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Women’s Summit seeks to inspire and connect students

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A group of women participate during the 5th annual Ohio State Women's Summit at The Ohio State University on March 28. Credit: Courtesy of the Office of Student Life

Ohio State students participate during the 5th annual Ohio State Women’s Summit at the Faculty Club on March 28, 2015. Credit: Courtesy of the Office of Student Life

The Office of Student Life Multicultural Center at Ohio State is seeking to inspire up to 200 female students to be “PowHerFul” in both their personal and professional lives during this year’s annual Women’s Summit.

Themed “Power of Me,” the goal of this year’s free summit is to connect young OSU women with successful female professionals, teach communication and negotiating skills that can be applied in the workplace and provide an opportunity for women to confidently express themselves in a positive environment, said Makia Kambon, the program coordinator for Women Student Initiatives under the Multicultural Center.

“This is the start that will hopefully trickle out into the rest of the world,” Kambon said. “What better place to impact and create change than working with this phenomenal group of women and sending you all out into the world with the necessary skills you need to succeed.”

The summit is scheduled to be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday at the Ohio 4-H Center. The summit will be open to all students who identify as women, Kambon said.

Hannah Cedargren, a third-year in marketing and information systems, participated in the fashion show at last year’s summit and is returning to walk again this year.

“I like that the summit focuses on my whole development as a being, instead of just professional development,” Cedargren said. “I’m excited to see what we’ll do with personal development because I feel like that’s often cast away.”

Female representatives from corporations such as L Brands, Nationwide and Fidelity Investments will be in attendance to connect with Buckeye women and share with them their own experiences in the job market and beyond, Kambon said.

“You can never have enough networking,” said Shayla Martin, a student co-chair of the Women’s Summit and a fifth-year in hospitality management. “It is really powerful when you have a professional woman who has been where we are. They can give us tools to navigate while still in school and how to continue to use skills as leverage once we graduate.”

The summit is just one of the several events the Multicultural Center organized for March, nationally known as Women’s History Month. The celebratory events focus on the progress and achievements women have made, as well as the struggles some women have undergone in trying to achieve their goals.

“The cause is so important because we are half of the student body as women, and half of the population as a whole,” Martin said.

Kambon said she thinks there are many things that women are not taught growing up that most men are; among those things is negotiation, one of the summit’s foci this year.

“I feel most change can happen on the collegiate level because we are sending women out into the workforce,” Kambon said. “Imagine I was able to train 30,000 women on how to negotiate their salaries. Then you have a whole fleet of women going out into the workforce that are able to say that they deserve equal pay.”

The seven-hour summit will include complementary breakfast and lunch, a career-oriented fashion show and networking opportunities for the first 200 female undergraduate and graduate students who register. Scholarships will also be awarded to students, courtesy of Fidelity Investments. Registration for the event and information on how to apply for the scholarships can be found at mcc.osu.edu.

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