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Conference Empowers Young Women

Published: March 1, 2015

Nearly 200 female high school students from California’s 47th Congressional District attended the 2015 Young Women’s Empowerment Conference at CSULB on Feb. 21. The event was presented by Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.) and featured CSULB President Jane Close Conoley, who delivered the keynote address on the day’s theme, “Linking Learning to Life.”

“I think this is a very significant conference. It is the sixth time we’ve done this in collaboration with Congressman Lowenthal,” said President Conoley. “Young women today need constant reminders that they have the brains, they have the motivation and they have the opportunities to do whatever they want to contribute to their world as it unfolds before them.”

The event featured workshops and panel discussions for young women, including sessions on preparing for college, exploring non-traditional careers, running for office and developing healthy relationships. There were also opportunities to speak with successful women who are role models in various professions.

Women presenting at the conference included the Honorable Judith Levey Meyer, of the L.A. County Superior Court, who participated in a panel on careers in the criminal justice system; Long Beach council members Suzie Price and Lena Gonzalez, who discussed leadership and engaging in the community; Leticia Mata, assistant vice president, Orange County Credit Union, who spoke on financial literacy; and Christine Whitcraft, CSULB Biological Sciences professor, who encouraged students to consider a “green” career.

“This is a great time for students who have never felt that they had a chance to really make the decisions and control their own destiny,” said Lowenthal. “I think you will see that out of this conference will come a number of young women who will now believe in their own capabilities and begin charting a course for their future.”

The day also included a slam poetry presentation during lunch and booths set up by local non-profits and area colleges and universities so attendees could get more information about community engagement and college applications. There was also a “selfie” station on hand so young women could take photos and share them over social media and with their friends.