Barnard recently welcomed 35 high school girls from around New York City and the tristate area for the 2014 Young Women’s Leadership Workshop. The program was designed and facilitated by the Global Symposium Student Fellows, six Barnard students selected to participate in the College’s upcoming global symposium, “Women Changing China,” taking place in Shanghai on March 19. On March 16, the fellows will lead the same workshop for high school girls in Shanghai.

The workshop began with icebreaker discussions on the definition of leadership, as well as breakout activities that encouraged the girls to discuss their own leadership strengths and weaknesses. The participants were then separated into small groups and tasked with choosing a problem in their community and developing a solution with an action plan. Each group was asked to divide tasks for achieving the goals of this project based on their own personal strengths—from designing a poster, to delivering an elevator pitch about the project, to developing a plan that would involve different community members.  Finally, each group presented their project idea to their peers and the Fellows.

“This year we really took the workshop in a new direction by trying to get students to engage more directly in creating change, rather than just discussing it,” said Adair Kleinpeter-Ross ’14, one of the Global Symposium Student Fellows.

“I loved how responsive the students were and how engaged they were in our workshop,” said Hilary He ’14, another fellow.

“The Student Fellows were really supportive, and made sure we were happy with what we were doing,” said Francesca Mangano, a student at Northern Valley Old Tappan Regional High School in New Jersey and a workshop participant. “They taught us how we could put our plans into action, and how we can help everyone compromise to make a realistic plan and turn it into reality.”

“The young women who showed up today had no trouble getting up there and saying what they wanted to say,” said Jennifer Fondiller, Barnard’s dean of enrollment management. “Some had more confidence than others, but these women want to be confident, and they want to have these kinds of skills, and that’s the first step. The fact that they came tonight is what it’s all about for me.”

The Shanghai student workshop will take place at the High School Affiliated to Fudan University. “Women Changing China” will bring together some of China’s most prominent women leaders in business, finance, academia, media and the arts for a half-day symposium about women’s leadership.