Meet the next generation of Mississippi! These remarkable students have demonstrated their ambition and honed their skills through the NEW Leadership® Mississippi summer institute, which advances The W's historic mission by promoting women’s political leadership in Mississippi.

2023 NEW Leadership MS Alumni
Alyssa Edwards

Mississippi State University, Class of 2023

Alyssa Edwards is from Jackson, Tennessee and is a junior at Mississippi State University. She is working towards her undergraduate degree in Political Science with a concentration in Pre-Law and Marketing. After completing her undergraduate degree, she plans to continue her education in the MPPA Program at Mississippi State University, where she hopes to work as a graduate research assistant to guide her path to law school.

Throughout her college career, Alyssa has been heavily involved with the youth in Starkville, Mississippi through her work at Sudduth Elementary school. She has interned with her local District Attorney’s office in Jackson, TN, gaining experience in the courtroom. She plans to pursue a legal career in real estate and business law.
Erin Hanson
University of Mississippi, Class of 2026

Erin Hanson is rising sophomore at the University of Southern Mississippi majoring in Legal Studies (Pre-law) and minoring in Child Advocacy Studies. She is from Gulfport, Mississippi and is a 2022 High Honors graduate from Gulfport High School. Beginning college at Southern Miss, Erin was accepted into the Luckyday Scholars Program, the Honors College, and the Citizens Scholars Program. In the spring of 2023, she served on the Advisory Board of the Luckyday Program at USM and will be a Honors College Mentor on the Honors College Leadership Council for the ‘23-’24 academic year. Currently, she is the Wellness Chair on the Career and Personal Development Committee of the Chi Omega Fraternity. Her other campus involvement includes being a member of the Golden Eagle Conservation Society partnering with the Sustainable Ocean Alliance organization.

After college graduation, Erin intends to continue her education through attending law school. She plans to get a dual J.D., likely pairing an emphasis in family or criminal law with a masters degree in social work.

Angelia Hogan
Jackson State University, MA exp. 2024

Angelia Hogan is from Madison, Mississippi. A graduate of Tougaloo College where she received her Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in History. Currently, Ms. Hogan is pursuing her Masters in Political Science at Jackson State University. Ms. Hogan desires to teach and work with students who desire a career in politics.
Ni-lah Jones
Tougaloo College, Class of 2025

Ni-Lah Jones is a native of Natchez, Mississippi and an upcoming junior at Tougaloo College, where she is majoring in political science. She is a 2023 graduate of Copiah Lincoln Community College- Natchez Campus and Natchez Early College @ Co-Lin, where she was dually enrolled in her high school’s program, which allowed her to receive her Associate’s of Arts degree.

While at Co-Lin, Ni-Lah served as president of Phi Theta Kappa - Alpha Alpha Zeta Chapter, a position in which she orchestrated their community and college projects. She has much leadership experience; she also served as her Senior Class Vice President. Ni-Lah’s passion for law and unity landed her in front of the board of aldermen in her town. There she read her essay on the qualities of a good citizen. Ni-Lah has always had a passion for law and public service and she plans to take her passions to Tougaloo College in the fall of 2023. She is the daughter of Troylynn Thomas and William Jones Jr.
Nyla Jones
Mississippi State University, Class of 2025

Nyla Jones is a Memphis, Tennessee native and is currently enrolled at Mississippi State University. She is a Natural Resource and Environmental Conservation major at Mississippi State University. She has a concentration in Natural Resource in Law and Administration.

Nyla is involved on campus as a College and Forest Resource Ambassador, Director of Programming for the Residence Hall Association, Social Media Chair for the Speech and Debate Council, a committee member of Students for a Sustainable Campus, and a National Residence Hall Honorary member. She will also be doing research on campus within the College of Forest Resource and with CFR faculty. Nyla also has a Diversity Education Series Certificate. Nyla is a Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College member and a John Grisham Presidential Endowed Scholar. After finishing her undergraduate studies, she plans to enroll in law school and work for government agencies, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services.
Belle Keebler
University of Mississippi, Class of 2026

Belle Keebler is a rising sophomore at the University of Mississippi. Originally from Vancleave, Mississippi, Belle graduated in the top 10% of her class at Vancleave High School, was a member of the National Honors Society, and she is also a 2021 Mississippi Girls State alumna.

Belle currently attends the University of Mississippi as a Public Policy Leadership major with a minor in Intelligence and Security Studies. She is a member of the Trent Lott Leadership Institute, the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, and the Center for Intelligence and Security Studies. She hopes to pursue law school upon graduation and to work as a part of the United States intelligence community. Belle strongly believes in the importance of women’s representation in all levels of government, and she is passionate about continuing the work of influential women leaders in breaking any and all glass ceilings for future generations of women.

New Leadership participants gather in historic Puckett House
New Leadership Participants stand in front of Governor's Mansion
New Leadership participants in Legislative Budget Office

May 10

Deadline extended! Apply online by midnight Friday, May 10. Selection is competitive and based on leadership potential, political interest, and ability to contribute to cohort diversity and women's representation.

June 2-7

The 2024 NEW Leadership® Mississippi Summer Institute will take place June 2-7 at the Columbus campus of Mississippi University for Women.

NEW Leadership® Mississippi Program Overview

NEW Leadership® is a national program designed by Rutgers University's Center for American Women in Politics to educate college women about politics and encourage them to become effective leaders in the political arena. In 2013, Mississippi University for Women brought NEW Leadership® to Mississippi as part of its historic mission to expand women's opportunities and cultivate their leadership.

Now in its 12th year, the program remains the only of its kind in Mississippi and one of only four New Leadership® partner programs in the South. An intensive residential program that emphasizes mentorship, networking, and experiential learning, our mission is to provide the education, support, and encouragement necessary to spur women's political leadership.

2024 Summer Institute

Join peers and professional women in politics from across the state who share the goal of increasing women's representation in politics. Receive mentorship, expand your professional network, and gain the skills, knowledge, and confidence you need to seize leadership roles in politics and public

The NEW MS Summer Institute is a unique opportunity to increase your understanding of policymaking and electoral processes, identify a range of careers in politics and public service, engage with a diverse group of professional women in those careers, and nurture your own ambition for a life of leadership.

Course Credit

All participants earn two college credits in women's studies or political science that may be transferred to the institution they attend.


There is no cost to students. We cover all tuition and fees, housing, meals, and transportation to and from Jackson during the program. Students are only responsible for their transportation to and from Columbus, MS.


NEW Leadership® Mississippi is open to undergraduate students enrolled in any Mississippi college or university and Mississippi residents enrolled in out-of-state schools. We are committed to diversity in terms of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic background, political ideology, and sexual orientation. We strongly encourage women of all backgrounds to apply.

3 NEW Leadership Mississippi participants stand in front of the Mississippi Capitol