NEW leadership program proves transformative for Middlesex County College students

Tyra Gravesande of Edison, left to right; Dean of Student Affairs at Middlesex County College Marla Brinson; MCC President Mark McCormick; Jeff Herron, vice president for Academic and Student Affairs; Rachel Escobedo of Monroe; and Charlotte Quigley, director of Civic Engagement and Community Partnerships. Not pictured are MCC students Marimar Carrasco and Eileen Araujo.

Four Middlesex County College (MCC) students were part of a cadre of female scholars who spent a week at Rutgers University immersed in leadership development.

The program, called NEW Leadership, is held annually in June. It is run by the Center for American Women in Politics, a unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University. It seeks to empower women to develop leadership skills and consider a career in politics and public service, according to information provided by MCC.

The four were part of a group of 40 women who spent six days learning leadership and organizational skills.

“NEW Leadership was a great experience where I met lots of interesting women, both my peers and leaders, and women in politics,” Rachel Escobedo said in the statement. “The panels were informative, the atmosphere was warm and inviting, and my fellow college students were very friendly. It was educational and exciting.”

The group participated in workshops, visited the New Jersey State House, and acted out roles as they debated public controversies.

“Like any other skill, leadership must be cultivated and nurtured to allow it to bloom,” Charlotte Quigley, director of Civic Engagement and Community Partnerships at MCC, said in the statement. “For college women, the opportunity to be mentored by women role models in an environment designed to enrich the students’ own innate leadership style is incredibly valuable and potentially life-changing. MCC is pleased to be able to sponsor NEW Leadership participation for our outstanding students.”

Marla Brinson, dean of Student Affairs, said MCC has sent students to the program for five or six years.

“It is a wonderful opportunity for our women on campus,” she said in the statement. “This was a very transformational experience.”

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