participants are encouraged to share ideas, challenge opinions they heard during the day, and reflect in a way that might not occur in no-residential programs. 
Where are they now?

Jamie Aron - Class of 2013

A Mississippi State political science and mathematics double-major from Flowood was awarded the highly-coveted Harry S. Truman Scholarship in 2015.  Jamie Aron was the land-grant institution's 17th selection for what is widely considered the nation's most prestigious award for students committed to public service.

After attending NEWL, Jamie created and led MSU's first Women Empowered Leadership Conference. The five-day program encouraged female high school students to pursue higher education and become strong and impactful leaders on the community, state and national levels. She also has attended the Andi Leadership Institute for Young Women in Washington, D.C. The organization seeks to equip the next generation of global female peace builders to be community leaders.

Natalie Jones - Class of 2014

This Mississippi State University graduate earned the nation's most prestigious scholarship for students dedicated to public service.
Natalie Jones, an English and sociology double major from Flowood, was one of 54 students nationwide to be named a 2016 Harry S. Truman Scholar and the only one from Mississippi. She received her award in a ceremony May 29th at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence, Missouri.

Jones is currently pursuing a law degree, as well as a master's in public policy. She plans to dedicate her career to helping dismantle institutional and systemic injustices in society.

Leah Gibson - Class of 2016

Leah is a senior at the University of Mississippi majoring in Broadcast Journalism and minoring in English. 

She is a Chancellor's and Dean's Honor Roll Scholar, member of Gamma Beta Phi Honor Society, Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, and Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society. She has been involved in various organizations on campus and l ast fall, Leah was crowned Miss University and will compete in the 2017 Miss Mississippi Pageant. 

A note from Leah Gibson:

"The Mississippi N.E.W. Leadership experience is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity that I wish every young woman could take advantage of during her educational career.  I was never interested in politics, but I have always understood the importance of our democracy and how crucial it is that we have checks and balances in place.  During my time at NEWL, I met inspiring women that have devoted their lives to better not only their communities, but the state.  After learning about the lack of women and minority leader representation in politics, I decided to incorporate the tools I gained with my own college education. I have encouraged young women to run for campus positions on my campus and I was also able to share with them some of the techniques that I learned throughout the program to ensure that they would see the best results."

Application deadline is 
March 31, 2017.

The admissions process is competitive, and 
there is no fee to participate. 

For more information email or call 662.241.6101

Mississippi N.E.W. Leadership Staff

Bridget Smith Pieschel, Director
Center for Women's Research and Public Policy
Mississippi University for Women
1100 College Street, Orr Annex, MUW-269
Columbus, MS 39701

Melinda Lowe, Director
Outreach & Innovation
Mississippi University for Women
1100 College Street, MUW-1635
Columbus, MS 39701

Andrea Myles, Program Assistant
Stennis Center for Public Service
1 Research Boulevard, Suite 104
Starkville, MS 39759

Jenn Gregory, Program Director
Stennis Center for Public Service
1 Research Boulevard, Suite 104
Starkville, MS 39759