Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Her College Story: Women’s Colleges are Dedicated to You

By Michelle Niewald
Stephens College
Class of 2014
Integrated Marketing Major

As a high school student, I never considered attending a women’s college. Every guidance counselor and teacher was quick to tout large state universities, and as I toured these institutions, I found myself less than inspired.

I owe everything to my women’s college. I’ve grown into an amazing woman here at Stephens. The needs of women, in society and the workplace, continue to evolve. There’s no finite way to predict what a woman’s role will be ten years from now, as cultural attitudes change constantly. Attending an institution that values receptiveness, flexibility and change is critical to women entering the job market.

I know how it feels to be a senior in high school considering a women’s college. I also know how it feels to be a member of a unique institution that treats students as more than just numbers. Women’s colleges are dedicated to you.

As a college senior, I have spent many hours reflecting on my experiences here. I have learned many lessons that I know my peers at co-ed institutions may never learn. Real women empower each other. Stephens possesses some of the most cutthroat career paths available: theater, dance, fashion and advertising. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is encouraging.

I cannot possibly describe how proud I am to call myself a Stephens woman. I remember watching my supervisor-a fellow Susie-at an internship in New York City, simply awestruck at her dynamic presence and creativity. She was an incredible boss and support system to me. Most importantly, she never belittled anyone, especially not another woman.

Recently, President Dianne Lynch held a press conference to announce the donation of an unrestricted $15 million. In her address, she described Stephens women as “elegant, graceful, intelligent, articulate, stubborn, opinionated and ambitious,” and this is because of the education that never belittles, insults or attempts to masculinize the qualities of women that make us so amazing.

The women’s college experience is indescribable. The faculty, staff and students inspire others to do better simply for the sake of being all that we can be. After all, one small step for women is one large leap for humankind.

                              © 2014 - Michelle Niewald

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