Leadership Scholars Certificate Program

leadership scholar program
About the Program

The Leadership Scholars Program is a two-year selective, interdisciplinary certificate program of the Institute for Women’s Leadership (IWL) that prepares Rutgers undergraduates to be informed, innovative, and socially responsible leaders.

IWL Leadership Scholars explore women's leadership and contributions to social change in contexts that range from politics and government, law and advocacy, business and communications, media and the arts. IWL Leadership Scholars examine how different institutions inform our understanding and practice of leadership and how they encourage — or inhibit — civic innovation.

Leadership Scholars Benefit From:

  • Career-building internships & seminars with key Rutgers faculty
  • One-on-one mentoring and advising
  • Building community with other young women leaders and alumnae
  • Funding for self-diagnosed social action projects
Meet Our Current Leadership Scholars

Maryam Abdur Rasheed, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences/Douglass Residential College ‘19, is on the pre-med track and a Cell Biology and Neuroscience major and Psychology minor. Maryam is involved in community service as the Leader for the Youth Division of Communitopia, a nonprofit organization based in Middlesex County, where she helps promote a charitable presence for youth and administrate fundraising events. Participating in the Douglass College Project SUPER, she hopes to develop the preliminary skills for working in a lab and carry those skills into future research opportunities. Maryam aspires to be more involved in social activism and the neuroscience field, as well as finding a way to combine these two areas of interest. For her Leadership Scholars Program internship, Maryam interned at the Douglass Project for Rutgers Women in Math, Science & Engineering in Spring 2017.

Khes Adderley*, School of Arts and Sciences/Honors Program ’19, is an international student from the Bahamas majoring in Economics with a minor in Public Health. She has been active on campus as the International Student Representative of the Douglass Governing Council, the Historian for the Douglass Black Student Congress.  She works to remain involved in community service outreach missions that she believes, are vital in fostering her passion for social justice and community unity. Khes hopes to become more involved in international health care and reducing the systemic boundaries and policies that inhibit people’s access to quality health care.

Elizabeth Alt*, School of Arts and Sciences/Honors Program ’19, is an English major, with a double minor in Women & Gender Studies and History, as well as a certificate in Performance Theory. Elizabeth enjoys helping students find their place at Rutgers through her involvement as a Scarlet Ambassador, Honors Program Scholars Day Ambassador and Honors Program Peer Mentor Board Member. Recently she volunteered at Camp Jabberwocky, a camp for people of all ages with a variety of disabilities, and participated in an Alternative Break focused on ending human trafficking.  She is the Artistic Director for the Livingston Theatre Company and is passionate about fighting for human rights through art.

Ifrah Akhtar, School of Arts and Sciences ’18, is a Religion major and Biology minor. She is a member of a multitude of student organizations, and a Vice President of RU Atelier and Pre-Students of Osteopathic Medicine. In Fall 2014, Ifrah volunteered at NY Fashion Week and interacted with models and designers from around the world. In the summer of 2015, she was awarded an internship at the Coriell Institute where she worked with scientists who provide cells for research around the globe. She is interested in personalized medicine, stem cells, interactions between religion and medicine, and the role of design/art in societies. Ifrah loves motivating students to pursue their dreams and is always ready to help someone in need. She hopes to pursue a master’s degree in Religion and attend medical school. For her Leadership Scholars Program internship, Ifrah interned at MuslimGirl, an organization founded by an IWL Leadership Scholar Program alumna, in NYC in Spring 2017.

William (Billy) Baumle*, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences '19, is an Environmental Policy, Institutions & Behavior (EPIB), and Women's & Gender Studies double major. He is a Resident Assistant on College Avenue as well as an active member of Speak Out, a cross-media arts and discussion collective and platform. During the summer 2017, Billy lived in Australia, interning with the Sydney City Council and conducted qualitative research regarding an environmental performance program. His academic interests include armed conflict, environmental change and demography. In the future, he hopes to attend graduate school and work within the human rights field.

Anastasia Bellisari*, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences/Douglass Residential College '19, is an Environmental Policy, Institutions, and Behavior (EPIB) major and Public Health minor. She serves as the EPIB Representative for the SEBS Governing Council. Outside of academics, she is a Community Service Officer for the Rutgers University (RU) Police Department and is also a member of the Cook/Douglass Mounted Patrol, RU Equestrian Team, and the honors fraternity Alpha Zeta. Anastasia hopes to attend law school focusing on environmental protections and act as an advocate for women in politics.

