WomenNC is pleased in honor of its 10th anniversary to announce the 2018-2019 cohort of 10 passionate, powerful local college and university students who will take part in the Juanita M. Bryant UN CSW Leadership Training Program. The 2018-2019 CSW Scholars hail from Bennett College, Duke University, NC State University, and UNC Chapel Hill. Encouraging young leaders to join us in our work, WomenNC’s CSW Student Leadership Program is a unique opportunity for students to research a specific issue facing women in a particular North Carolina community and develop specific policy recommendations to improve the current conditions.
The WomenNC CSW Juanita M. Bryant Leadership Training Program is a competitive application-based comprehensive leadership development opportunity for college and university students. The aim of the program is consistent with the organization’s vision: to raise a generation that honors women’s human rights. The program is comprised of several parts. First is a 4-part workshop series at which student scholars are trained to be advocates, social scientific researchers, and public speakers in addition to learning about the United Nations, particularly about the power and influence of the Commission on the Status of Women.
Then, over a five-month period, scholars engage in research about the status of women in particular North Carolina communities. This year’s foci include significant work in Durham where scholars Jada Hester of North Carolina State University, and Amy Jiang and Amelia Steinbach of Duke and have, respectively, produced actionable research about the racialized gender gap, lack of appropriate computer science curricula to attract and retain women in the Durham Public School System, and the how the intersectionality of the HIV diagnoses, intimate partner violence, and lack of affordable housing combine to disadvantage women in this area. Sara Darwish of North Carolina State University has studied the issue of menstrual equity on public university campuses, paying particular attention to her own campus; and Kaitlyn Galindo of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has explored the myriad barriers to full equality faced by immigrant women in the Raleigh area. Finally, our scholars from Bennet College have together produced research that considers the many aspects surrounding pregnancy and childbirth for incarcerated women, focusing their inquiry in the Guilford County region.
For the first time this year, many of our scholars were mentored by social scientific researchers from RTI’s Global Gender Center. Under the direction of Dr. Wenedee Wechsberg, Dr. Felicia Browne, Julia Brinton, Venita Embry, Brittni Howard and Leslie Turner were paired with student scholars who shared their research interests in order to produce the work that will be showcased on February 28th at the 10th Annual Local to Global Forum in Cary.
This research will also be presented at the United Nations 63rd Annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) conference in March where, along with advocates from San Francisco, they will speak to the theme of this year’s conference: how, through its expression by young people, social protection systems, access to public services, and sustainable infrastructure can encourage gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. Download the event flyer (pdf).
In Cary, to a North Carolina audience, and in New York, to a global one, scholars participate in the engaged research and public policy advocacy that has been a hallmark of WomenNC since its inception. Once back from the CSW conference, scholars use their research once again, employ their public speaking and advocacy skills they have learned and practiced, to engage local elected officials and bodies to change policies and budgets to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women.
The CSW Leadership Training Program has come full circle: North Carolina scholars work on issues of particular concern to citizens of the state, they then bring their voices, research, and policy initiatives to a global audience at the United Nations, and finally, with new knowledge gained from interaction with their global peers, they then return to the state ready to advocate for change to improve the lives of women and girls back home.
Our 2018-19 Scholars
Patience Mukurazhizha Bowora
A junior Social Work major, Patience has a great passion for helping people especially the disadvantaged, including women, children, handicapped persons, and new immigrants. She believes that if she can change one person’s life, the world would be a better place
Alexis Nicole Branch
Alexis Branch is a Senior Political Science major with a minor in Global Studies at Bennett College. She hails from Upper Marlboro, Maryland. She currently serves as the Student Government Association President for the 2018-2019 school year. She has also served as the Vice-President for the Bennett College Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). She has held a number of internships including at the Departments of Health and Human Services and Transportation, and currently at the National Institutes of Health.
Africa Coardes is a junior social work major from Columbia, SC. She currently holds a perfect 4.0 GPA and serves as president of the Student Christian Fellowship, Vice-President of Bennett’s NAACP chapter, and Executive Secretary of the Student Government Association. After she obtains her BSW degree she plans to pursue a Master’s in Social Work, specializing in clinical mental health.
Zybrea Moné Knight
Zybrea is a Sophomore, Psychology major from Philadelphia Pennsylvania. Wherever God leads me in life, I will go.
Aravia Patterson, senior at Bennett College double majoring in Africana Women’s Studies and Biology. After graduating from Bennett, she plans on attending graduate school for her Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology.
Amy Jiang is a Duke junior studying public policy, and she is interested in using an interdisciplinary approach toward addressing the lack of women, especially women of color, in STEM jobs. In her free time, she goes on runs around her university and mentors middle school students.
Final Paper: DPS Professional Learning Communities: Fostering Equity and 21st Century Skills in CS Education
Amelia Steinbach is a sophomore at Duke University from Durham, NC, studying Political Science and Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies. She hopes to attend law school and pursue a career in the political realm, advocating for the rights of historically disadvantaged and marginalized groups.
Final Paper: The Intersection of Intimate Partner Violence, HIV, and Affordable Housing Options in Durham, North Carolina
NC State University
Sara Darwish is junior at North Carolina State University majoring in social work and Arabic. Having grown up in Cairo, Egypt, she is currently researching accessibility to feminine hygiene products in educational settings.
Final Paper: Menstrual Equity in Public Higher Education
NC State University
Jada Hester is a junior Park Scholarship recipient and University Honors student at North Carolina State University; double majoring in Business Administration and International Studies (with concentrations in Marketing and Global Relations, respectively). When she is not conducting research, she enjoys giving tours as a University Ambassador, traveling abroad, reading and spending time with her friends and family.
Final Paper: Awareness and the Personal Challenges Associated with the Racialized Wage Gap Among Women in Durham, North Carolina
UNC Chapel Hill
Kaitlin is a junior Public Policy and Political Science double major at UNC-Chapel Hill who enjoys knitting, playing rugby, and deconstructing structural inequality. Kaitlin is studying the status of immigrant women in the Triangle.
Final Paper: Barriers to Immigrant Women in the Raleigh Metropolitan Area