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COLUMBUS, Miss.— Fourteen Mississippi University for Women first-generation students and soon-to-be professionals recently gained inspiration from a virtual leadership conference.

“I was able to become a better leader in today's society. To become a critical and effective leader, I learned it is best to know yourself and to have a growth mindset. This conference was able to help me grow not only as a leader but as a person in today's society as well,” said Samuel Garrie, junior history major at The W.

The 2021 Circle of Change First Generation Students Career Leadership Experience was a two-day virtual career leadership experience for first-generation students to provide culturally diverse and first-generation students with the professional and leadership skills for success after graduation.

During the virtual event, students learned from nationally recognized speakers, first-generation professionals from top-tier organizations and companies, networked with professionals and had resumes reviewed.

“Due to our inability to be face to face because of COVID restrictions, this virtual event was able to generate engagement and participation with our students and students across the country. Our students were able to see and hear from other university students and how they engaged in resources and opportunities. Some gave personal experiences that were uplifting and motivating,” said Towanda Williams, director of Career Services.

According to Williams, the virtual event allowed students to re-envision themselves as professionals. She said the sky is the limit when it comes to them being able to fulfill their dreams as successful professionals.

“What I obtained from the different panels and circle talks will be applied to my life and help me become more successful in the future,” said Lavitta Sims, junior Culinary Arts student.

Rikki Garcia was chosen by random for $250 scholarship by the Circle of Change Leadership Experience. Student attendees were sponsored by the MUW Foundation.

The conference was held April 9-10 and hosted by the Office of Career Services in coordination with the offices of the Development and Alumni Foundation, Student Life, Housing and Residence Life, Admissions, Student Success, Financial Aid, Information Technology and the College of Arts & Sciences.

Students who attended the virtual conference:

Rikki Garcia                       

Samuel Garrie                                 

Kennie Hicks                                    

Tamera Jones                                  

Fannie Kenard                 

Letadreon Mattix                           

Aaliyah McPhail               

Jordan Perry                     

Blake Pilgrim                    

Kayla Redmond

Cheryl Runyon                 

Olivia Sagely                     

Lavitta Sims                      

Jayda Williams         

May 5, 2021
Contact: Tyler Wheat
(662) 241-7683
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