Zahra Bukhari, Mason Gross School of the Arts ‘18 is a Fine Arts major with a double concentration in Print and Design. She is the Secretary for the Mason Gross Student Governing Association, RUSA representative, and the Student Representative for the Visual Arts Department. Zahra also serves as Secretary for the Douglass Governing Council, is a Global Village Ambassador, and a member of the Muslim Students’ Association Graphics and Submissions teams. Her academic interests include Islamic Studies, Women’s Studies, and Media Studies. With her education, Zahra hopes to pursue a career that uses art as a form of expression to contradict the misrepresentations of Islam, Muslims, and women in the media and bring awareness to conflicts surrounding these issues. For her Leadership Scholars Program internship, Zahra interned at the Center for Women’s Global Leadership in Spring 2017.

Chelsea (C.C.) Crane, School of Arts and Sciences/School of Communication and Information ‘18, is a Journalism and Media Studies major, with minors in History and Women's and Gender Studies. Chelsea participated in the IWL WINGS program through the 2015-2016 academic year. She works on campus at Rutgers Television Network where she executive produces the live morning show “Wake Up Rutgers.” She is a member of the Rutgers Veg Society, an activist club on campus devoted to spreading awareness about animal rights. Chelsea is interested in improving media representation for marginalized groups, especially in online platforms like YouTube. For her Leadership Scholars Program internship, Chelsea interned at the Department of University Communications & Marketing in Spring 2017.

Jamila Daniel, School of Arts and Sciences 18’, is a Cultural Anthropology major with a double minor in Education as a Social Science and Linguistics. She is interested in education as a tool for social mobility and is completing research on global education pedagogy in the U.S. and abroad. As a Conversation Facilitator with the Rutgers Graduate School of Education and The Collaborative Center, she works with adult English language learners. Along with education Jamila is also focused on community advancement. She is developing an initiative using ethnographic research where those who are impacted by poverty and those who act against it, narrate their experiences. Jamila is a member of the Anthropology Club where she displays passion for her field and works to ensure her peers’ accomplishments while also generating interest in the discipline. For her Leadership Scholars Program internship, Jamila interned at The Conversation Tree in Spring 2017.

Kai Durant, School of Arts and Sciences Honors Program/ Douglass Residential College ’18, is a double major in Sociology and Women’s & Gender Studies. She is part of Residence Hall Association, Douglass Student Recruitment Network, Douglass Friends of UNFPA and Douglass Orientation Committee. She participated in CLASP last summer where she interned at the Artist Mentoring Against Racism Drugs & Violence (AMARD&V) performance camp. Kai hopes to pursue a career that focuses on social justice and fight inequality. For her Leadership Scholars Program internship, Kai interned at the Center for Women’s Global Leadership in Spring 2017.

Salma Elakbawy, School of Arts and Sciences '19, is a Public Policy and Economics double major. She is currently a work study student at the Women's and Gender Studies department at Rutgers University, which has encouraged her interest in the field and its integration within the economics and public policy fields. Salma currently serves as an E-board member of the NAACP, club member of the Palestinian Children Relief Fund, as well as the RU Choice Club that advocates for women's reproductive rights. After graduation, Salma plans to attend law school and become a global women's rights advocate. For her Leadership Scholars Program internship, Salma interned at the Institute for Research on Women in Spring 2017.

Farah Elattar*, School of Arts and Sciences ’19, is a Philosophy and Cinema Studies double major, with a minor in French. She has been on the Dean’s list since her first year of school.  She is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and is the program director for 90.3 The Core FM, which broadcasts from Livingston Campus. Farah is also a peer mentor for the 2017-2018 academic year, through the honors mentoring program, which enables her to help incoming students find their way at Rutgers. She plans to attend law school and aims to fight for women's rights in problematic areas, with a particular focus on improving the status of women in the Middle East.

Maggy Fread, School of Arts and Sciences Honors College/Douglass Residential College ’19, is pursuing a Social Work major and a Cognitive Science minor. On campus, she is a Resident Assistant on College Avenue, a Research Assistant in the Cognitive Science department, and an Aresty Peer Instructor. She also volunteers as a Crisis Counselor for the Crisis Text Line in her spare time. Maggy has a strong passion for student growth and development and hopes to go into student affairs after graduate school. For her Leadership Scholars Program internship, Maggy interned at Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities in Spring 2017.

Delilah Garcia, School of Arts and Sciences '18, is a Communications major with a specialization in Relationship and Family Communication & Leadership and Organizations in Community, and Women's and Gender Studies minor. She hopes to be a Student Affairs administrator one day for a large university and currently event plans at the Cook/Douglass Student Centers. She has a passion for running and exercise and also hopes to host charity races to help those in need. She looks forward to gaining more leadership experience in the near future and plans to study abroad before she graduates. For her Leadership Scholars Program internship, Delilah interned at the Tyler Clementi Center in Spring 2017. She is the first recipient of the IWL’s Jessica Roberts Leadership Scholar Prize.

