12 Students to Watch Out for at CGI U

April 03, 2013

Last month, AAUW announced our strategic partnership with the Clinton Global Initiative and the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U). AAUW identified 12 students attending CGI U who were making a commitment to turn their ideas into action on their campuses, in their local communities, and around the world. These students have been involved with AAUW through our fellowships and grants, our campus leadership programs, and with local AAUW branches.

  • Safina Abdulloeva, University of Missouri
  • Joy Marie Agee, University of Alabama, Huntsville
  • Nanci Alanis, University of Illinois, Chicago
  • Rhoda Annoh Gordon, Texas A&M University
  • Nicole Elinoff, University of Central Florida
  • Evelyn Garcia Morales, George Mason University
  • Dyna Kuthyola, Eastern University
  • Natasha Mercado, Lake Washington Institute of Technology
  • Miki Noguchi, Columbia University
  • Odunola Ojewumi, University of Maryland, College Park
  • Sydney Paige, University of Alabama
  • Samaura Stone, Portland State University

With CGI U just days away, we asked the student leaders about their motivations and their plans to take action to empower women and girls. Here’s what some of them had to say.

What are you most looking forward to this weekend at CGI U?


Natasha Mercado

Mercado: I am looking forward to meeting fellow students who are passionate about making a positive change in their community and beyond. I am also excited to hear from former President Bill Clinton.

What motivated you to commit to a CGI U project?

Paige: I saw this as a way to impact my campus and community, to network, and to gain more leadership skills.

Noguchi: I had already been thinking about putting a business plan together for my business idea, but I wasn’t as serious about it until I was prompted to make a CGI U commitment.

How did you get involved with AAUW?


Evelyn Garcia Morales

Samaura Stone

Samaura Stone

Elinoff: Last year I worked on the University of Central Florida’s Campus Action Project grant with the Young Women Leaders Program. I was able to travel with my CAP team to present our work at the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders. This year I served as the student liaison for the Elect Her–Campus Women Win workshop on my campus.

Stone: My school is a college/university partner member of AAUW, so I heard about the organization on campus. I currently serve on the National Student Advisory Council.

Morales: I learned about AAUW during my undergraduate career at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. It wasn’t until graduate school that I became more involved with AAUW. This year I received a Career Development Grant.

Can you tell us a little bit about your project and what you plan to do over the next year?

Nanci Alanis

Nanci Alanis

Alanis: My commitment is geared to assist first-generation Latina high school students enroll in higher education. Girls participating in this commitment will be able to join a support network composed of other girls who may share similar life experiences. They will have a mentor who will help them navigate the college experience and create lifelong friendships. Over the next year, I plan on recruiting other college students who are interested in becoming a mentor. I will also work with departments at my school, the University of Illinois at Chicago, to provide assistance in anything we might need. I am excited to start working on this, as I plan to write my senior capstone on the importance of mentorships.


Safina Abdulloeva

Abdulloeva: My commitment is to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality in Tajikistan through safe pregnancy and delivery. This is a very simple yet very effective project that should increase accountability of the government and strengthen the partnership with international agencies working in Tajikistan. The goal of the project is to improve the quality of health in maternity wards by strengthening the medical personnel’s skills and knowledge on active management of the third stage of labor, knowledge of essential newborn care, and resuscitation, as well as the 10 steps of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative.

Do you have a role model who inspires you to make change in the world?

Kuthyola: Maggie Madimbo, a 2010–11 AAUW International Fellow, is my role model. She has taught me what it means to be part of the change we want to see using the little resources we have, starting with one person at a time.


Rhoda Annoh Gordon

If you could have dinner with the Clintons, where would you go and what would you talk about?

Gordon: Any location chosen by the Clintons for dinner would be good enough for me. I would be interested in discussing the plight of women and girls in Africa and how [the Clintons] can help improve maternal health. I would also like to know what motivates them to stay in public service for all these years.