SGA hosts first women in leadership forum

History professor Patricia Minter addresses the audience of the Women in Leadership panel hosted by the Student Government Association in Downing Student Union on Monday. Minter is a former faculty regent and is also running for Kentucky state legislature.

Nicole Ziege

The Student Government Association hosted its first forum focused on women in leadership on Monday night.

The panel discussed challenges they have faced during their careers, how to balance personal and professional lives and the advice they would give to female students who aspire to take on leadership roles.

Featured panelists included Ogden College of Science and Engineering Dean Cheryl Stevens, history professor Patti Minter, faculty regent and former provost Barbara Burch and Director of WKU’s Educational Talent Search Program Martha Sales. About 20 WKU students and Bowling Green community members attended the forum.

“The psychic energy it takes to deal with that garbage, frankly, day in and day out is exhausting,” Minter said, regarding the structural challenges she has faced during her career, including assumptions made about her and other female professors and misogyny in the workplace.

The idea for the panel was created by female members of the SGA executive board, including SGA President Andi Dahmer, Executive Vice President Savannah Molyneaux, Administrative Vice President Kara Lowry and Director of Public Relations Amy Wyer.

Wyer said the idea developed after issues that she and other executive board members were having in SGA, though she did not specify those issues. Wyer said the executive board of SGA was one of the first predominantly-female executive boards in the organization’s history.

“We think anyone can benefit from that conversation,” Wyer said.

Wyer said the panel was also a good opportunity for students to reach out to the panelists after the event.

“It’s important to talk about the issues that they are potentially going to face,” Wyer said.

SGA Campus Improvements Committee Chair Garrett Edmonds said he was encouraged by SGA to attend the panel

“I thought it’d be really interesting to come out and learn something,” Edmonds said.

Hopkinsville sophomore Katie Thomason said she heard about the panel from Edmonds and decided to attend.

“I want to help contribute to that,” Thomason said, regarding women’s empowerment.

News reporter Nicole Ziege can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected] Follow Nicole Ziege on Twitter at @NicoleZiege.