Madeline Hehir, School of Arts and Sciences/Douglass Residential College ’18, is a Sociology and Women’s & Gender Studies double major, with a minor in English. She is on the Dean’s list and acts in various capacities serving as a member of Rutgers Institute for International and Domestic Affairs (IDIA), and as an actress at Cabaret Theater and a writer/actor/director for Rutgers Night Live (a sketch comedy group). She is interested in reproductive rights/justice and combating gender discrimination in the workplace and the educational sphere. Madeline hopes to enter into the educational field as a guidance counselor. For her Leadership Scholars Program internship, Madeline interned at the DRC Bunting Program for Non-Traditional Students in Spring 2017.

Pamela Hernandez, School of Arts and Sciences/Douglass Residential College (DRC) ‘18, is a Political Science and French Cultural Studies double major with an International and Global Studies minor. She is also a transfer student from Seton Hall University. On campus, Pamela is very involved on campus in organizations, such as Douglass Friends of United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA), Rutgers’s Women’s Political Caucus, the DRC Social Media Team, and the Douglass Big Little Program. Pamela’s primary interests are at the intersection of human rights and immigration, and in the future, she plans on earning her master’s degree in International Affairs abroad. For her Leadership Scholars Program internship, Pamela interned at the Center for American Women & Politics in Spring 2017.

Ayana Jihad, School of Arts and Sciences ’18, is a Sociology major and has been on Dean’s list since she transferred to Rutgers in her sophomore year. She is currently involved with Rutgers Transfer’s Center program as a Mentor helping to guide and support other transfer students. In addition, she is a member of National Society of Collegiate Scholars and Douglas Residential College. She looks forward to new opportunities, such as internships and leadership possibilities that will help groom her into an extraordinary young woman. She hopes to continue on to graduate school in a field that will help her and inspire and serve others. For her Leadership Scholars Program internship, Ayana interned at The Center for Constitutional Rights in NYC in Spring 2017.

Mikaila John*, School of Arts and Sciences 19', is a Political Science major with a minor in Public Policy and has been on the Dean's List every semester. She is currently a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and this past semester she was also accepted into the Lloyd C. Gardner Fellowship Program in Leadership and Social Policy. Outside of school, Mikaila spends her free time teaching dance to kids of all ages at a local dance studio. Mikaila's areas of interest include diplomacy and international relations, immigration, and human rights. In the future, she plans to pursue a career in political analysis, working to reform social policy and foreign affairs.

Claudia Lee*, School of Arts and Sciences Honors Program '20, is a Comparative Literature major and French minor. She is from Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey. On campus Claudia is an Associate Copy Editor for The Daily Targum, a writing tutor for the Plangere Writing Center, and a Research Assistant for the Italian Literature department. Her passions include writing, yoga, and connecting with people. She hopes to one day use her writing abilities to change lives, whether it is in the form of teaching, crafting novels, or writing speeches.

Deborah Lee, School of Arts and Sciences/Douglass Residential College ‘18, is an Art History major with a minor in Women’s & Gender Studies. She works as an undergraduate assistant at the Center for Women in the Arts and Humanities. Deborah plans on attending graduate school and continuing her studies in Art History in hopes of becoming a curator and a professor. In her free time she loves singing and playing guitar, drinking good coffee, and going on sushi dates with her friends. For her Leadership Scholars Program internship, Deborah interned at the Center for Women in the Arts & Humanities in Spring 2017.

Nathania Lutero, School of Arts & Sciences '18, is a non-traditional student majoring in Psychology & minoring in Biology. She spent four years in the medical field as a Medical Assistant and is pursuing a career as a Physician Assistant. She is a member of the National Society of Leadership & Success, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and a member of RUSH. Nathania led a public health brigade to Nicaragua this summer providing health education workshops and building needed facilities to ensure healthy living. Nathania is interested in global health, especially in underprivileged communities, as she spent ten years in the Philippines. She is also passionate about understanding the human psyche and the issues involved. Overall, she looks forward to opportunities to positively influence her community. For her Leadership Scholars Program internship, Nathania interned at the Office of Health Outreach, Promotion and Education (HOPE) in Spring 2017.

Krystina Matos, School of Arts and Sciences/Douglass Residential College, 18, is a Psychology and Women's and Gender Studies major and a Critical Sexuality Studies and Statistics minor. She is in the Institute for Research on Women's Learning Community 2016, on the Dean's Student Advisory Board, a Red Pine Ambassador, and a Douglass Orientation Committee member. She is also helping to plan the 100th Anniversary of Douglass College on the Student Activities Committee. In addition, Krystina is on the marketing team for the Livingston Theatre Company and is an active performer for Cabaret Theatre. She was recently a mentor for the Collaborative Center for Community-Based Research and Service. She is also a research assistant for Dr. Clark Chinn at the Rutgers Graduate School of Educational Psychology Department. For her Leadership Scholars Program internship, Krystina interned at the Museum of Sex in Spring 2017.

