December 6th, 2013 @ 5:11 pm by Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi
UC Davis students are changing the world. Earlier this week, I received yet another reminder of just how true that is. On Monday, I joined five other women in a panel discussion on campus where we discussed our experiences as women in leadership and examined how we can break down the barriers that create such wide disparities at the higher levels of business, politics and academe. In addition to myself, the panel included a state legislator, three CEOs and my friend and colleague Maureen Stanton. It was a lively and interesting discussion. Hearing the thoughts and experiences of my fellow panelists was both informative and inspiring.
But perhaps most inspiring for me was that the event was made possible by two of our graduate students. Nicole Chaffee, a doctoral student in Chemistry, and Jeni Lee, who is pursuing a PhD in Biomedical Engineering, are both passionate about promoting opportunities for women and created the Women in Leadership Series and Panel as a means to build dialogue on this vital issue and pursue solutions that empower women and ensure opportunity for all. The response has been outstanding and their events have brought together undergraduate and graduate students, high school students, UC Davis faculty and community members in building an ever wider coalition in support of increasing opportunities for women. It is easy to imagine the wide-reaching positive effect that Nicole and Jeni’s efforts will have as not only will those who attended and engaged with the series and panel event be instructed, inspired and mentored, but they will also have the tools and motivation to mentor others and continue the immensely positive results of Jeni and Nicole’s efforts. The fact that Nicole and Jeni are both women working in the STEM fields, a cause so dear to my heart, only adds to why I think so highly of what they have accomplished.
The reality is that our entire student body is made up of people like Jeni and Nicole. They are dedicated to making the world a better place, and when they see a problem, they do not wait around for someone else to come along and solve it. They roll their sleeves up and get to work. I look forward to what Jeni and Nicole will accomplish next.