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WEL310 Women's Virtual Leadership Experience

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The Women Empowered As Learners and Leaders (WELL) Program and the Sullivan Career and Life Planning Center hosted the WEL310 Women's Virtual Leadership Experience on Thursday, March 4.

Pre-COVID-19, this event was held on ground. But we were able to hold this event virtually, thanks to the coordination efforts of WELL graduate assistant Anna Austin, as well as the efforts of the WEL310 instructors, Laurie Cirillo, and peer mentors. This semester’s event, as a part of the final week of the WEL310 course, featured guest speaker Erika Dawson-Head, Director of Diversity and Inclusive Community Development for the College of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The students loved her down-to-earth personality, genuineness, energy, and positive spirit. Dawson-Head is driven by her strong belief in diversity, equity, and inclusion. She used her own life’s journey and challenges as an example in order to teach the students about imposter syndrome, feeling valued, and ways to increase their self-esteem and motivation. She encouraged students to use their purpose and passions in order to reach their career goals. WELL and the Sullivan Career and Life Planning Center thank Erika for this experience and Dinah Moore personally thanks everyone involved for making this such a success!

"Far too often, we feel as if we do not belong in spaces we are clearly qualified to be in-- which is a symptom of imposter syndrome. Erika Dawson-Head, the speaker at the WEL310 Leadership event, revealed her own experiences with imposter syndrome and how she learned to know her worth. She has had her fair share of anxieties in education and life, from entering college as an adult learner with two children, being laid off from her job, filing for bankruptcy, and eventually finishing graduate school with a 3.83 GPA. From her challenges, she was able to develop her story and identity. Erika Dawson-Head encouraged us to remember that we are all unique, and therefore our voices are important. Halfway through the presentation, she said, “I want you to know to be kind and patient and love who you are, because you are worthy of being loved”. Even if we can’t believe in ourselves just yet, at least we have each other to believe in in the meantime."

- WEL310 student Julia DeRidder

This article is also featured in the April 2021 issue of the Network News Student Magazine.