Jessica Mazzeo, School of Arts and Sciences/Douglass Residential College ’18, is an English major with a minor in Women’s & Gender Studies, and will be completing a Creative Writing certificate. She is a poet, fiction and non-fiction writer, visual artist, and an advocate of empowerment through the arts. She is drawn to mixed media art with various colors, shapes and textures because it makes visual her multi-faceted nature. Currently, she is studying herbalism and gardening with the guidance of her grandparents, books, and direct experience and is dedicated to environmental sustainability. At Rutgers, she is involved with both Not Just Yoga and Anthropology Club. Committed to self-expression and growth she hopes to center her work on writing, art, nature, and helping other people, possibly as a horticultural therapist or entering the non-profit world. Some of her current areas of research interests are sexuality and the good woman/bad woman dichotomy, representations of spiritual women in movies, books, etc., corporatization of the education system, and the commodification of creativity in the current art market. For her Leadership Scholars Program internship, Jessica interned on campus at the Office for Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance in Spring 2017.

Geidy Mendez*, School or Arts and Sciences/Douglass Residential College ’19, is a double major in Political Science and Latino & Caribbean Studies. She is a 2017 intern and work-study student for Center for American Women and Politics and is actively involved in various organizations around campus such as the Latin American Women Organization, G.O.Y.A. (Galvanizing and Organizing Youth Activism), and First Generation Student Union. In addition, she is the Class of 2019 Representative for the Douglass Governing Council. She has interned at El Centro Hispano Americano where she worked on domestic abuse cases for undocumented individuals ensuring that they are heard no matter their immigration status. She hopes to earn her JD in Immigration Law and continue advocating for immigration rights. Geidy is the second Leadership Scholar that has been nominated to receive the IWL Jessica Roberts’ Leadership Prize.

Meera Murti, School of Engineering, Fall '17, is an Industrial Engineering major and a minor in South Asian Studies. She is a Scarlet Listener, a Rutgers’ peer counseling and crisis hotline and a volunteer advocate for Manavi, a South Asian women's organization. In the summer of 2016, she participated in East Coast Solidarity Summer, a retreat focused on social justice in the South Asian community. Meera is currently a member of the Asian American Students Learning Community. She hopes to channel her passions for engineering and social justice into creating safer spaces for women of color in STEM. In her free time, Meera enjoys dancing and competes on Rutgers’ classical Indian dance team. For her Leadership Scholars Program internship, Meera interned at the Engineering Department at Rutgers in Spring 2017.

Prosie Palad*, School or Arts and Sciences/Douglass Residential College ’19, is majoring in Political Science with a minor in Spanish. She has participated in the Global Village Human Rights House and the Arabic Learning Club. She has served on the board of RU Speak Out in the past and currently serves as the Social Media chair of both clubs.  She has an interest in learning languages, studying Spanish, Portuguese, Tagalog, and Arabic and this past summer 2017 studies abroad in Peru. Prosie is passionate about civic engagement and recognition of Southeast Asian Americans in the United States. During her free time, she enjoys creating and editing videos and photography and hopes to pursue a career in law and human rights.

Nainika Ashok Paul, School of Arts and Sciences Honors Program/Douglass Residential College ’19, is a Political Science major with a minor in International and Global Studies. On campus, she is a part of the Rutgers Association of International Relations and interns at New Jersey Public Interest Research Group (NJPIRG), aiming to bring awareness of the importance of political activism. She does fencing in her free time and completed an internship with World Vision in developing and deploying aid programs relating specifically to women and children, domestic violence, and access to education. In the future, she hopes to pursue a career in diplomacy, focusing on U.S. counter-terrorism efforts, while ensuring that those affected by war and instability are represented in the decision-making of peace talks and international negotiations. For her Leadership Scholars Program internship, Nainika interned at the Center for American Women and Politics in Spring 2017.

Sarah Pomeranz*, Rutgers Business School and Honors College/Douglass Residential College '20, is a Management major in the Business School with a concentration in Entrepreneurship and minor in Social Justice. On campus she is a Scarlet Ambassador and an Aresty Research Fellow currently researching the market for ethnic processed foods. Sarah serves as the President of the Rutgers chapter of TAMID, a national experiential business education club which she founded in her freshman year and will also be leading a service trip abroad next spring as an Alternative Breaks Site Leader. Sarah is very passionate about activism, travel and wants to pursue a career which uses business as a platform for social change.

