Your New #SquadGoals: 10 Fierce Feminists

October 12, 2015

Each year, 10 college student leaders from all over the country are chosen to serve on the National Student Advisory Council (SAC) based on their leadership potential and commitment to gender equity. Throughout the year, the SAC members advise AAUW on the needs of college students and organize feminist activist projects on campus. They also serve as peer leaders at the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL) and play an integral role in planning and promoting the conference.

The 2015–16 SAC are a unique group of passionate volunteers, mentors, and world travelers, but most important, they’re fierce advocates for social change. They are committed to women’s leadership and empowerment through their work to spread body positivity, demand reproductive justice, and end sexual violence. The multilingual, multifaceted SAC are our future physicians, policy makers, community organizers, and leaders in business.

Please join us in welcoming the 2015–16 SAC — who will give you the feminist #SquadGoals you’ve been dreaming of.

1. Dalya Hazim

Dalya Hazim

Dalya Hazim was born and raised in Iraq, which gave her the opportunity to compare the successes and struggles of women in the United States and abroad. Hazim believes in giving opportunities to young women to lead in their own communities. She currently attends Schoolcraft College in Livonia, Michigan, where she volunteers through the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society with service projects that support underrepresented populations. Since Hazim’s ambition is to become a physician, she enjoys being involved in influential research studies in her community.

2. Caroline Hymel

Caroline Hymel

A graduate student studying history at Louisiana Tech University, Caroline Hymel also finds time for foreign relations and gender studies classes. Hymel is the first president of her school’s AAUW student organization, for which she organizes an annual panel—Tech Gets Consent—to raise awareness about rape culture, sexual assault, and consent on college campuses and within the transgender community. Recently, Hymel discovered a passion for public policy, especially policies that affect women. In addition to advocating for gender equality and reproductive rights, Hymel enjoys listening to music by Lydia Loveless or watching films about President John F. Kennedy.

3. Theresa Hice Johnson

Theresa Johnson

Theresa Hice Johnson is a senior at Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania who spent her 2015 summer interning in Bolivia. During the school year, she is either organizing events as the president of her school’s AAUW student organization, working with the campus student mentor program, or at home reading to her young daughter. Currently a dual major in political science and Spanish, Johnson hopes to continue on to grad school in a program that combines her interests in American cultural, class, and gender studies. As a feminist, her biggest goal is to raise a strong, passionate daughter who isn’t afraid to chase her dreams or lend a helping hand.

4. Haillee Mason

Haillee Mason

Haillee Mason has always been passionate about the personal, sexual, and political rights of women and feminine-of-center individuals. As a third year transfer student to the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, she brings a wealth of student activist experience, including co-founding a campus chapter of Dream Defenders and coordinating campus protests and resistances. This past summer, Mason interned with Food and Water Watch, as well as the North Carolina AIDS Action Network. At UNC Greensboro, she works with the women’s and gender studies program as well as being a leader for campus service trips. Mason likes to spend her time reading Audre Lorde or Toni Morrison, and she can often be found lending her voice to grassroots resistance in her community.

5. Delyla Mayers

Delyla Mayers

Delyla Mayers is a senior at the University of California, Santa Barbara, double majoring in sociology and feminist studies. She works both professionally and personally in social justice projects on her campus and through her work at the UCSB Women’s Center. Though Mayers is dedicated to serving as an advocate for body positivity and individual empowerment, she also blogs about her memories of traveling abroad and different life experiences that she hopes will inspire others.

6. Madison Norwich

Madison Norwich

Madison Norwich is a senior at the University of Hartford studying sociology and politics. She currently serves as the president of the Pi Beta chapter of the Delta Zeta sorority and teaches women’s leadership classes on campus. She is passionate about inspiring others to exceed expectations and reach their full potential. Making a change for others is a huge motivating factor for her, which led her to volunteer as a sexual violence crisis counselor. One of Norwich’s other passions is traveling around the world and learning about different cultures.

7. Na-Yeon Park

Na-Yeon Park

Na-Yeon Park is a junior at New Jersey’s Rutgers University, Douglass Residential College, majoring in political science and Chinese with minors in international and global studies and women’s and gender studies. She is an Institute for Women’s Leadership Scholar and the founder of One Step- 한 걸음, a nonprofit organization that educates people about North Korean human rights violations and supplies English books and stationery to North Korean refugees around the world. Na-Yeon is passionate about advocating for equal rights on the local, regional, and international levels and works to inspire and motivate others to do the same. She also aims to empower others to become world leaders and social changers through her leadership skills and the use of her language skills in Korean, English, and Mandarin.

8. Maha Saleem

Nehan Maha Saleem, SAC

Nehan Maha Saleem majors in molecular cell biology with a minor in physiology and neurobiology at the University of Connecticut. As the school’s Women’s Center assistant, she works on advocacy programs for issues including oppression, discrimination, and domestic violence. She currently serves on the Persistence of Women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) committee and plays an essential role in the recruitment, retention, and empowerment of women in STEM fields. She was inducted into the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame as a recipient of the Ella T. Grasso Leadership in Action Grant for developing her STEMtistic Women project. She also founded the university’s Women in STEM Mentorship Program to help young women gain exposure to leadership and science opportunities. Her passion for feminism and science was inspired by her mother, who taught her to pursue an education despite the challenges and gender stereotypes her mother encountered as a Muslim woman in the workplace.

Saleem was also motivated by her two brothers, who have cerebral palsy and led her to aspire to become a physician scientist.

Nehan Maha is generously sponsored by Loryann Eis.

9. Carmen Vernon

Carmen Vernon, SAC, student leaders

Carmen Vernon is a feminist activist from Indianapolis. A homegrown Hoosier, Vernon is a gender studies and English major at Indiana University, where she leads the Feminist Student Association. In the Bloomington community, Vernon volunteers at a local domestic violence shelter, Planned Parenthood, and Girls Inc. Her passion lies in empowering girls to amplify their voices, so she hopes to organize a camp to teach middle school students how to create their own zines, campaigns, and web content. Outside of organizing and reading, Vernon loves to go thrifting and antiquing to find vintage hats.

Carmen Vernon is generously sponsored by Susan Barley.

10. Jiyu Zhou

Jiyu Zhou

Jiyu Zhou is a senior majoring in accounting at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She is from Shenzhen, China, and has studied abroad in Finland. As a compassionate advocate for gender equality, women’s leadership, and women in business, Jiyu has led by example. She has served as the president of the accounting student organization, Institute of Management Accountants; led a course focusing on personal and professional development at the Wisconsin School of Business; and helped organize the Youth to Business Forum in Madison. An aspiring leader with profound international experiences and a global vision, Jiyu joined the SAC with the hope of empowering more college women to pursue leadership and their ambitions. In her spare time, Jiyu volunteers at several local art museums.

By:   |   October 12, 2015


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  33. Audrey Salgado says:

    Congratulations to these amazing young women! Audrey L. Salgado, C/U Relations Chair, Birmingham (AL) Branch

  34. Anne Gautreau says:

    I had the opportunity to hear Dalya Hazim speak at the University of Michigan-Dearborn yesterday at a luncheon designed to illuminate the NCCWSL experience and how it changes lives. Dalya and the other three conference participants did an outstanding job articulating issues and attitudes involving gender equity today. Clearly, their experience was not only valuable, it was transformational. I felt great to be a member of AAUW and to know how much it is doing to effect change in this country and across the globe.

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