“[The] biggest challenges I faced on campus included accepting who I was without shame or fear,” Pam Nwaoko (COL ’10) said of gender inequality issues at “Celebrating GU Women Leaders: A WAGE Panel on Leadership” on Monday evening.

The leadership discussion brought together neuroscientist Maria Donoghue, assistant professor in the biology department, College Associate Dean Sue Lorenson, as well as three female student leaders from various Georgetown on-campus organizations – Nwaoko, of Girl Talk, a mentoring program for secondary school girls in D.C., Shannon Goggin (MSB ’10), former director of More Uncommon Grounds, and Rebecca Kiely (COL ’12), vice president of the Georgetown University Grilling Society.

Women Advancing Gender Equity is a group that works in close collaboration with the Women’s Center that seeks to gather student leadership and promote gender equity awareness on campus through mentorship and community, according to current WAGE members.

“We are hoping to have more substantive discussions about the challenges and support system that women in leadership at Georgetown face,” said NoĆ«lle Yasso (SFS ’10) who moderated the discussion on behalf of WAGE.

At the panel discussion, Nwaoko said that women need to overcome the challenges posed by gender inequality.

“If you feel you have a powerful voice, don’t be afraid to let it out. Find comfort and power in it,” Nwaoko said.

Kiely joined GUGS as a freshman, was later elected to her current position and will become president next spring.

“I didn’t come to Georgetown with the intention to grill,” she joked with the panel. Kiely said that women joining the club have strengthened the typically male-dominated group.

“[A female presence has] made this club more conscious of its solidarity and diversity,” Kiely said.

WAGE also sponsors the WAGE Fellowship, which was founded in 2008 by 11 women in order to promote women’s leadership opportunities. WAGE fellows are composed of selected juniors and seniors who are mentored by alumni and professionals. According to the fellowship application, applicants must be of sophomore standing, have demonstrated leadership and initiative on campus and have an interest in women’s and gender issues.

This past Saturday, six new fellows were selected for the upcoming year, including Anne Musica (COL ’12).

“I will be making a new group of friends that I can openly share similar ideas with,” Musica said.

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