Natalie Settimo, School or Arts and Sciences/Douglass Residential College ’19, is majoring in Women’s & Gender Studies and Public Health. She is a member of the STEM sorority Alpha Omega Epsilon and is involved with the Rutgers University Student Assembly. On the assembly, she currently runs the Sexual Assault Prevention Committee. She has experience researching brain and spinal trauma at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Natalie aspires to implement public health initiatives that benefit underprivileged women, specifically in inner-city areas with frequent and free distribution of menstrual hygiene, and reproductive health products.

Mansi Shah*, School of Arts and Sciences, Honors College/Douglass Residential College ’20, is a Cell Biology and Neuroscience major. After tutoring incarcerated women through the Petey Greene Program during her first year at Rutgers, she discovered a passion for both pedagogy and healthcare advocacy in the correctional setting. On campus, she is a Campaigns Coordinator for GlobeMed, a student-run nonprofit organization that promotes education and healthcare equity in under-resourced parts of the world, and a clinical research intern at the Eric B. Chandler Health Center in New Brunswick. Mansi strongly supports mentorship initiatives. She is a Douglass Big member and Honors College Ally mentor for first-year students. In the future, Mansi plans to continue serving marginalized individuals as a physician and community advocate.

Falak Shahid*, School of Arts and Sciences/Douglass Residential College ’19, is a Political Science major with a minor in African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian Languages and Literatures. She serves as a Peer Leadership Mentor to freshmen students through the Department of Leadership and Experiential Learning. She is also a member of GenUN and the Muslim Student Association. She is a student of the School of Arts and Sciences Honors program and is currently learning her fourth language. She hopes to attend law school in the future and serve as an ambassador at the United Nations. In her free time she likes to swim or grab bubble tea with her friends on Easton Avenue.

Kristin Terez*, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences/Douglass Residential College, ’19, is an Environmental Science Major with a minor in Environmental Policy, Institutions and Behavior. Kristin is a feminist, a vegetarian, and an environmentalist. Currently, Kristin is working with Professor Ethan Schoolman to research Farmer’s Markets in Northern and Central New Jersey with a focus on sustainability. The research analyzes whether local farming truly is more sustainable than traditional and large-scale practices. Kristin wants to make a real difference for women’s rights and to protect our environment for future generations.

June Titus*, School of Arts and Sciences/Douglass Residential College ’19, is a History, and Women’s and Gender Studies double major minoring in Art History. She is interested in the intersections of gender, sexuality, art, and history. She is also a transfer student from American University.  June is a volunteer with CoLab Arts and the Pride Center of NJ for the TrueSelves Oral History Project, archiving of the oral histories of transgender and non-binary people. On campus, June is involved in the Institute for Research on Women, the Rutgers Art History Student Association, and Douglass Friends of UNFPA. June will be leading tours of Rutgers this fall through her public history internship for the Scarlet and Black Project, presenting the history and experiences of disenfranchised populations at Rutgers. She is passionate about incorporating advocacy/activism within academia/scholarship. June plans to attend graduate school and hopes to become a professor of Women’s History.

Nancy Wang, School of Arts and Sciences ’18, is an Exercise Science major with minors in Chinese and Women’s & Gender studies. Currently, Nancy is the Special Treats Chair and Orientation Leader in Douglass Orientation Committee. Additionally, she is the Community Outreach Coordinator and a child mentor for Rutgers Pilot Me Mentoring Program. Every week, she designs unique programs that engage and educate children from different family backgrounds. Nancy is passionate about women’s rights, racial reconciliation, and spreading political awareness. In the future, she hopes to increase political involvement in the Asian-American community and volunteer as a physical therapist in developing countries. For her Leadership Scholars Program internship, Nancy interned at the New Jersey State Assembly in Spring 2017.

Gali Zaborowski*, School of Arts and Sciences/Honors College/Douglass Residential College '20, is a Psychology, and Women's & Gender Studies double major. She is passionate about leadership and student engagement, and holds several student leader positions in the Department of Leadership and Experiential Learning as well as in the Honors College. Gali is an advocate as a SCREAM Theater performer for VPVA and plans to become a Scarlet Listener. She is also active in the Jewish community at Rutgers and recently spent her summer as an intern in Israel. Coming from a multicultural, immigrant background, Gali loves engaging in discussions about intersectionality and the importance of understanding perspective and privilege. She hopes to pursue a doctorate degree in Psychology and a career in clinical or counseling services.

*Asterisk denotes continuing Leadership Scholars

Leadership Scholars Program Alumni


The Institute for Women’s Leadership stays connected to alumni as they continue their role as leaders. This mission is supported through providing opportunities to supervise internships, mentor current Leadership Scholars, and support IWL’s educational and social change endeavors.

