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Students who attended NCCWSL conference

UB students who attended the National Conference for College Student Women Leaders were, from left, Minahil Khan, Victoria Robbins, Christine Tjahjadi-Lope, Sadichchha Dhakhwa, Kerry McPhee, Margaret Murray and Samah Asfour.

UB students attend conference for women, return inspired

By EMILY FARACCA

Published June 20, 2013

“It was really empowering to go somewhere and have all female leaders around me.”
Minahil Khan, UB student and conference attendee

Seven students from UB’s Chapter of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) gained confidence and found camaraderie after attending a three-day conference directed by women and for women.

The National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL) took place May 30 through June 1 at the University of Maryland in College Park. It featured a variety of female speakers, workshops, ceremonies and mentorship opportunities for AAUW members from around the country.

AAUW last year invited female college students to participate in an essay contest explaining what female empowerment meant to them. Winners received a trip to the NCCWSL, and in return were assigned to establish a chapter of the AAUW at the university they attend.

“I wanted other UB women to experience the same encouragement as I did the summer before,” says Samah Asfour, a junior political science major and UB’s essay contest winner. “I knew that once other students had the life-altering opportunity to attend, our chapter of AAUW would flourish.”

The theme of the conference was “Finding Your Voice.” Students were encouraged to identify their passions and find practical ways to pursue those passions, even in the face of defeat.

“What I thought was fantastic about our group was the diversity of student leaders, each with her own passion or area of focus,” says Hadar Borden, administrative director of the undergraduate academies. 

Borden accompanied the students to the conference along with Phyllis Floro, associate director of student life. “The conference is very much directed to students,” Floro explains. “However, the messages we heard from keynote speakers were very easily applied to me.”

 “It was really empowering to go somewhere and have all female leaders around me,” says sophomore attendee Minahil Khan.

The Buffalo Branch chapter of AAUW, the Undergraduate Academies and the Center for Student Leadership and Community Engagement sponsored the trip.