After the successful run of LunchBox Talks in October, DECA Girls Represent is planning two more female-focused events for the community of CHS. These two events will take place throughout the month of December and involve a wide variety of guest speakers. The first event is a series of Professional Development Seminars, while the second event is open to the community: a Women’s Empowerment Panel.
Principal Liza Sejkora, shared, “I think these presentations are important because they are student designed and organized. I love when clubs on our campus feel a need for programming and coordinate such events.”
Earlier this fall, Girls Represent invited four guest speakers for LunchBox Talks, aiming to share their message of equality, and now they want to continue their mission. The upcoming seminars will be an event where girls can “learn from guest speakers about interview skills, public speaking skills, and internship acquisition strategies,” said co-organizers and seniors Monica Chang and Rachel Blair.
December 5th was the first of these seminars, led by Mr. Dave Blair, vice president of sales at Getinge Medical Group. He came and taught the small class about interview skills, as he has had experience hiring workers in his company.
The next seminar took place on December 13th, directed by Dr. Allison Coffin, associate professor of neuroscience at WSU Vancouver. Along with being a science professor, she tries to increase scientific communications and presentation abilities of scientists. Coffin focused her talk on public speaking skills.
The last seminar on the 19th will be taught by Kimberly Newman, a previous CHS Magnet teacher and advisor. As Magnet students are required to have an internship by graduation, Newman will be able to share her expertise helping students find internships.
But the seminar planning has not been entirely free from controversy. A group of male students at CHS created a petition claiming the seminars were unfair towards male students. Part of the controversy centered around females in class having an extra-credit opportunity that their male counterparts did not. Senior Monica Chang addressed these concerns by saying, “to us, it didn’t make sense to say ‘have professional development seminar with 75 percent boys considering the point of our campaign.'” Although Chang made it clear that everybody was welcome if they wanted to come. Teachers ended up dropping the extra-credit option.
While these seminars have been taking place on campus, the same students, Chang and Blair, worked with the Global Feminist Club to organize another event: the Women’s Empowerment Panel that took place on December 12th. This event was open to the public at the CHS theater with an entrance fee of five dollars to support the United Nations as Delegates for Girls Learn International.
This panel had five guest speakers who each came with a wide variety of backgrounds and experience. The speakers at the Women’s Empowerment Panel included Liani Reeves an Attorney at Bullard Law, Dr. Charlene Williams, the CSD Deputy Superintendent, Gabrielle Cosey, a youth activist, Charlotte Waters, a CHS chemistry teacher, and Eboni Brown, a program assistant and shower program coordinator at Rose Haven.
Waters, one of these speakers, shared that her favorite part of being apart of this panel was, “listening to the other members of the panel. They are very impressive women… Overall, I was just so in awe of their message.”
Overall, Chang would like to share that, “ultimately our message is one of positivity. Change starts from a small scale but that doesn’t mean it’s not important.” This is something she hopes is clear through these events.