Alumni initiatives are advised by an alumni board comprised of staff and faculty from the IWL.  In addition, alumni have contributed to Leading the Way, a collection of personal essays on leadership and activism, and to research that resulted in Moving Millenials to Leadership, a report on alumni in health careers.

Alumni in Focus!

Here are some reflections from alumni on their post-graduation experiences.

Emily Hashimoto

hashimotoIn 2006, armed with my Bachelor’s in Women’s and Gender Studies and the wealth of my IWL experience, I set out to make a difference by working for female politicians. Right away, I was exhausted by politics, especially the way it sucked up all personal time; there was no work-life balance and that wasn’t what I learned sitting around the table in the library at the IWL. And yet, I was also taught to work hard, to make a difference, and to strive for women and others.

I then found a new home in nonprofits. I was beyond thrilled to begin working for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), by supporting their media awards work that raised millions for the organization. As a queer person, I was personally invested in the work of visibility, but more than that, it was my first and only experience of working in a queer-normative space; to not worry about who to come out to, and how and when, was a relief.

Lillian Forero

forero“I can think of several specific instances in my professional career where I have felt well equipped to handle a situation because of my participation in the IWL Leadership Scholars Program. Being a part of the IWL community taught me to be resourceful, think outside the box and build coalitions. Those lessons, particularly knowing the importance of building coalitions, have helped me navigate the “BigLaw” world, which is still very heavily male dominated and not very diverse. I have also been tremendously fortunate to keep in touch with several of my fellow IWL alumni, all who inspire me to continue setting and meeting my short-term and long-term goals. My IWL experience also reinforced my desire to seek out spaces where women can share their experiences and empower each other throughout different stages of their professional and personal lives.”

In her time practicing law, Lillian has also been recognized by the District of Columbia Courts for her pro-bono work; twice being named to the DC Pro-Bono Honor Roll for attorneys who contributed more than 100 hours of pro-bono work to the DC community.

Ingrid Hu Dahl

dahl"IWL gave me the mentors and role models I so desperately needed, a community of empowered women leaders, a context and language to contribute to and adapt transformative leadership, to explore real world working environments through several internships, and to gain the confidence in my ability to be creative, to make social change, to spur and bring people together, and to knit themes of my skill set -- to identify opportunities and orchestrate solutions. IWL gave me the space to come into my own power, to cultivate a sense of self and way of being at such an important time in my development. I know I'm an agent of change and I am open to future challenges/opportunities ahead.”

Ingrid has a varied background - she was a consultant for the Bonner Foundation, a national and international speaker, a touring musician in four different bands (two of which were all-female), and a TEDx speaker.

Janine Gianfredi

Gianfredi"The IWL fostered my desire to mentor young women as they begin their careers in the workforce. It is not enough to simply build a network by collecting business cards and email addresses throughout your travels. To truly flourish in your career, it is essential to genuinely engage peers, teachers, and the next generation of young leaders. I love sitting down with young women to learn about their ambitions and help them find a path to success. The IWL gave me the skills to mentor other women, but also the courage to ask for guidance. I am a lifelong student of leadership, always using my scholarly eye to dissect the people who lead corporations, countries, and even bake sales. Leadership is an essential part of affecting change, big or small, and conscious attention must be paid to how it is enacted. Studying women leaders and feminist activists helped me to internalize many of the qualities possessed by great leaders. I credit the IWL not only with giving me the tools to lead, but also for inspiring my passion for leadership."

Janine has created innovative programs designed to engage the advertising community through technological immersion, and has been responsible for scaling these initiatives to Europe, Asia, and Latin America. In 2009, she was awarded the prestigious Americas Achievement Award, given to 1% of Google's sales and marketing organization for her dedication to the company's values.

Christie Irizarry

irazarry“My IWL experience was at the center of my undergraduate years at Douglass. From the credit-bearing components – courses and internship – to the less tangible “soft” skills – leadership, critical thinking and public speaking – my IWL professors and peers gave me a safe place to learn, visualize and practice leadership. The lessons and experiences from my time at the IWL have paid huge dividends in helping me launch my career and to pursue my MBA. Their high expectations and support continue to propel me forward. I often recall my professors’ words of wisdom such as, ‘Leaders ask questions.’ I’m motivated to ask a meaningful question and as a result create an opportunity to learn something new or make a connection with someone. When I think back on it, joining the IWL is one of those huge life milestones that provided me with so many opportunities and ultimately led me down the right path.”

As a Management Consultant at Accenture, helping businesses and governments adapt to system and process changes.

