This summer, 60 inquisitive and accomplished young women arrived on campus, eager to take part in the Young Women's Leadership Institute (YWLI), offered by Barnard's Pre-College Program. The high school students selected to participate have demonstrated leadership in their schools and communities and have had extracurricular commitments that range from working as a representative on the local Board of Education to coaching a special-needs basketball team.
Over the course of one week, the young women took part in intense classroom discussions and workshops, learning new ways to approach leadership. Working in groups, they incorporated what they learned into projects aimed at bettering their communities. One group filmed a public-service announcement about resources available to homeless women. Another group facilitated a workshop about stereotyping for their peers. At the end of the week, YWLI participants shared their projects with each other at a student-led conference. In addition, the program took advantage of Barnard’s New York City location by organizing visits to businesses and organizations that cater to women. YWLI attendees were given the chance to visit the U.S. Department of Labor's Women's Bureau, Bernstein Global Wealth Management, the Third Wave Foundation, and The Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership.
"YWLI provides students with a unique opportunity to engage in college-level discussions about gender and leadership while they're still in high school," says Emily Kramer '09, who has served as YWLI's program coordinator for the past two summers. "They're really given a taste of what it's like to be a Barnard student: passionate, driven, and determined to model positive social change. I think that the students who participate in YWLI come away inspired to be leaders."