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Kate Rowell ’17, second from the right in the second row, with this summer’s NEW Leadership New England conference participants.

Summer leadership conference prepares political science major for junior year


C:\fakepath\Kate Rowell 2 crop.jpgAfter attending last month’s NEW Leadership New England (National Education for Women Leadership) conference, Kate Rowell ’17 of Billerica, Mass., is prepared to tackle the challenges that come with her position as vice president of MCLA’s chapter of Students for a Democratic Society, an egalitarian student activism group.

One of the Society’s primary goals for this year, said Rowell, is to reach out to collaborate with other school clubs and groups in the North Adams community, while it increases its presence on campus.

Held this summer in Manchester, N.H., at Saint Anselm College, NEW Leadership New England is a six-day residential conference especially for women that’s held each year. At the conference, policymakers, politicians and business leaders addressed the ways the 24 participants can and have developed their leadership skills and opportunities.

Her experience at the conference, Rowell said, was “absolutely incredible.”

“We had the opportunity to speak with panels of successful, enterprising women working in politics, business, the media and academia, and we participated in workshops focused on building skills like networking and public speaking,” she explained. “I met too many amazing women to name them all individually, but I was inspired by their various stories of perseverance, ambition, and success – often in the face of opposition.”

Rowell, who plans to add a political science major, along with her history major, once she returns to campus this fall, spent a significant portion of the conference learning how to build and maintain a professional network, and developing connections with all those in attendance.

“One of the panelists I had the privilege to meet and speak with was Carole Alfano, the New Hampshire judicial branch public information officer,” Rowell said. “She graciously offered me the chance to write a mock speech for one of the 2016 presidential candidates, and send it to her for feedback, which is a fantastic opportunity for someone like me with an interest in political speech writing!”

Ultimately, Rowell aims to influence policy and take part in the policymaking process.

“Whether that policy involvement may stem from a career as a legislator, lobbyist or political speechwriter, I can’t say, but I am interested in exploring the possibilities of each,” she said.

Rowell earned MCLA’s nomination and her subsequent acceptance to attend NLNE because of her high level of academic achievement, which includes being named to the Dean’s List three times, as well as her engagement on campus with various student groups, such as MCLA’s Shakespeare theater club, Yorick.

She also was part of the team that represented MCLA at this year’s North American Model United Nations Conference in Toronto, Canada.

Rowell chose MCLA because she prefers smaller classes and the discussions facilitated by those small sizes. She also wanted to be part of a close-knit campus community, where the professors know their students and the students know each other.

“MCLA’s surroundings also appealed to me. The mountains are beautiful year-round, and it’s a nice change from the fairly suburban environment I grew up in. MCLA also provides a good education for a reasonable price, which was definitely a selling point for me,” she added.   

The best part of MCLA, according to Rowell, is the sense of community on campus.

“Whether you’re involved in a number of things or just one, once you commit yourself to something you love doing at MCLA, it’s easy to discover other people who are just as passionate about that interest as you are,” she said.

In addition, Rowell said students in the various clubs on campus tend to be very supportive of each other’s efforts, and often collaborate: “I think that’s pretty wonderful.”