Courtney Turner

turner"Honestly, I don't know what part of IWL hasn't impacted my career. Specifically, the field experience and training in social action are what have contributed to my development the most. The field experience grounded my understanding of public health, funding resources, pooling and working together as a team. Everything I do is part of a broader social action that impacts society directly or indirectly. Working in Tanzania, I've been challenged in many ways, however the goal is the same. Every Funding Opportunity Announcement I have written prevents someone from contracting HIV or provides them access to ground breaking treatment and care.”

Courtney Turner professional experiences include the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as an International Experience and Technical Assistance Fellow, providing a broad range of public health services and infrastructure for all of Tanzania.

Lindsey C. Seltzer

seltzer"I think back often to my time with the Institute for Women's Leadership and I feel like the work that I did, the women who mentored me, and the friends I learned from, continue to influence and inform everything I do. So much of what I learned through my IWL seminars, projects and internships has been crucial in making the transition from college to working life. I'm thrilled to be working on important election campaigns and attribute much of my success to my IWL experiences."

Lindsey continues to be passionate about "direct action" work, broadcast production, and political consulting in Washington, D.C.

Abigail Hamilton

hamilton"My experience in IWL was formational. It provided a space in which to learn professionalism, poise, and public speaking which were invaluable for interviews and presenting at conferences. As much as I credit IWL for helping me in my professional life, I cannot discount its impact on decisions I have made in my personal life. Much of the discussions during my time in IWL focused on women taking on multiple roles and working "the third shift." The insights I gained through those discussions molded the choices I made in my career and family path. I believe I have a manageable work/family/life balance because I was cognizant of the factors at play and was very intentional in the decisions I made. In short, my educational, professional, and personal choices were influenced and enhanced by my time in IWL."

Abigail has a Masters and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Loyola College. She’s devoted the majority of her training and clinical experience to working with late adolescents and early adults. Abigail opened her own private practice in Princeton, NJ.


Leadership Scholars take 19 credits of coursework over two years. Certificates are awarded in May of your second year in the program, and noted on your official transcript.

Progression Schedule and Course List

Semester One (Fall)

apply-to-iwlIWl Leadership Scholars Program Context Course (3 Credit)
This course will introduce key concepts in Women's and Gender Studies that are relevant and important to the study of women's leadership.
Possible Course Offerings

988:344 Women and Leadership (3 credits)
This interdisciplinary seminar provides a foundation in leadership theory, including women's ways of leading and women's roles as leaders and agents of change. A new IWL Young Women Leaders Interview Research Project is linked to this course.

Semester Two (Spring)

988:426 Internship Seminar: Women, Work and Community (6 Credits)
With IWL staff members, select an internship placement which relates to your academic, career, and leadership interests. Scholars intern 10–12 hours per week and meet in a weekly seminar to connect theory and practice, by bringing together academic readings on women and work with a work experience in an internship site.

Semester Three (Fall)

988:430 Social Action Project Seminar (3 Credits)
This seminar explores leadership and social change through guiding funded independent action projects that address particular problems or issues.
Scholars' Social Action Projects

Semester Four (Spring)

IWL Leadership Scholars Capstone Course (3 Credits) & Cluster Series (1 Credit)

The 3 Credit capstone course is an advanced course that builds on the scholar’s policy area of interest, which has been developed through the internship and social action project. These policy areas include: arts and literature, media and communications, public health and medicine, law and advocacy, politics and government, science, engineering, technology and math, human rights, work, education, grassroots activism and organizing, and immigration and globalization.

The 1 Credit capstone cluster series, “Current Issues in Women’s Lives and Leadership, " is designed to give graduating Scholars an opportunity to reflect on the two-year experience of the Leadership Scholars Certificate program and to anticipate the transition from college to workplace and/or graduate and professional school. The series aims to engage graduating students in a dialogue about current events in policy areas affecting women’s lives and in ongoing leadership debates. The assigned contemporary readings enhance and inform the group discussion. The group meets six times per semester over dinner.

Possible Capstone Courses

Policy Tracks

The policy areas in the program are designed to inform the intellectual and activist work that scholars complete in the program. For example, the policy area will relate to the focus of your internship, social action project, and capstone seminar. Although your major may point you in one direction or another, it may not necessarily influence the work you do in the Leadership Scholars Certificate Program. Also, there are intersections across all the areas so you may want to select a primary area of interest and a supplementary one. In addition, recognizing that your interests may change as you proceed through the program, you may change your policy area.

Policy Area(s) of Interest:

  • Arts and Literature
  • Media and Communications
  • Public Health and Medicine
  • Law and Advocacy
  • Politics and Government
  • Science, Engineering, Technology and Math
  • Human Rights (global issues, poverty)
  • Work (business, nonprofit organizations, philanthropy, globalization)
  • Education
  • Grassroots Activism and Organizing
  • Immigration and Globalization


All IWL Leadership Scholars are eligible to receive funding to offset costs of internship travel in the first year of the program, and a $500 seed grant to fund a social action project in the second year of the program.


What are the goals of the Program?
iwl-leadershipThere are several program goals that we strive to achieve. These include:

  1. To offer students an opportunity to deepen their understanding of diverse models of leadership and women’s contributions to social change.
  2. To enhance students’ personal growth and leadership abilities through a concentrated academic sequence and co-curricular offerings.
  3. To provide an interdisciplinary opportunity for students to address issues specific to their chosen policy areas through an internship and the implementation of a social action project.
  4. To build relationships between students, program alumnae and the community by connecting students with women leaders through collaborative projects.
  5. To consider and critique current leadership research and practice, while drawing on the rich literature in feminist theory and women’s and gender studies to engage with ideas of intersectionality.
  6. To use feminist and gender analysis as a tool for academic research, creative production, collaborative work, and practices of social change.

I am planning to study abroad in the fall or spring. Can I still apply to be in the program?
Yes. A number of past Scholars have studied abroad and successfully completed the program. You would adhere to a slightly different course schedule for the program depending on which semester you are away.

Is it possible to juggle an honors program and the Leadership Scholars Program?

Yes. We make every effort to support students enrolled in other programs by allowing for double counting of classes where relevant and applicable. With effective time management, a number of current and graduated Scholars concurrently enrolled in the Rutgers or Douglass Honors Program, a departmental honors program, and/or another certificate program.

I work and may not be able to attend some of the skills development workshops. Can I still apply?

Yes. Workshops are held at various times and days of the week, and you have two years to meet the workshop requirement. Most workshops are embedded into the seminar structure and will be easy to fulfill requirements.

I am a part-time student at Rutgers. Can I still apply to be in the program?

Yes, as long as you are able to complete the requirements in four consecutive semesters.

I'm a transfer student. Do you need a transcript from my previous college?
Yes. An (un)official transcript should be sent directly to the Program Director.

I don't see a policy area that I would be interested in pursuing. Can I still apply?
Yes. There is flexibility in the policy areas of interest, and we welcome students who are either undecided on their policy area of interest or interested in a policy area other than those listed on our website. We also offer a general leadership area for students who wish to explore several areas in their coursework and practicum.

I have to register for classes but don't know if I'll be accepted into the Leadership Scholars Program. What should I do?
The Women & Leadership course is held Tuesdays 2nd and 3rd period every fall. You should leave this slot open in your schedule if possible. If you have not already taken Women, Culture & Society or one of the other pre-requisite courses, you should plan to take that as soon as possible. The April 1 notification date will give you time to finalize your schedule before the end of the semester.

Is it possible to use a letter from my soccer coach from high school for my recommendation?
Yes. The IWL requires you to have a recommendation from at least one professor. The second recommendation can be from someone who knows you in a different capacity like an employer, coach or volunteer supervisor. But at the same time, you should be aware that the strongest recommendation letters are often from faculty members who know your academic work.

I've already taken a context course listed on your website. Do I still have to take another context course during my two years in the program?
No. The course satisfies the context course requirement even if you took it before being accepted into the program.

What if I took a course not listed on your website that introduced me to the issues and problems facing women's position in society. Do I still have to take another context course?

You have the option of petitioning to have a relevant course not already listed be accepted as your context course.

Still have questions?
Email Program Director and Research Coordinator Sasha Taner at sdwood@rutgers.edu.



iwl-program1. Rutgers undergraduates with a strong interest in women's leadership social change. The Leadership Scholars Program is open to students of all genders and we encourage applications from LGBT & GNC students, students of color, disabled students, non-traditional students and veterans.

2. Minimum 3.0 GPA or higher.

3. Pre-requisite Course. Choose one of the following courses as a prerequisite for the program. If the course is not taken before the start of the program, it should be completed during Semester One.

  • 988 101 Introduction to Gender, Race, and Sexuality
  • 988 130 Knowledge and Power: Issues in Women's Leadership
  • 988 201 Feminist Practices
  • 988 202 Gender, Culture and Representation
  • 988 235 Dynamics of Class, Race, and Sex

Application Components:

  • Completed application form submitted through the link below
  • Resume
  • Current (unofficial) transcript
  • Two letters of recommendation (one recommendation must be from a professor)

Application deadline is March 1st, with interview priority given to early bird applicants, by February 1st.

submit application


Institute for Women’s Leadership
162 Ryders Lane
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8555
P: 848.932.1463

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